Short Video Message from ARTBA President & CEO David Bauer

North Dakota State University Professor Denver Tolliver Honored with ARTBA’s Research & Education Award

Dr. Denver Tolliver, the director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI) at North Dakota State University, is the 2018 recipient of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) prestigious S.S. Steinberg Award. He was honored Jan. 13 during the association’s annual Research & Education Division (RED) meeting, held in the Nation’s Capital.

Named after the founding president of RED, the award recognizes “an individual who has made remarkable contributions to transportation education.”

Over the course of his career, Tolliver has received more than $25 million in grants from federal and state agencies. He has also authored – or co-authored – 160 transportation research publications, including reports for the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Department of Roads, and several state departments of transportation.

In addition to his position at UGPTI, Tolliver is the director of the Mountain-Plains Consortium, the U.S. DOT’s University Transportation Center in Federal Region 8; director of the interdisciplinary Transportation and Logistics graduate program at North Dakota State University; executive director of the Transportation Research Forum; and, chairman of the Transportation Leadership Graduate Certificate Program.

Prior to joining North Dakota State, Tolliver was a rail planner for the North Dakota Department of Transportation and a research assistant at the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Morehead State University.

Established in 1902, Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, federal agencies, the White House, news media and the general public.

For more information visit ARTBA

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Last October, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum titled “Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West.”  It set streamlining demands for major western water projects, including work underway within the Columbia River Basin – more specifically, an Environmental Impact Statement and Biological Opinion originally due in 2021.  The President said: too slow, git-‘r-done faster.  Last week the co-lead agencies – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration – announced that their plan to speed things up was approved by the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  Work will be finished next year – 2020.  “The agencies now are revising project details in order to reach the new completion date.”  It looks like the work pace quickens for tasks related to “Public Comment Review and Synthesis” and “Prepare Final EIS and Identify Preferred Alternative.”  The final EIS should be out in June 2020 rather than the previous, much more exact deadline of March 26, 2021.
*  Next week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release the findings of its Annual Energy Outlook 2019 (AEO), including long-term projections of U.S. energy supply, demand, and prices, including cases that address alternative assumptions regarding U.S. economic growth rates, domestic energy resources and technology, and world oil prices. Additionally, EIA will present its January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).  This news release will really be an event, a presentation, and discussion by top EIA officials followed by an expert panel discussion on the issues within the new Outlooks.  Panelists are from the Bipartisan Policy Center, EPRI and FERC.
*  PFAS* monitoring continues in Michigan.  State and County officials retested 21 private residential wells in Otsego, MI.  Fortunately, there was no presence of fearsome dioxins in most of the wells that had previously tested positive.  Only one well showed trace amounts – the highest level was 0.13 parts per quadrillion (ppq), far below drinking water standards.  Wells were tested for PFAS around the former Menasha Corporation Landfill in Otsego.  Good news: All residential well samples came back negative for PFAS.  This investigation continues.  Next phase: testing soil samples for dioxins and PFAS.
*”PFAS,” or PFAs,” is an acronym for perfluoroalkyls, which are a group of man-made chemicals that are not found naturally in the environment, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These are industrial chemicals used in manufacturing.

Tom Ewing
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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  There’s a tidal-hydrokinetic research project underway in Bourne, MA, at the end of the Cape Cod Canal.  The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative of New England filed an application (not its first filing) with FERC for a draft pilot license application that would allow interconnection with the on-shore electrical grid.  This is pretty small stuff where power is concerned, about 100 kW.  A public comment period started in November and given MA’s environmental mandates pertaining to energy you might think that this Collaborative would have a whole lot of friends hoping they get this thing working, the faster the better.  Nope: not one supportive comment to FERC from any public officials or renewable energy or anti-pipeline groups.  In fact, MA’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife criticized the application, writing that it falls short and requires more work, that the pilot license should not be granted.  Ditto for NOAA.  FERC is likely to make a next-step decision soon.  
*  But, change takes time, of course.  On Dec. 17 USEPA proposed approving a MassDOT project establishing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and specified transit facilities on certain roadways around Boston, e.g., I-93, I-90 and Route 3. The changes would improve air quality because of decreased vehicle miles traveled and less congestion.  Less fuel burned, of course, also means less CO2.  Again, considering MA is required to decrease greenhouse gas emissions you would think there would be a lot of support for MassDOT’s projects.  Hmmm… Well, there likely is but probably everyone is waiting for the last minute to send in his or her “attaboy.”  One proposal – a good one – within the recent report from the MA Commission on the Future of Transportation is for projects that increase corridor efficiencies, to move more people, not just vehicles.  These aren’t exactly new ideas – the Boston HOV lanes were first proposed in 1996 *:D big grin… It takes a while…!
*  Well, for what it’s worth as a measure of Big Gubmint, total Federal Register pages were way up at the end of 2018 compared to 2017.  Last year’s FR had 68082 pages.  2017 totaled 61949.  That’s a big delta of 6133 more pages!  2019 is off to a slow start because of the Federal government shutdown.  One day last week the entire document was two pages.
Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text

CASE Announces Fourth-Annual Dire States Equipment Grant

Grant provides $25,000 in free equipment use to one winning community to repair and/or build local infrastructure or other critical systems. 
CASE Construction Equipment has issued the call for entries for the 2019 Dire States Equipment Grant. Submissions can be made at DireStates.com/Grant. The 2019 entry deadline is March 31, 2019, and the winner will be announced in April 2019.
Originally launched in 2016, the Dire States Grant provides one winning community with $25,000 in free equipment use to help offset the costs of building or repairing a critical piece of local infrastructure. Representatives of municipal, county and other local governments are eligible to apply. Entrants will be asked to describe the project and provide a detailed assessment of how that local piece of infrastructure will benefit the community.
Examples of suitable infrastructure projects include: road/bridge repair or construction, utility pipe replacement, erosion control along lakes and rivers, wastewater system improvements, school projects and park/recreational construction. All projects that fall within the 16 core categories of infrastructure, as identified by ASCE in its Infrastructure Report Card, will be considered.
The 2018 winner was Surrey, North Dakota. The community used the grant to significantly transform the city’s rainwater runoff and roadway drainage.
“We wouldn’t have been able to complete this amount of work in 100 years – and this has saved Surrey more than $100,000 in work that otherwise wouldn’t have been done,” said Keith Hegney, public works director, Surrey, North Dakota.
“Surrey represents the ideal Dire States entrant  — a community that was able to show the compounding benefit of infrastructure improvements on other elements of the city’s systems and future growth,” says Michel Marchand, vice president — North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “Entries for this grant have increased exponentially each year, which highlights the continued need for a greater focus on local infrastructure funding and development.”
“While Federal funding is critical to long-term sustainability of the nation’s infrastructure, it’s the network of local projects that most directly impact our daily lives,” says Athena Campos, senior director of marketing, CASE Construction Equipment. “At CASE, we’re working together with our dealers and customers to make a difference in building those local communities.”
All local governments in the United States are eligible to apply. A full list of rules and submission criteria are available at DireStates.com/Grant. For more information on Dire States, visit DireStates.com. For more information on CASE, visit CaseCE.com.