The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014 - (Page 7)

president's message New Year Offers Challenges, Opportunities for Industry By John Harper ARBA President I was honored to be installed as your new President at the Annual Luncheon at Wynn Lakes Country Club and look forward to serving you this year, which looks to be exciting, but challenging year. Ref lecting upon the past year, ARBA made great strides under the leadership of Chris Newell. Chris accomplished many goals including expanding the ALDOT Liaison Committee to better represent every sector of the road building community in Alabama and promoting the continued success of the ATRIP and Ramp programs. Tom Layfield is to be commended for an outstanding job in his first year as our executive director. Both Chris and Tom worked tirelessly to accomplish Chris' goals and directives while working within the association's budget, finishing with a surplus. 2015 will be filled with opportunities for funding, membership, and ALDOT relations. As President I want to continue to build on the framework that Chris laid while working on the above initiatives to keep ARBA a strong association that represents every road builder throughout the state. As stated above, the ATRIP and RAMP programs have been extremely successful. Hundreds of miles of county the Alabama roadbuilder * Winter 2014 and city roads have been resurfaced and many deficient bridges have been replaced improving safety on our county roads for the traveling public. Governor Bentley and the Legislature are to be commended for the programs which have improved every county in our great state. However, these programs are strictly for maintenance, and the funds were borrowed from future federal funds which have to be repaid. As evidenced by ALDOT Director John Cooper's road tour in each division, ALDOT does not have adequate funding for new capacity projects. These projects are of vital importance to economic growth in Alabama but cannot be constructed due to lack of funding. As I write this, the November general election is complete. The U.S. Congress is now controlled by the Republicans. Likewise, the Alabama Legislature has added more Republican seats in the Senate and House, and Gov. Robert Bentley has been elected for another term. With the current federal transportation program expiring in May 2015 and Congress being controlled by the Republicans, will we finally get a long term highway bill or another short term fix? Congress agrees that they want a long-term bill, but no one wants to talk about funding without significant cuts. Thus, Alabama cannot rely on the federal government for increased transportation funding so that we can construct these capacity projects which are vital to economic growth and job creation. We need to look at a funding initiative this upcoming legislative session to secure the funding our state needs for growth. This will take a tremendous financial and time commitment from our members in partnering with other organizations to make this a reality instead of something we discuss every year. This brings me to my next topic - membership. If the funding initiative is going to be a success, ARBA will have to have the support of its current members plus the support of members we have lost over the years and other contractors throughout the state. I realize that most of ALDOT's programs over the  last several years have been centered around maintenance. This has hurt our grading, concrete and bridge contractors. However, when we get funding secured during this upcoming session, these projects will come back. Since ARBA represents every facet of road building in the state, our membership should be ref lective of that as well. I want to challenge our current members to recruit members we have lost as well as new members. We will all have to work together as a team. I also look forward to working with ALDOT to improve specifications that ensure quality while being cost effective including finding an equitable solution for erosion control on projects. The first pavement alternate bid was bid in November. This has been a joint effort  between ALDOT, ARBA, AAPA and PCA. These groups have worked over the past year to find a fair solution to determine pavement type selection without it being mandated legislatively. Thanks to all who participated, especially Director Cooper who spearheaded this effort. This past year a safety improvement committee was formed between ALDOT and ARBA to improve safety in the work zone. For me, this is a high priority as we need to ensure that our workers are safe while educating the public on construction zones. I look forward to working with everyone this year. Together we can make it one to remember! ❏ 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014

New Legislature Poised to Tackle Old Issue
New Year Offers Challenges, Opportunities for Industry
2014 Annual Luncheon Highlights
Fall Golf Tournament 2014
The Ed & Charlotte Rodgers Scholarship Fund
Fight for Work Zone Safety Awareness Pushes On
Let’s Reform the Clean Air Act
ALDOT Launches ‘drive Safe Alabama’
Alabama Guardrail, Inc.
Products and Services Marketplace
Index to Advertisers /
Heard Along the Highway

The Alabama Road Builder - Winter 2014