There are a couple of things that happen each spring without fail in Washington, D.C. The first is the return of the cherry blossoms. The second is the return of the tourists. And now, thanks to the playoff-contending Nationals, we can add baseball to the list.
But one of the most unmistakable signs that spring has arrived, are the thousands of trade association members who flood the halls of Congress to meet with their elected officials. As anyone who works in Washington can tell you, the most effective lobbyist is often the one who lives in the congressman’s zip code. In others words, it’s you, the voting constituent. That is why these annual association “fly-ins,” as they have come to be called, are one of the most important tools in building political support for an issue.
Many trade associations and interest groups will make the annual pilgrimage here, but I can promise you that very few come with an agenda that is more aligned with the public’s interest than ours. Transportation infrastructure touches every aspect of daily American life, from our ability to travel to and from work, spend time with our family, make that trip to school, the store and to the doctor, or to receive the products we purchase online.
Unfortunately, the long-term fate of many federal investment programs, including transportation, remains unclear. MAP-21 will expire in about 18 short months, and the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) will be in a “world of hurt” shortly after, absent any congressional action. Our industry’s livelihood—along with the nation’s—is in jeopardy if elected leaders fail to find a long-term, sustainable revenue source to support the HTF and make more meaningful improvements to our transportation network.
That is why I strongly encourage you to join your industry colleagues June 3-6 in Washington, D.C., for the ARTBA Federal Issues Program (FIP) and Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Fly-in.
In addition to meetings with congressional offices, the FIP will provide you with in-depth legislative and regulatory policy briefings from the ARTBA government affairs team, a transportation design and construction market report from our chief economist, and sessions featuring members of Congress and their staffs.
Remember, as a voting constituent, you have a power no Washington lobbyist has. Your members of Congress will listen to what you have to say about key transportation issues. We hope you will join us.
The preceding article has been reprinted with permission from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). AGC of Texas is an affiliate of ARTBA. For more information, visit www.artba.org.