ACPA’s Board of Directors and a few ACPA Chapter State Executives will soon travel to Washington, DC as part of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Fly-In. The two-day annual event, to be held on May 14 and 15, is an effort of multiple trade associations, including ATRBA and AGC, who collectively engage with lawmakers on the issues impacting the construction industry. Top of mind for ACPA is securing the research funding that helps support the important work of the CP Tech Center, as well as the need for Congress to begin to contemplate funding after the IIJA’s expiration in the Fall of 2026. While our industry is beginning to see the benefits of the IIJA—roads and streets spending was up 26% in 2023—inflation and high construction costs have impacted the desired transformative nature of the bill. A highway bill, or some supplemental form of funding, needs to come after authorization expires as infrastructure and industry can’t afford to backslide. ACPA is starting early and standing ready to deliver these messages.

If you think you can’t make a difference by engaging with your lawmakers, you’re wrong. As the TCC notes, “TCC activists can be found in virtually every congressional district and provide a vital service to their communities by helping to improve the efficiency and safety of America’s transportation infrastructure. Over the years, the TCC and its member organizations have conducted a multi-faceted advocacy campaign aimed at boosting investment in surface transportation infrastructure and achieving policy reforms to improve the efficiency of the federal-aid programs.” Events like the Fly-In have been effective for years, and concrete paving needs to be a part of the conversation.

While we again sit on the edge of a government shutdown, and as we’ve talked about multiple times, transportation can be impacted the longer a shutdown persists. This dynamic is always frustrating as our country deserves regular and reliable appropriations spending year over year, but Congress’s dysfunction is all the more reason to engage with events like the Fly-In. Paving projects across the country seem to be getting an additional boost from airport work, which is a welcomed surprise. Much of that work comes from the additional funding that was part of the IIJA. Sitting in gridlock right now is the FAA Reauthorization which will provide additional assurances if passed.

So, in short, we are seeing some paving work and the IIJA has had a positive effect. But there’s more that needs to be done, can be done, and should be done. Be an advocate for your industry and your business!

Meanwhile, its workshop season around the country. Eric Ferrebee, Larry Scofield, Gary Mitchell and I have been engaging with contractors, DOT officials, and engineers across the country. Sustainability, EPDs, inflation, workforce shortages, and turnovers within state DOTs seem to be the primary topics of conversation. No doubt, these conversations will still be top of mind during ACPA’s Mid-Year Meeting, to be held June 4-6 in Kansas City, MO. Hold the dates as registration is expected to open around March 15.