Peterson named to ARTBA Hall of Fame
By unanimous selection, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) selected Medford native and industry leader Jim Peterson to its ARTBA Foundation’s 2020 Transportation Development Hall of Fame class.
The Hall of Fame was created in 2010 to recognize individuals and families from all over America for their extraordinary contributions to the United States’ transportation development and demonstrated exceptional leadership over their lifetime.
Jim Peterson is vice president of James Peterson Sons, a fifth generation road building and site construction business that started in the late 1930’s with a homemade scraper hauling dirt pulled by a team of horses. The company has grown to include transportation design and construction services that span the building of roads and highways to commercial and residential projects as well as excavation, railroad grading and stormwater management.
Peterson has made many notable impacts on Wisconsin’s transportation policy development and has been a national, state and local transportation construction advocate for more than 50 years.
He is a two-time Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association president (1980 and 2006), former president of ARTBA’s Contractors Division and served as ARTBA chairman of a joint national committee on transportation. One of the hallmarks of his leadership has been the ability to work with state and federal leaders, regardless of political party, to discuss pending infrastructure issues.
In the 1970s during an era of diminishing transportation-related revenues, Peterson led an industry effort to educate the public about the negative impacts on motorists and the economy. He helped garner bipartisan support in the state legislature to boost infrastructure investment.
By the mid-1980s Peterson’s tenacity was a key factor leading to Gov. Anthony Earl signing a law to index the state’s fuel tax to generate additional revenue for transportation improvements. The next governor, Tommy Thompson, introduced an ambitious “Corridor 2020” highway expansion agenda and Peterson championed its enactment. It empowered long-term transportation modernization and is estimated that 90 percent of the jobs created in Wisconsin during the 1990s were within five miles of a “Corridor 2020” route.
“Jim has contributed his time and efforts to the Wisconsin and national transportation construction industries for many years and he is very deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Pat Goss, executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association (WTBA).
Peterson will be officially inducted into the ARTBA Foundation’s Hall of Fame in May 2021 in Washington D.C.