T op bridge contractors and designers have formed a group dedicated to better ways of funding and building bridges. Spearheaded by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the Bridge Policy and Promotion Council will promote alternative funding methods like private-public partnerships, as well as high-strength materials and high-tech building and inspection tools.

“What we have attempted to do is to get key players...together under the banner of ARTBA to enhance the lobbying effort, get our thoughts into the legislation and influence the [six-year federal transportation] reauthorization,” says BPPC Chairman Robert Luffy, president and chief executive officer of Coraopolis, Pa.-based American Bridge Co.

The group held its inaugural meeting at the International Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh on June 17. Initial stakeholders include principals from Figg Engineering Group, Walsh Group, Granite Construction, HNTB, Skanska, Traylor Brothers, Flatiron, Parsons Brinckerhoff, CH2M HILL, Vecellio Group and Corman Construction.

“Contractors do not get involved enough.”

BPPC includes seven “action teams”: public outreach, bridge-policy development, financing methods, project-delivery methods, bridge-inspection issues, new-technology promotion and an International Bridge Conference team.

“There is a tremendous need to push the crumbling infrastructure out to the marketplace where contractors can go about the business of replacing it,” says Luffy. “For some reason, engineers on the design side get more politically active than do contractors. Contractors just do not get involved enough, and they should.”;