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The State of the Association, September 2021

“May you live in interesting times.”

Do you consider that saying a blessing or a curse? To some it sounds like a prayer for a vibrant life. To others it sounds like a hex, meant to doom the listener to a life of extreme danger and tumult.

To me, thinking about it towards the end of yet another year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s both. While 2021 was full of unexpected challenges, it was also filled with remarkable energy, enthusiasm and growth for our members and for IBTTA.

If 2020 was the year where we all simply tried to keep our heads above water, 2021 will be remembered as the year we found our footing and began to take advantage of new opportunities. This has certainly been the case for the tolling and transportation industry, where opportunity continues to abound. In response, we at IBTTA have spent the year facilitating the kind of education, collaboration and collective action to make the most of these opportunities and do so in a way that sets the stage for a brighter future. In other words, to “build back better.”

Through it all, IBTTA’s shared values of family, community, compassion, commitment and connection have been our salve in difficult times and our inspiration to do better tomorrow. These values are the heartbeat of our association, animating a common vision for the role of innovation and investment to generate value and improve the daily lives of everyday people. They also foster a future vision of transportation and mobility that is safer, greener, smarter, more resilient, and more secure.

IBTTA staff and leadership pride themselves on putting these values into action in the form of outstanding member service. And to meet the needs of our members, we first need to know what those needs are. That’s why in spring this year we surveyed more than 4,600 IBTTA member contacts to better understand what you appreciate most about IBTTA and what we should focus on next.

Not surprisingly, you placed a premium on IBTTA programs that allow you to connect, collaborate and learn from one another. For this, there’s no substitute for in-person meetings, and we are confident that the 89th Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Anaheim, CA on October 10-12, 2021, and the Maintenance and Roadway Operations Meeting and service project in Louisville, KY on November 7-8, 2021, will ignite the IBTTA community.

The enthusiasm and energy have been palpable leading up to these events and will certainly blossom as we finish out the year. Beyond offering cutting edge insights and best practices, our in-person meetings provide important emotional and psychological support to members who need and have longed for face-to-face connection.

The virtual programming that we began as a necessity in 2020 has now become a highly valued benefit of IBTTA membership because it opens the doors to so many more people. Looking ahead, we plan to continue offering virtual registration as an alternative to in-person attendance at our events. While nothing matches the energy and connections provided by in-person meetings, the more people in our industry that we can include in our meetings, the more quickly our industry will grow and accomplish its goals.

Speaking of goals, one of IBTTA President Mark Compton’s highest priorities for his 2021 term was to update the IBTTA Strategic Plan to recognize the changes we face as an industry and an association. The new Strategic Plan, which we hope to complete by year-end, builds on the discussions we’ve had with the Board going back to January 2020, along with subsequent discussions throughout 2021 with the Board, Past Presidents, Council of Platinum Sponsors and Young Professionals’ Council. The result is a thoughtful plan that will put IBTTA in the driver’s seat when it comes to driving user-payment principles, promoting and exemplifying a diverse and inclusive culture, and advancing programs grounded in rigor and relevance.

Another top priority for us in 2021 was advocacy. Driven by the collective energy of our members, we redoubled our government affairs efforts this year as the U.S. Congress and Biden Administration set their focus on infrastructure investment. IBTTA held numerous meetings with congressional staff and communicated with congressional leadership and USDOT about our interests and priorities.

Our government affairs team has stepped up with regular meetings and ongoing updates throughout the year, keeping you informed and armed with information to take to your own congressional delegations. As a final surface transportation and infrastructure bill becomes law, we remain committed to working with Congress and USDOT to implement programs in ways that are favorable to our members.

It’s now membership renewal season at IBTTA. As you receive this year’s renewal package, I hope you will reflect on all we have accomplished together and the value so many have cited in their response to the 2021 member survey. For his year as IBTTA President in 2021, Mark Compton chose the theme “Leading through Disruption.”

Through the disruption of the pandemic, we found new ways to connect people in the tolling industry with virtual events and meetups and to rediscover the timeless benefit of simply meeting in person in Anaheim and Louisville. We advocated to keep our industry at the forefront of discussions surrounding a once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill and positioned ourselves as the leading authority and advocate for user-pay principles.

As we look at the opportunities that lie ahead, we know that you, our members, will lift IBTTA with your boundless energy and support, as we continue to deliver world-class service to keep our industry vibrant. Your dedication, energy, enthusiasm, professionalism, and hard work have made 2021 a very special year, despite the pandemic.

In 2022, Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti will begin her presidency under the theme “Resilience. Leadership. Opportunity.” In many respects, this theme is the embodiment of what IBTTA is all about. IBTTA’s members are the reason why IBTTA is such a special place to convene, exchange information and experiences, and advance improvements in transportation and mobility. Your shared values, vision of the future, and commitment to our business are putting us on a course for a bright future.


Patrick D. Jones
IBTTA Executive Director & CEO