The world and the way we do business has changed a lot in 2020. The transportation design and construction industry has been deemed an essential business by Executive Order. Because our industry is essential, we have continued to work on the design, maintenance, and expansion of vital IDOT, Tollway, CDOT, aviation, county, and municipal projects. We are contributing to getting through this crisis by maintaining a paid and productive workforce so our workers are able to provide for their families, and by doing our part to keep the critical medical and food supply chain and workforces moving.
Throughout this public health crisis – one thing has remained constant – the IRTBA is here for our members.
IRTBA’s commitment to uninterrupted contact with agency and government officials has kept projects and active contracts going in a safe and efficient manner. Every member has implemented health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of their workforce and the general public, and the IRTBA has reassured labor and government of industry's continued commitment to the welfare of its workforce and the general public. The association has also been advocating for industry with legislators about bad for business legislation that would cripple the transportation design and construction industry’s ability to perform work and help aid in the economic recovery of our State. The Road Builders' political capital remains at an all-time high.
Your association is also devoted to serving as an information-sharing resource to bring members up-to-date information on our Pandemic Preparedness Resources webpage, which now houses more than 340 publications. This intel includes general guidance for businesses and employers, legislative and agency updates, information about safety best practices, resources on the topics of legal, financial, taxes, insurance and benefits, CARES Act, Family Medical Leave and Families First Act, medical resources, information about work stoppages, and more. The association has continued to publish weekly communications via our Friday Facts eNewsletter, and periodic special news bulletins via our IRTBA Insider eNewsletter to members.
IRTBA has been hosting one to two timely and useful e-learning opportunities each week via Road Builder University webinars so that members can stay informed on the many changes that have resulted from the COVID-19 public health crisis. These webinars are FREE to our members. Topics include community forums with legislators and agency heads, as well as COVID-related topics that are impacting businesses, such as safety policies; updates on agencies, legislative, economic, legal, financial, small business loans, insurance and benefits, diversity, and tax issues -- as well as general guidance for businesses and employers. Members can access e-learning live, which includes the opportunity to ask questions, or they can explore our on-demand learning library to catch up on the most relevant topics at their convenience.
Even though many in the industry may be working from home or practicing social distancing, our IRTBA community has remained connected and informed through our steady supply of virtual committee meetings and agency forums. Many thanks to our members and agency partners who volunteer and participate to keep industry and agencies in touch and communicating issues in the field, and prevent disruptions to our transportation network that has helped keep Illinois’ economy moving. Select meetings have been opened up to the entire membership to participate via video conference, including our IDOT District One Forum and Tollway Cooperative Committees. The IRTBA Planning & Design Board of Directors meeting in July will also be opened up to all members to attend and will include a virtual meeting opportunity with IDOT Secretary Omer Osman. The IRTBA will also host a series of virtual town hall meetings with legislators from both sides of the aisle who will focus on budget, labor, transportation, and clean energy topics -- stay tuned for more on that.
Throughout this crisis, IRTBA has continued to remain dedicated toward accomplishing the goals set forth in our Strategic Plan. IRTBA works toward accomplishing goals set forth in our Strategic Plan. Five specific areas are highlighted:
- IRTBA will be the successful leader and advocate for stimulating increased funding at all levels for the transportation design and construction industry in Illinois;
- IRTBA will be its members’ indispensable resource for networking, training, education, and business services;
- IRTBA will be the recognized authoritative public voice and credible information source for the transportation design and construction industry in Illinois;
- IRTBA will play an active role in addressing diversity within the industry; and
- IRTBA will be a leader in establishing and implementing sensible and innovative environmental practices.
IRTBA staff has compiled a detailed list of the many accomplishments the association has achieved through the first and second quarters of this year, so be sure to check that out.
While transportation has traditionally been taken for granted, it has enabled Illinois to move. To most, the "how" of goods moving from place to place, country to country, time zone to time zone isn't important, it simply is the price of doing business in the modern world. For those of us in the transportation world however, this is precisely what we do; design, build, and maintain the very systems for making Illinois businesses and families run safely and effectively. Without them, the economy and lives would stand still.
The Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association is committed – through its 82 years of service – to continue to provide a future that is fast, safe, and efficient; striving to advance and promote the transportation design and construction industry in Illinois. Whether roadways, airports, bridges, waterways or public transit; the bottom line is; transportation built Illinois. The state must continue to lead the nation in innovation, safety, and construction of our transportation systems. Infrastructure will be critical for the recovery of both Illinois’ economy and the restoration of our nation’s economy.
I want to thank every member for their commitment to keep Illinois moving during this pandemic. The IRTBA will always continue to work for you and for every citizen in our great state. We’re facing this uncertainty together. As always, please feel free to reach out to me or the IRTBA staff with any questions or if there is anything we can do to help.
I look forward to continuing to work together as the IRTBA strives to accomplish our goals and aid in the recovery of Illinois’ economy as the most effective force for the transportation design and construction industry.
IRTBA Chairman 2020-21