With the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) projected to be unable to support any new highway, bridge and public transportation improvements in fiscal year 2015, a national coalition of associations and labor unions announced that it is launching a campaign to help educate Congress about the connection between local jobs and federal highway and transit investment.
“Hardhats for Highways” is aimed at encouraging transportation construction firms and their employees to contact their U.S. representative and senators and let them know how many local jobs depend on federal transportation funding, officials with the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) said. The announcement was made in Las Vegas at CONEXPO/CONAGG, one of the world’s largest construction trade shows, where more than 125,000 industry professionals are gathered March 4-8.
“Members of Congress need to understand how many people back home are counting on federal transportation investments,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the coalition’s co-chair and chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “Investing in roads and bridges not only makes our broader economy more efficient and vibrant, it puts a lot of men and women to work in every part of the country.”
“There will be a lot fewer hardhats on America’s highway, bridge and transit improvement projects if Congress doesn’t fix the Highway Trust Fund soon,” says Pete Ruane, American Road & Transportation Builders Association president and TCC co-chair. “The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers and their families depend upon Congress finding a long-term and sustainable solution to financing the nation’s surface transportation network.”
Ruane and Sandherr said the TCC is launching the campaign to escalate its efforts to ensure members of Congress understand the need to address the pending HTF revenue shortfall that, if left unaddressed, is predicted to threaten the Federal Highway Administration’s ability to reimburse states for already approved federal-aid projects later this year and prevent any new highway and public transportation investment in FY 2015. Federal highway investments support more than half of all U.S. road and bridge capital improvements each year, and the loss of that investment in FY 2015 would jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs in the construction and related industries, the coalition co-chairs noted.
Coalition officials said they would begin shipping special “Hardhats for Highways” decals to construction and related employers and local unions within the coming days. They are asking employers and workers to write onto the decal how many jobs at their firm rely on federal highway funding, affix the decal to the firm’s hardhat, and present the hardhat to their local congressman and senators as they encourage them to support new federal transportation investments.
In addition to presenting members of Congress with the special hardhats, employers and employees will be able to send “e-Hardhat” messages to Congress explaining how many jobs at their firms rely on federal transportation funding and encouraging the elected officials to support new federal transportation funding. The coalition will track how many firms and their employees present the “Hardhats for Highways,” officials added.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.hardhatsforhighways.org.