Hardhats Mobilize for Highway Funding
More than two dozen U.S. associations and labor unions are preparing to lean on Congress in a big way to secure the Federal Highway Trust Fund before it goes broke.
The new "Hardhats for Highways" initiative, announced earlier this month, will target members of Congress in a nationwide, multimedia blitz beginning April 1 to pass a long-term transportation bill and shore up the dwindling Highway Trust Fund.
The push will include email and social media campaigns, visits to Congress, newsletters and a hardhat decal campaign designed to show how many thousands of jobs are riding on stable federal surface transportation funding.
Coalition members include associations representing contractors, subcontractors, engineers, workers and other professionals across the concrete, paving, coal ash, construction, contracting, heavy equipment and related industries.
The coalition is co-chaired by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America.
What's at Stake
Hardhats for Highways calls its forthcoming push a "concentrated grass-roots effort to heighten awareness in Congress of the need to fix the Highway Trust Fund" and pass a longterm transportation bill.
The current transportation funding bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), is set to expire in September.
When the $105 billion, 27-month MAP-21 was approved, it was the first multi-year transportation authorization enacted since 2005. Hardhats for Highways does not want to wait another seven years for such a bill, the group explains in a detailed backgrounder on its website.
The U.S. DOT is running an online ticker showing the diminishing Highway Transportation Fund.
In February, President Obama proposed a bill to reauthorize funding for four years.
Bridges on Medicare
Obama's budget proposal followed a January announcement by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that the federal Highway Trust Fund would start bouncing checks in August, primarily because MAP-21 is being consumed faster than expected.
"A third of all major U.S. roads are in 'poor or mediocre condition,'" Foxx said. "We face more than $86 billion in backlogged transit maintenance. As many as 100,000 bridges are old enough for Medicare."
Hardhats for Highways' plans include:
|Hardhats for Highways / Facebook|
Hardhats for Highways is asking supporters to order free decals showing how many jobs would be affected by the failure of a federal highway bill. The decals would be sent to Congress.
More than 5,000 hardhat decals were requested in the first week of the campaign, AGC reported.
Hardhats for Highways is anticipating a three-to-six-month effort.