March 2015 Presidents Blog

Martin Marietta at Safety Committee

David Hagerman with the CSSGA staff and Martin Marietta safety award winners at the February 27 Safety Awards Luncheon.

 

Funding at federal and state levels of government continues to be a game of partisan showmanship and theatrics, resulting in no substance or long-term solutions, and our nation’s infrastructure and economy might continue to deteriorate.   The most recent federal highway funding “patch” enacted by congress last summer will expire May 31, 2015.  A multi-year, soundly funded, surface transportation bill is required if Americans and their businesses wish to remain relevant in the world economy.  This is a key opportunity for CSSGA’s membership to become involved in voicing the need for substantive action by Congress on this issue.  I encourage our members and their employees to contact their senators or representative on this issue.  Click here to visit NSSGA’s website to facilitate the contact on this issue.

I wish I could say that transportation funding was isolated to the federal government, but it is not.  The Colorado Legislature introduced several bills this year (HB15-1109 and HB15-1148) to protect SB 09-228 funding and transfer year-end General Fund excess to the State Highway fund. Unfortunately, HB 1148 has been defeated.   Several of these bills are working their way through the legislature, and though CSSGA and many other key groups are supportive of these proposals, it appears passage of these bills will be difficult.  In addition to bills to increase funding or restore funding to levels experienced prior to the recession, numerous bills have been introduced to reduce FASTER funding (SB15-018, HB15-1014) or further reduce the effectiveness and appeal of public, private partnerships (SB15-172), a vital component to the state’s funding mechanism.  Fortunately, it appears that several of these adverse bills will not be signed into law.  As in the federal funding battle, this is an opportunity to reach out to your state legislature about the importance of funding transportation for Colorado’s continued economic recovery and long-term growth.  Unfortunately, speaking to our legislative members will not be enough to move this important topic towards a sustainable solution; it will require educating our neighbors, families, employees and our communities about the challenges facing our infrastructure network.  Here are a few tidbits related to this issue:

  • CDOT gives Colorado roads a C+ rating with a long-term goal of B-; the goal was reduced from B to B-.
  • FASTER funding repaired or replaced 68 bridges by the end of 2013 with 10 under construction, 26 in design and 22 awaiting scheduling; alternative funding sources can work.
  • CDOT estimates that Coloradoans spent 17.1 minutes per travel per day in congestion, meaning one week per year in traffic if you consider only two trips per day (one to work and one home).
  • 60% of the fuel tax collected (federal and state) goes towards maintaining the system with 1% dedicated to expansion and 19% to debt service.
  • The gas tax currently accounts for approximately 16% of the price of a gallon of gas; in the early 90s, when federal and state taxes were last adjusted, the gas tax accounted for 35% of the cost for a gallon of gasoline.
  • If the taxes had been indexed for inflation, the tax would today provide an additional 18¢ per gallon towards transportation funding. What is the impact to many Americans?  It means 35 fewer lattes from Starbucks or 14 fewer times eating lunch out over a course of a year.

CSSGA’s educational outreach committee will soon introduce a presentation template to allow members to discuss this important issue with people within their communities.  The association’s grassroots efforts continue to be a foundational element of bringing needed change and sustainability to our industry and economy.

I wish to close by congratulating all of the 2014 CSSGA and CRMCA safety and innovation winners.  Thank you for your commitment and dedication to making our industry safer.  Please plan to attend CSSGA’s March 17th Networking Event at the Denver Press Club (click here to register) and the Legislative Breakfast the following morning.

David Hagerman
CSSGA Board President
Regional VP/GM – Martin Marietta  | Aggregates | Rocky Mountain Division

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