The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has begun operation of a new industry advocacy group under the association’s umbrella — the Bridge Policy and Promotion Council (BPPC). The BPPC was created to help boost investment, oversee policy development, promote improved project delivery methods, showcase new products and technologies, enhance industry communications and educate the public.
“The Bridge Policy and Promotion Council is aimed at breaking down barriers that exist in the U.S. bridge market,” BPPC Chairman Bob Luffy said. “While there certainly is a need for ’product specific’ groups and technical forums in our market, what has been missing is the organizational structure and program that brings the bridge industry together to push for greater investment and improvement of delivery methods.” Luffy, president and chief executive officer of Coraopolis, Pa.-based American Bridge Company, also serves as 2009 ARTBA Materials and Services Division president.
As a first order of business, the group is spearheading ARTBA’s activities to shape the bridge provisions in the next authorization of the federal surface transportation program, due by Oct. 1, 2009. Members of the BPPC have already met with House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and his staff to discuss bridge issues and program reforms as well as seeking support for ARTBA’s “Critical Commerce Corridors” (3C) goods movement program. If successful, the 3C initiative would facilitate the largest bridge construction program since the 1956 Interstate Highway System law.
Initial BPPC stakeholders include principals from: American Bridge Company, Figg Engineering Group, the Walsh Group, Granite Construction, HNTB, Skanska, Traylor Brothers, Flatiron, Parsons Brinckerhoff, CH2M HILL, the Vecellio Group and Corman Construction. A leadership team has already committed significant financial resources over and above their dues to kick-off BPPC programs.
“If we want a stronger U.S. bridge program, we need to organize and push aggressively for it ourselves. No one else is going to do it for us,” added Bill Cox, president of Corman Construction, which partnered with Granite Construction on part of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge near the Nation’s Capital. “The Bridge Policy & Promotion Council is exactly what the bridge industry needs. By teaming with the political muscle of ARTBA, we can take the program to the next level — building a better market we can all compete in.”
The BPPC is led by seven “action teams.”
• Market Promotion Team: to fund and develop public education, outreach and advocacy programs aimed at increasing federal, state and local bridge investments.
• Policy Advisory and Government Liaison Team: to oversee bridge policy development, review and comment on proposed bridge-related legislation and regulations and to serve on liaison committees with federal agencies.
• Financing and Funding Priorities Team: to facilitate discussion, understanding and refinement of financing methods used for bridge projects in the United States and to develop a “risk-based” approach for setting funding priorities.
• Project Delivery Methods Team: to ensure private-sector involvement in the development and implementation of project delivery methods used for bridge projects in the United States.
• Bridge Inspection Issues Team: to develop policy and training recommendations that upgrade bridge inspection standards.
• New Technology Promotion Team: to organize webcasts, conference programs; exhibits and publications that showcase new bridge products and technologies before bridge owners, inspectors, designers, builders, government officials and legislators.
• International Bridge Conference Team: to serve as the liaison committee with planners of the annual International Bridge Conference and Exhibition (IBC), including development of conference educational sessions and an awards program.
“The Bridge Policy and Promotion Council is a collaborative opportunity to help accelerate the introduction and use of new ideas, products and technologies into the U.S. bridge market,” said Linda Figg, president and CEO of the Figg Engineering Group, and designer of the new I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minn. “It provides the forum that brings major bridge companies together to achieve lasting and positive results for America’s infrastructure.”
Leadership and participation in the BPPC is open to ARTBA members — builders, designers, managers, financiers, researchers, public officials, equipment and materials companies. The first full council meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual International Bridge Conference, scheduled for June 14 to 17 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
For more information, call 202/289-4434.