Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), former Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters and Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association (WTBA) Executive Director Tom Walker are the recipients of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) highest honor. The 2005 “ARTBA Award” was announced during the association’s annual meeting, held September 12-16 in Palm Beach, Fla.
Established 45 years ago, the “ARTBA Award” recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions that have advanced the broad goals of the association. Since 1972, the “ARTBA Award” has been presented annually to at least two individuals, one from the public sector and one from the private sector. Previous “ARTBA Award” recipients have included two governors, more than two-dozen U.S. senators or representatives, two U.S. secretaries of transportation and dozens of other top leaders and executives from government and the private sector of the transportation construction industry.
The ARTBA selection committee cited Sen. Grassley’s outstanding leadership in reforming federal ethanol tax policy in the 2004 tax bill. The law not only makes the federal highway user fee collection process fairer, it also made possible virtually all of the funding increases for surface transportation investments that will be authorized under the 2005 federal highway and transit act—known as SAFETEA-LU. It will help generate an additional $19 billion over six years for important federal transportation improvements.
Mary Peters was recognized for her exemplary career in public service at the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. She has been a long-time champion for improving transportation program efficiency at the federal and state levels, and for measures aimed at improving roadway work zone safety. She was a key proponent for SAFETEA-LU’s provisions, which will help streamline the transportation environmental review and approval process for transportation projects. She has also been a strong advocate for using public-private partnerships to help finance and deliver transportation capital improvements.
The ARTBA selection committee noted Tom Walker’s distinguished career in both public and private service and his extraordinary contributions to policy making at the federal level—through ARTBA—that have directly benefited contractors in Wisconsin and across the country. He is an expert on transportation financing issues, the regulatory environment and the state and local transportation planning and project selection process. He has presented testimony on ARTBA’s behalf before congressional committees and represented the association in meetings with top officials at federal agencies. He has also been chairman of the ARTBA Council of State Executives.
Walker was named WTBA executive director in 1996. He spent eight years as executive assistant to the secretary of transportation under Gov. Tommy Thompson. From 1978-86, he served as the top executive for the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin.