Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Concrete Proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C. - "We have a very, very underfunded and seriously challenged transportation system in severe crisis."

So says Peter Ruane, chief executive of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), as he unveils a 70-page plan for updating legislation on federal surface transportation spending. The law--called the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)--passed in 2005 with a $287 billion price tag. It's set to expire two years hence.

Yes, 2009 is a way off, and it isn't a drop-dead date. The SAFETEA law didn’t get signed until two years after its predecessor's expiration.

Still, shareholders in companies like Caterpillar (nyse: CAT - news - people ), Deere & Company (nyse: DE - news - people ), and Vulcan Materials (nyse: VMC - news - people ) should watch the road building industry's Washington standard bearer in the off-season: The federal government finances nearly half the country's highway and bridge building.

Full story at Forbes.com