A couple of years ago, TXDOT created a new set of goals for the department, goals that focus on our commitment to serve Texans. And while these goals are important, they serve us – and Texans – best when we measure our performance and make targeted efforts to improve. TxDOT is already a great agency, and we have some of the best employees in the state, but it’s important to also let Texans know just how hard we’re working for them.
AGC of America has been leading the charge in Washington to push Congress and the administration to deliver on President Trump’s campaign pledge to boost funding for repairing the country’s aging and over-burdened infrastructure. As part of that effort, we have built a broad coalition of business, government and labor groups; launched an intensive social and traditional media campaign; and continued our intensive traditional lobbying efforts.
AGC of Texas Member Nathali Parker described herself as both “excited” and “nervous” about her appointment to the Governor’s Commission for Women. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Parker to the Commission in March (2018). She is president and CEO of KLP Commercial and has been an active AGC of Texas member since 2012. Parker will serve a two-year term on the commission, which is charged with three considerable efforts: to develop a strategy and implementation plan to make Texas the number one state for women-owned businesses, to address the issue of human trafficking, and to help rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Harvey.
Legacy donors have helped turn the AGC of Texas Scholarship Fund into a powerhouse as it approaches its 24th anniversary celebration this fall. The Scholarship Gala earned exclusive responsibility in 2011 for funding a scholarship program that—through the indefatigable motivation of AGC members—has sent hundreds of men and women to college. Each year’s final tally tops the year preceding it—a record $870,000 raised last fall (2017) financed $10,000-a-year scholarships for 27 students.
I am writing my column today while multi-tasking. In the background I am listening to the House Transportation Committee hearing on one of the several interim charges House Speaker Joe Straus has requested the members study. Yesterday, I was present in the audience at the House Transportation hearing when AGC of Texas Past-President and Chairman of the Legislative Drafting & Review Committee Bob Lanham testified on behalf of the Chapter.
As 2018 nears its halfway point, I have visited a fair amount of AGC areas and participated in several area meetings. It’s been illuminating to see unique partnerships between district offices and their contractors, and how different approaches work for different areas. It is evident that area control is a highly successful model for a statewide Chapter as big as AGC of Texas.
A few months ago, I told you about some innovations TxDOT employed during our relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey. In this column, I want to focus on the specific work that many of our employees participated in during this disaster. Harvey certainly tested the mettle and fortitude of Texans and of our infrastructure. All any of us – responder, rescuer or resident – could do was wait it out. And after Harvey had done its worse, TxDOT stepped in, cleaning up, mopping up and righting the wrong the storm had left in its wake.
As many of you probably saw, President Trump released his longawaited $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan on Feb. 12 and later that same week publicly backed a 25-cent federal gas tax increase to help make the Highway Trust Fund solvent. While both developments are significant, the fact is that it will take a lot of pressure from members of the construction industry on Congress to get them to enact any significant new infrastructure measure.