Commissioner's Message

Crafting transportation policy

WASHTO conference offers chance to meet exhibitors dedicated to supporting infrastructure

AGC Spring Commissioners Message

Do you ever wonder how transportation policy is crafted? Where do specifications come from for pavement, bridges and guardrails? What about the future of transportation, automated vehicles, the use of unmanned aerial systems to assist in road design and construction, or alternative funding for transportation infrastructure?

Many of these ideas, decisions and policies are formulated by a group of people who belong to the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). From the AASHTO website: “AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It represents all five transportation modes: air, highways, public transportation, rail and water. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system.”

AASHTO is divided into five regions with member states participating in their respective regional subset. Alaska is part of the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (WASHTO).

The purpose of WASHTO is to serve its member departments by:

  • contributing to national policies on transportation issues that are responsive to members’ needs;
  • promoting a closer relationship between its members;
  • advocating legislation that sup-ports efficient and effective transportation systems, economic competitiveness and the environmental integrity of member states;
  • providing a forum for exchanging ideas, exploring and adapting techniques and promoting quality and best practices for implementation;
  • working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other governmental agencies.

Alaska will host the WASHTO 2017 annual conference June 25-28 in Juneau. The theme is “Extremely Cool Transportation.” We are well into the planning for this event, and it should prove to be an excellent opportunity to meet with vendors and exhibitors from across Alaska and the nation who are dedicated to supporting infrastructure development, design and construction.

If you’d like more detail about this event, you can find the WASHTO 2017 agenda, sponsor, exhibitor, and hotel and transportation information at

We have scheduled four plenary sessions with guest speakers from Alaska — Gov. Bill Walker, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell — and from across the nation, astronaut and test pilot Hoot Gibson. There are 28 technical breakout sessions with topics ranging from “Shotcrete Slope Repair and Stabilization at 9,000 Feet” to “DOT Teaming with Industry to Streamline Specifications.” I’m sure you’ll find something on our agenda to pique your interest and further your professional knowledge. You can view the full agenda at

This is an excellent opportunity to learn and enjoy the best Juneau has to offer. We hope you’ll consider participating and possibly joining as a sponsor. I hope to see you in Juneau in June for “Extremely Cool Transportation” at WASHTO 2017.