ARTBA Leads the Way on Transportation Infrastructure Investment & Innovation

ARTBA Chairman Bob Alger, left, testifies at a July 16 congressional hearing.

By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

ARTBA’s volunteer leaders, members, and staff this week in Washington, D.C., advocated for the transportation design and construction industry on several fronts:

  • July 16: ARTBA Chairman Bob Alger, chairman of The Lane Construction Corporation, told a congressional hearing that the best way to increase investment in public transit and other transportation options is to provide a permanent revenue solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF).  “Congress’s chronic failure to fix the Highway Trust Fund program threatens all federal surface transportation programs,” he said. His remarks drew praise from the top Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
  • July 17: More than 80 people from 26 states attended the 6th Annual National Workshop for State & Local Transportation, a signature program of ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (TIAC). “The importance of this event likely isn’t lost on anyone here,” ARTBA President and CEO Dave Bauer said during his welcome remarks. While 31 states have increased their gas tax since 2013 and taken other measure to increase investment, the federal gas tax has not been increased since 1993 and the trust fund revenue shortfall has not been addressed.
  • July 17-19: Professionals from design and construction firms, federal and state government agencies, and the legal and finance sectors gathered for the 31st Annual Public-Private Partnerships (P3) in Transportation Conference. In spirited panel discussions, industry experts discussed shifts in P3 risk, the impact of federal deregulation, and new market opportunities. ARTBA’s P3 Division announced its annual award winners, mentored the next generation of industry leaders, and named its new officers for the coming year.

ARTBA is pressing members of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee to develop a surface transportation reauthorization bill before Congress recesses for its summer break.

“It’s common to belittle the outlook for action on infrastructure,” Bauer said in his welcoming remarks to the P3 Conference, “but over the last two years we’ve had $10 billion of additional investment, and the EPW Committee is working on a reauthorization bill one year early instead of multiple years late.”

Bauer emphasized, however, that, “While we are not where we want to be, we are clearly moving in the right direction.”

John Deere Announces New Registered Apprenticeship Program

Program will help address service technician labor shortage across the U.S.

John Deere has received approval from the U.S. Department of Labor for its new Registered Apprenticeship Program and is making it available to its Agriculture & Turf and Construction & Forestry dealers. The program will help address a widespread shortage of service technicians, especially in rural areas across the country, by providing dealers with a formalized, on-the-job and technical training plan to help them develop more highly skilled employees.

“The new Registered Apprenticeship Program John Deere Announces New Registered Apprenticeship Programcomplements our existing John Deere TECH program,” said Grant Suhre, director, region 4 customer and product support for John Deere Ag & Turf. “In addition to the on-the-job training experience, an apprentice will receive technical instruction and be assigned a personal mentor as a part of the highly organized training structure. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, he or she will receive a nationally recognized journey worker certificate.”

Through participation in the apprenticeship program, dealers formally commit to developing additional talent in an earn-while-you-learn program. Participating apprentice benefits from structured, on-the-job training in partnership with an experienced mentor. As training progresses, apprentices are rewarded for new skills acquired.

According to Tim Worthington, manager, customer support for the John Deere Construction and Forestry Division, participating dealerships will see numerous benefits.

“Because of the earn-while-you-learn nature of the program, it will help dealers more easily recruit new employees and further develop a highly skilled workforce,” Worthington said. “This can improve a dealer’s productivity and profit potential as employee turnover costs are reduced and employees are retained longer. In addition, John Deere customers benefit from access to more highly skilled dealer personnel who are servicing or supporting their equipment.”

John Deere dealers can collaborate with any number of local organizations as part of the Registered Apprenticeship Program. These organizations include, but are not limited to, the John Deere TECH Program, K-12 schools, community colleges, labor organizations, economic development groups, foundations, and workforce development boards.

John Deere dealers who wish to participate can receive support and technical assistance from John Deere and JFF (Jobs For the Future, a US Department of Labor intermediary), who will expedite the registration process with their state or federal apprenticeship agency. After registering, dealers can immediately enter employees into the Agriculture Equipment Technician or Heavy Construction Equipment Mechanic programs. In addition, they can select other occupations for the apprentice program, including sales professionals, parts professionals, accountants or many other occupations and develop appropriate work processes for those jobs. Next, dealers will identify master-level employees who are capable of and willing to mentor apprentices. Finally, dealers will identify potential candidates or incumbent workers who would benefit from the apprenticeship program and enroll them.

When apprentices participate, they track and report their on-the-job learning and technical training time in conjunction with their employer. The dealer’s program administrator then inputs this data into the appropriate state or federal database. To ensure high standards are maintained, dealers are required to follow specific guidelines, developed over years of apprenticeship experience, after they are registered.

To simplify participation for its dealers, John Deere created national guideline standards for the Registered Apprenticeship Program, which have been shared with its dealer channel and is providing technical assistance to dealers interested in participating. “These guidelines provide a consistent apprenticeship program template that any dealer can implement if they participate,” Suhre explained. Dealers can utilize these national guideline standards to have a program approved and operating in a very short timeframe.

For more information about the John Deere Registered Apprenticeship Program, please visit your local John Deere dealer.

About Deere & Company

Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land – those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at www.JohnDeere.com.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG Again Wins Best Construction Podcast, Introduces New Direction and Host – Missy Scherber

Beginning in August 2019, construction business owner and social media influencer Missy Scherber will take the mic as the host of CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio in a new series called “Contractor Conversations.” This announcement comes on the heels of CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio being named Best Construction Podcast by Construction Junkie for the second year in a row.

“Contractor Conversations” will feature in-depth, boots-on-the-ground perspectives about the challenges and opportunities in the construction industry. Scherber will lead discussions with construction company owners and operators and share their success stories, tips to make your business more profitable and whatever else is on their minds.

“After meeting Missy, I knew she was the perfect person to lead CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio in a new direction,” said Nicole Hallada, AEM vice president of marketing and communications. “Her passion, authenticity and willingness to help others resonate with her peers in the construction industry. I’m excited to have Missy kick off this new segment focused on contractor-led discussions about equipment, technology, business challenges and more.”

Owner of T. Scherber Demolition and Excavating, social media influencer and construction professional, Missy Scherber is a passionate advocate for the construction industry. She is an active member of several construction associations and community organizations in the greater-Minneapolis area.

“I am honored to join CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio as their new host,” said Scherber. “I love that the mission focuses on connecting the people, equipment, and technology necessary to advance the construction industry as a whole.”

CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio Breaks All-Time Records

CONEXPO/CON-AGG Radio has claimed the top spot in Construction Junkie’s Best Construction Podcast Competition. The contest broke the all-time record for most votes, signaling the increasing popularity of podcasts.

“In 2018, CONEXPO/CON-AGG Radio shattered the single podcast voting record and in 2019, they did it again, backed by a strong outreach campaign and the support of loyal followers,” said Shane Hedmond of Construction Junkie.

Since its launch in 2016, CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio has welcomed guests from original-equipment- manufacturers (OEMs), tech companies, academia, and leading industry organizations, introducing thousands of listeners to unique perspectives on construction technology and innovations that will change the industry in the next 20 years.

“It’s an honor to win Best Construction Podcast for the second year in a row,” Hallada said. “This award is a testament to the number of contractors who are actively seeking advice and opinions to take their business into construction’s digital future.”

CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio currently airs once a month. Listeners can choose episodes via the CONEXPO-CON/AGG website or through their mobile devices (apps include iTunesiHeartRadioStitcherSpotify and Google Play).

CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio is also complemented by AEM’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 industry-trends articles and weekly e-newsletter.

Subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor for more AEM news and updates.

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry supports 1.3 million jobs in the U.S., and 149,000 more in Canada. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $188 billion combined to the U.S. and Canadian economies. AEM is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019. Learn more about AEM at www.aem.org

About CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Held every three years, CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the must-attend event for construction industry professionals. The show features the latest equipment, products, services, and technologies for the construction industry, as well as industry-leading education. The next CONEXPO-CON/AGG will be held March 10-14, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nev. For more information on CONEXPO-CON/AGG, visit https://www.conexpoconagg.com.

DEWALT® Announces FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader

Expanding the FLEXVOLT® System for plumbing and mechanical, electrical applications

Cordless powered threading will soon be available through the new DEWALT FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader (DCE700). Adding to the growing FLEXVOLT® System, the tool’s high-performance brushless motor delivers long runtime in demanding applications, without the hassles of power cords, and wherever the job site is located.

For fire sprinkler, mechanical, and electrical applications, the FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader threads up to a 2-inch black iron pipe, rigid conduit, and more. At 9.4 in. tall, 26.38 in. long, and 19.98 lbs. (tool only), it accepts a pipe capacity of 1/2 to 2 inches. It has a right-handed thread direction and its die and die head materials are made of highspeed steel and cast iron respectively. The DEWALT Pipe Threader is also compatible with RIDGID® 12R** style die heads.

The FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader is equipped with the DEWALT E-Clutch® system. This system senses the motion of the tool and shuts the tool down if necessary. The FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader also features a specially designed 9.0Ah Battery (DCB609G) available in the Pipe Threader Kits listed below (DCE700X2 and DCE700X2K). This newly designed FLEXVOLT battery features an oil-resistant, glass-filled nylon housing that is secured in a latched and sealed box. Each of these protective layers helps to guard the battery from corrosive cutting oils. A LED low battery indicator alerts the user when the battery charge is low. In addition, a patent-pending pipe clamp with depth gauge allows for a quick set up. Finally, professionals can use the clamp and die arm to avoid direct contact with the die head to begin threading.

As a Tool Connect™ Tag-Ready tool, the pipe threader can be monitored and tracked (Tool Connect™ tag sold separately). The full list of kits and die head options are below. Available in late 2019 where DEWALT products are sold, the FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader will come with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract, and 90-day money-back guarantee.

 

SKU DESCRIPTION  
DCE700X2 FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader Kit and (2) DCB609G  
DCE700X2K FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Cordless Pipe Threader Kit, (2) DCB609G and Die Heads  
DCE700012 1/2″ High Speed Steel Die Head  
DCE700034 3/4″ High Speed Steel Die Head  
DCE700100 1″ High-Speed Steel Die Head
DCE700114 1-1/4″ High Speed Steel Die Head
DCE700112 1-1/2″ High Speed Steel Die Head  
DCE700200 2″ High-Speed Steel Die Head  

 

*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 60 volts. Nominal voltage is 54.

**RIDGID is a registered trademark of RIDGID, Inc., which has not manufactured, approved, or endorsed this product

About DEWALT

DEWALT is obsessed with how users work in the real world and are relentlessly pursuing total job site solutions. By incorporating its latest technology and industry innovations, DEWALT is leading the charge for the job site of the future. DEWALT products. GUARANTEED TOUGH®. For more information, visit www.dewalt.com

ARTBA Chairman Bob Alger Calls for Permanent Highway Trust Fund Revenue Solution at House Hearing

ARTBA Chairman Bob Alger Calls for Permanent Highway Trust Fund Revenue Solution at House Hearing

Association Also Voices Support for Transit Capital Investment Program

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chairman Bob Alger today called on Congress to increase investment in the transit Capital Investment Program (CIG) but said it is best achieved in the broader context of legislation that provides a permanent revenue solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

Alger, chairman of Connecticut-based Lane Construction Corporation, represented the association at a House Highways & Transit Subcommittee Hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Transit Administration’s Implementation of the Capital Investment Grant Program.”

While voicing support for the CIG program, Alger said, “Congress’s chronic failure to fix the Highway Trust Fund program threatens all federal surface transportation programs, including transit projects.”

The next Highway Trust Fund crisis looms shortly after the 2015 FAST Act surface transportation law expires in October 2020, Alger said. He noted Congress and previous administrations had initiated more than $140 billion dollars in General Fund transfers and budget gimmicks to prop up current federal highway and public transit investment levels.

While the CIG program is traditionally supported with general revenue dollars through the annual appropri­ations process, continued uncertainty or disruption to HTF program funding will adversely impact all federal surface transportation programs, including CIG. As an example, during the lead up to the FAST Act, such uncer­tainty about future federal investment and HTF solvency caused seven states in 2015 to delay roughly $1.6 billion in planned transportation projects, ARTBA said.

Alger highlighted three key options that Congress should consider to permanently fix the HTF: 1) raise the federal gasoline and diesel user fee rates; 2) apply a freight-based user fee to heavy trucks; and 3) institute a fee to ensure electric vehicle users also help pay for the system from which they benefit.

In a recent comprehensive 32-page report with legislative recommendations for reauthorization of the FAST Act, ARTBA called on Congress to boost investment in the CIG program beyond the current $2.3 billion annual levels.

Alger’s testimony also addressed the need for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to improve its regulatory and project delivery process so that projects can be completed on time and within budget. According to FTA’s Capital Cost Database, which compiles as-built costs for 54 federally funded transit projects, average costs for delivering these projects increases an average of five percent annually. As a result, a project that costs $100 million in 2019 would cost $163 million to build in 2029, or more than twice the rate of general inflation.

Another key factor that can keep transportation construction projects on schedule is the use of dispute resolution boards. Such entities should include members recommended by the project owner, contractor or industry and should set up quick and efficient timelines so that members can carefully follow its progress, Alger said.

Read Alger’s full written testimony.

Established in 1902, ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital. For more information visit artba.org