Engineering Inc. - March/April 2003 - (Page 36)

ONE ON ONE Front Line on Transportation Robert Zuelsdorf on TEA-21, Consulting Congress Day, and free enterprise. A . ACEC members Congress should be circumspect stimulate the American economy represent the front line in the in considering legislation that and provide impetus in speeding battle to upgrade, build and could encumber free enterprise. the rate of recovery from the maintain the nation's Reauthorization at increased economic doldrums we are now transportation system. During funding levels is critical, but experiencing. The infusion of this recession, with limited tax states also need greater flexibility funds into infrastructure will revenues and the threat of war, when using their funding to put Americans to work, make Congress and the administration maximize benefits. This could industry work more efficiently, have the unenviable task of include provisions for expansion generate business investments setting the nation's priorities. of state infrastructure banks, tort and generate much needed tax The country literally cannot reform to help both revenues. afford to allow its infrastructure, Departments of Transportation In addition, increased especially transportation and contractors, improved transportation funding will infrastructure, to take a back procedures for new rail starts, improve the quality of the seat when decisions about and creating a more efficient nation's infrastructure, which is priorities are being made. But it system to process passengers vital to the safe and efficient Robert Zuelsdorf is chairman, will be a priority only if ACEC through airports, to name just a movement of people and goods. president and CEO of Wilbur member firms make sure their few. There are ample Our infrastructure is like a Smith Associates, congressional representatives opportunities for Congress to house. If you don't maintain it headquartered understand the economic help. We in the industry have properly, it doesn't serve you in Columbia, S.C. ramifications of their actions. just got to do a better job of well and you wind up spending ACEC's annual Consulting getting our message across. more later. Congress Day is one of the best It goes without saying that Q. Q. ACEC is working with Wilbur Smith Associates venues for members to be heard. engineering firms, like most Congress to expand the TEA-21 celebrated its 50th anniversary The country cannot afford for other private businesses, have program to more than $400 last year. In your opinion, what us to be silent on this issue. been hit hard by the recent billion over six years in the is the firm's greatest economic downturn. The Q. Congress will be next bill. How important is this accomplishment? backbone of the country's considering a number of other kind of investment to the transportation infrastructure is A. Wilbur Smith is very policy initiatives that will impact nation? What will it mean for the public sector that is the economy and the business engineering firms? proud of its half century of responsible for the system. And environment in 2003, such as service. We are 100 percent with government cutbacks, these A . First of all, the value of tax code changes and tort employee-owned, we are debt public agencies are increasingly reform. How important are TEA-21 should not be free, and we have survived intact dependent upon the experience these efforts for our industry, underestimated. It was a the mergers, acquisitions and and technical capability of and what can lawmakers do to bipartisan bill that was widely mega-mergers so prevalent in private sector engineering firms. enhance business opportunities supported by all sectors of our our industry during the last Reauthorization is equally for engineering firms? economy. It set the stage for decade. We have provided important to the public sector innovation and more efficient professional services to states and the private sector. A . Any initiatives the 108th ways of doing the nation's and municipalities throughout Q. What should ACEC Congress can enact to improve transportation business and the country, and have worked in members do to help secure the working climate for private unleashed the creative energies all 50 states and in 117 different significant funding increases for business will be especially of the private sector, resulting in countries on six continents. highways, transit and aviation important this year. As I benefits far beyond expectations. Those 50 years of service as an this year? What role should mentioned earlier, engineering That being said, expanding the independent, employee-owned ACEC's Consulting Congress firms have been hit hard during program will produce two very firm are our greatest Day play in this process? the last couple of years, and important results. First, it will accomplishment. l April 2003 3 6 ENGINEERING INC. M a r c h

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Engineering Inc. - March/April 2003