The most wonderful time of the year—if 2020 even allows it

Nov. 11, 2020

This column published as "And the Winners Are ..." in November/December 2020 issue

By the time you read this, the national election will be over and we will either have a new executive and congressional regime or four more years of what we’ve had this past four. 

While I take no stand politically here, it may be crucially important what our federal governmental makeup looks like as regards a healthy, robust, and long-term fiscal program for road and bridge infrastructure.

2020, which has been among the most trying years on historic record for a number of reasons, also saw the federal funding can get drop-kicked down the road like it was fourth-and-long. While such a measure does offer some respite to states and contractors alike, it is obviously not what you’d call a solution. I am writing this before our federal-level winners have been chosen, and so I cannot surmise what the landscape will offer. I can only say that whatever the outcome, our industry and its advocates would be wise to press with all their might for sustainable funding to see us through the next four years. Our industry—in the cruel light of COVID—cannot afford another election cycle’s worth of punting.

On a happier note, we at Roads & Bridges are pleased to present in this issue the winners of three of our annual awards programs.

The Contractor’s Choice Awards was more robust in participation this year than in any year since I have been with R&B. While we reduced the number of categories in which to give recognition, we solidified the importance and popularity of those categories we are awarding. This is equipment with proven track records, equipment that improves workflows and the working lives of its operators. The bullish response of the contractor segment of our readership has given this program a fresh perspective. Page 14 lays it all out for you.

We also present our Top 10 Roads and Top 10 Bridges. As ever, these are terrific examples of the best kind of work our industry is making happen on a regular basis. The decisions were tough; there were many also-rans. But that is indicative of the sheer quality of this year’s honorees. I find it heartening that so many positive results have been realized in such trying times.

As we move now into 2021, the landscape is going to look a little different than it has before. By and large, DOTs and firms have found the way to roll with the punches thrown by this pandemic, even as the evolving nature of what we’re facing continues to throw up new and troubling hurdles. Here at R&B, we have also been rolling with the punches, albeit in a slightly different way—by which I mean, the means and methods by which we cover our industry.

As we move into the coming year, you will see several new and exciting forums for our content, including the continuation of our Infrastructure Insider Webinar Series, which launched this past September and will continue in January with a focus on Concrete, and, in April, the debut of the R&B Infrastructure Insider Live Web Connect Conference event.

Making connections has been rough going. So many meetings shifted to screens or cancelled outright. This looks to be the norm for the foreseeable future. But we’re here, and we’re ready. 

About The Author: Budzynski is senior managing editor of Roads & Bridges.

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