Highway Construction Industry

CASE STUDY: Solving the Highway Funding Crisis

HighwayConstructionIndustry.jpgThe mission is easily defined: get more money for highway maintenance and construction. But like many public policy issues, the mission is easier to describe than to accomplish.

A statewide association representing the highway construction industry saw the funding crisis coming long before the bridge collapsed onto Interstate 70 in Washington County in 2005 – a precursor to the Minneapolis tragedy nearly two years later. Drumming up public support when most Americans already feel over-taxed and most policymakers fear that raising taxes or fees will result in voter backlash is, to say the least, a challenge.

But the client has kept its focus and has seen steady progress, both in terms of the public’s awareness and attitudes, and the willingness of lawmakers to address the issue. The communication and outreach efforts have included:

These efforts continue today, and the funding gap still exists, but Pennsylvania has taken several steps to increase highway funding by hundreds of millions of dollars. Moreover, a majority of the public is now aware of the importance of the issue and is willing to make a moderate personal investment to solve the problem.