Washington, D.C. —  More than 100 transportation construction and business leaders, and public officials from 30 states came together July 13 in Washington, D.C., to share best practices for advancing transportation funding legislation and ballot initiatives during the 3rd Annual National Workshop for State & Local Transportation Advocates.
The gathering was hosted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC). 
The need to broaden coalitions to gain further support and momentum was a recurring theme of the event, which included the annual meeting of the Transportation Investment Advocates Council – a national network of construction and better roads professionals, chamber of commerce executives, and public officials who share an interest in building support for infrastructure investments locally.
Dr. Alison Premo Black, ARTBA’s chief economist, provided an overview of state legislative and ballot action over the past two years, along with a preview of ballot measures expected this November. Jeff Loveng, CEO of SBL Strategies and chairman of America’s Infrastructure Alliance, shared advice on promoting transportation funding and revenue initiatives to conservative audiences and building preemptive communication strategies.
Attendees shared intelligence and “best practices,” including campaign strategies, tactics, messaging, opinion and economic research, legislative and ballot language, and “what’s worked and what hasn’t” in their state or local community in order to help other advocates meet their objectives. They also learned how ARTBA-supported research can help dispel myths about transportation funding, including how officials who support raising the gas tax most often still get re-elected, whether Republican or Democrat.
Speakers from 11 states – including Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona, California, South Dakota, North Carolina and Pennsylvania – discussed their experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, in running campaigns to protect or increase transportation funding.
Better roads groups shared their social media messages that have helped to get the public involved in the discussion on the importance of transportation funding. Several state legislators, including South Dakota Sen. Mike Vehle (R-District 20), Indiana Rep. Ed Soliday (R-District 4), Nebraska Sen. Jim Smith (R-District 14) and Iowa Sen. Tod Bowman (D-District 29), also provided advice.
The workshop was held in conjunction with ARTBA’s 28th Annual Public-Private Partnership Conference.
TIAC, established in 2014, is an internet-based educational platform that features detailed reports, analyses and more than 50 case studies of recent transportation funding campaigns mounted in numerous states. It includes television, radio and print ads, polling, an overview of state and local funding and finance mechanisms, and an ongoing blog detailing new developments across the nation.
Learn more at www.transportationinvestment.org.