Communication is Key to Constitutional Amendment Campaign

Written by  Thomas L. Johnson, Executive Vice President

There have been a number of studies conducted by the Federal Highway Administration and other public and private entities to determine the economic impact of highway construction. In a recent poll conducted at the request of the AGC of Texas, it was determined that the general public is very much aware of the economic impact of highway construction.

One basic study shows that six direct jobs are created for every one million dollars in highway construction. Another study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration indicated that it will take between 10,100 labor hours and 13,535 labor hours to construct $1 million dollars-worth of highway construction. In addition, there will be about seven times as many jobs created off site in the manufacture of steel, asphalt, aggregate, banking, engineering, inspection, etc.

Now comes the interesting part of the equation: The Texas Department of Transportation is scheduled to go to contract with $4.6 billion dollars this year and a similar amount next year. Without passage of the constitutional amendment, the amount to be contracted will drop to around $2.8 billion dollars. A $2 billion-dollar drop means an estimated reduction of direct employees of 12,000 and a reduction of indirect employees of an additional 84,000. The dollar impact of this reduction, as well as the increased cost of transporting people and goods, will also be equally devastating. We should have these numbers finalized in the upcoming month.

On a more positive note, we have been very pleased with the momentum of the campaign to pass the constitutional amendment. One of the shocking aspects of the campaign has been the social media. In less than two weeks, our list of viewers went from less than 200 to over 10,000.

We want to extend a special welcome to Gary Scharrer, our new director of communications. Gary comes to us with a great background in writing in a way that is understood by most. In addition to the many awards he has received for style and content, he has also been very thorough in his research. Following his career in the press corps, he worked for Senator Williams and has a great relationship with many of our elected officials. He will be an asset to the Chapter as we communicate the importance of our constitutional amendment.

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