May 26, 2015 Last Updated 9:20 am

ENR writers take month-long cross-country road trip in an old 1949 Hudson Commodore

Separated from McGraw-Hill after nearly a century of publishing, the nation’s leading transportation construction magazine take to the road to promote highway spending

The former Construction group at McGraw-Hill was sold off to the private equity company Symphony Technology Group eight months ago (see TNM story here), which ended the publishing run for Engineering News-Record of 97 years with McGraw-Hill. As a former publisher with McGraw-Hill’s Construction group, I found it a sad end to an amazing publishing history.

lowandslowENRBut the sale of the group did not mean the shuttering of ENR, and late last week the magazine publicized a special report it is doing on America’s aging infrastructure.

I published a road construction magazine for four and a half years and saw first hand what a mess the industry and the politics can be. The vast majority of road contractors are supporters of the Republican party, and the Republican party is generally against hiking funding for road contractors. It is a bizarre marriage, and one that does little to solve America’s infrastructure issues.

The hey day for highway funding was probably 1998 when President Clinton signed a new $203 billion highway bill. The last long-term comprehensive highway bill passed by Congress expired in 2009, and since then 33 short-term measures have had to pass to continue funding, and prospects for a new bill are not good as the Republican controled Congress has held up bills over tax reform – in other words, the Congress will only pass more highway funding if it also lowers the taxes for America’s wealthiest.

One sees where the conflict within the industry is: contractors vote for candidates that promise to lower their taxes, while their businesses suffer because of poor infrastructure funding.

Few trade industry publications want to be than blunt about that matter – but then again, I no longer publish a road construction magazine so I can be.

(Note: I worked as a publisher at McGraw-Hill in the Construction Information Group – as it was called then – and then published a road construction magazine that competed against McGraw-Hill.)

NEW YORK, NY – May 22, 2015 — What’s being done to repair and upgrade America’s infrastructure? Engineering News-Record has fielded two infrastructure writers, Aileen Cho and Dan McNichol, on a month-long cross-country road trip to find out. They are traveling in a 1949 Hudson Commodore, a car as old as the Interstate Highway System. Their goal is to explore the nation’s infrastructure first hand and the efforts to keep it functional. To follow their story, visit

Dodge-logoThrough a series of blogs, videos, interviews and special reports, “Low & Slow Across America’s Infrastructure,” reporters Cho and McNichol will document the efforts of public officials and private industry to keep the nation’s aging roads, mass transit systems, airports, and water systems functioning, prudently upgraded or wisely replaced, in an age of perpetual challenges and procrastination regarding state, local and federal funding commitments.

“The tour has two major components: visiting major construction projects and meeting with public works agencies,” said Cho, who is ENR’s senior transportation editor. McNichol, author of The Roads That Built America on special assignment to ENR, adds, “The 1949 Hudson is a rolling metaphor—as old, rusty and energy-depleted as America’s infrastructure. The car mirrors what America’s vital systems are looking like today.”

Cho and McNichol’s itinerary includes stops in New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Louisville, KY; St. Louis and Kansas City, MO; Denver and Glenwood Springs, CO; Salt Lake City, UT; Reno, NV; and Sacramento, San Francisco, Fresno and Los Angeles, CA.

ENR’s Low & Slow Across America’s Infrastructure tour is sponsored by Association Partner, The American Public Works Association (APWA), and official equipment sponsor, CASE Construction Equipment.

“Infrastructure, in all its forms, is the top domestic issue impacting our communities, the economy and our customers in the construction industry today,” says Jim Hasler, vice president – North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “We’ve committed resources to advocacy of local investments through the CASE Dire States initiative, and we’re honored to hit the road again, this time with ENR and APWA to raise awareness to this issue throughout America.”

“Our sponsors recognize the importance of ENR’s mission to create visibility around our nation’s infrastructure needs, and they see the ENR tour as a way to meaningfully support this initiative,” said Paul Bonington, VP & Publisher of ENR. “We welcome other sponsors to join the tour as the program will be producing engaging content throughout the year.”

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