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It’s 2013 Do You Feel Lucky?

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Did he fire six shots, or only five? This year our cylinder is full and we’re ready to do a bang-up job this 83rd legislative session.* It’s going to be a tough fight and the stakes are high. As you may recall, we’ve two more years of good lettings projected. Then after 2014, this industry’s forecast reverts back to less than $2B per annum. We cannot let that happen.

I am not a superstitious guy, and I am an optimist, which basically means I only believe in good luck. My take on good luck is that it is usually the result of hard work and strategic planning to take advantage of opportunity as it presents itself. Come to think of it, the answer to a good “focused prayer” can be mistaken for good luck, but that’s different. In the end you’re down to this: work hard, work smart. Don’t count on good luck, but take it when you can get it.

Under the leadership of Immediate Past President Roger Albert, the preparation for this legislative session during 2012 is consistent with this philosophy. We have been part of the largest, most focused, funding campaign that I have seen in my more than twenty-seven years in the industry. Thanks to last year’s Immediate Past President Bob Lanham for his vision and hard work as the Chairman of the Highway Funding Task Force. Many thanks are also in order to the participants of the task force; because through their efforts the ground work has been laid to further our efforts toward increased funding.

The cornerstone materials of the funding campaign are “The Cost of Doing Nothing” publications and “The Wake-Up Call” video. Both can be viewed on the websites texasgoodroads.org, infrastructuretexas.org, and agctx.org, and they are also floating around on the various social media platforms such as Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, and Youtube. Our funding campaign is “going viral,” as they say.

Do you know “the cost of doing nothing?” A great philosopher (actually, just a slightly above average Joe from South Texas) once said, “The cost of doing nothing is great, but the cost of doing something great can be almost nothing.” Hard work is cheap, intelligence is—well, it’s priceless, but it doesn’t cost much. We have scores of members willing to roll up their sleeves and commit their intelligences to working on this funding issue. “The Cost of Doing Nothing” publications are comprised of a pamphlet, a brochure, and a book of facts on highway funding using historical data and future projections. Population growth data and the need to accommodate that growth are displayed along with economic impact to Texas. Also displayed are data showing how poor road condition and traffic congestion leads to increased vehicle maintenance costs, decreased fuel economy, and accidents. These publications have been widely distributed across the state.

“The Wake Up Call” video is a short video that you can see on YouTube or by clicking a link on any of the websites listed above. The video focuses on the costs to the average household that are associated with poor road conditions and traffic congestion. If you haven’t seen it, find it and watch it. It paints a picture of doom and gloom, and that’s where we’re headed in transportation if we “do nothing.”

In addition to these media materials, the task force also put much effort toward cultivating relationships with the multitude of elected officials around the state and furthering our outreach through communications with other organizations that are also interested in a long term commitment to the continued improvement of Texas’ vast transportation system. Due to this effort, our connectivity to our transportation allies has never been stronger.

While funding is foremost in the minds of the highway industry this 83rd legislative session, there will be many other issues come up before it’s all over. The Legislative Drafting and Review Committee, has already (in December) been reviewing and categorizing bills filed early. By the time this magazine hits the newsstand, the session will be in full swing, and there will be many more bills filed. Some will be good. Some will be bad. And yes, some will be ugly. We’ll be reading, analyzing, and sorting them. We will make a determination as to what effect they will have on our industry, and oppose or support or take ‘em off the list.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “I’d rather be lucky than good.” The odds for success increase dramatically when you’re both lucky and good.

Thanks to all of you for allowing me to serve as AGC of Texas President this year. With your help, and at least a little bit of luck, 2013 should pave roads to success for years to come. *Note: This lead-in should not be considered a threat to anyone. I would hope that it would be a cold day in South Texas when you couldn’t use a gun reference as a lead in to an article targeting a bunch of Texas contractors and engineers.

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