Tag Archive for 'asphalt'

TRIP Report: Significant Deficiencies and High Fatality Rates

A Little Road Work

A Little Road Work

By Greg Sitek

Greg Sitek

What’s going to happen on September 30, 2020? The FAST Act — Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act — is scheduled to expire?

Will it?

If it does will it make a difference?

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association is working overtime to develop information and materials that can be used to guide the committees and congressional overseeing the reauthorization program and has taken a leadership role in informing the  industry and public as well.

Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA reports,ARTBA’s “Project 2019 Reauthorization Task Force,” comprised of 26 volunteer leaders from all eight-membership divisions, developed the industry’s legislative blueprint for the next highway and transit bill. The ARTBA Board unanimously approved the thoughtful and comprehensive policy report in May.

Visit ARTBA at artba.org to view a digital copy of the 32-page report, “The Road to the Next Federal Highway & Public Transit Investment Bill.”

Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA says that ARTBA President and CEO Dave Bauer July 11 told members of the House Democratic Caucus to include a Highway Trust Fund revenue solution as part of any infrastructure legislation this year. Bauer reminded the members of Congress of the reliance states have on the federal transportation programs for highway construction spending.

The map above, created by ARTBA staff using Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data, was distributed to the members. It shows states, on average, depend on the federal government for 51 percent of their highway construction programs.

The closed-door session featured other business and labor executives who also emphasized the need to address the long-term solvency of the trust fund. Members of Congress who spoke touched on the need to get a robust infrastructure package completed, as well as the various options for funding and financing transportation investments. Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) organized the meeting.

A comprehensive infrastructure bill in the House of Representatives has yet to materialize, though discussions between the White House and the Congress are reportedly ongoing. The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee is pushing ahead on the reauthorization of a surface transportation bill, with a mark-up of a bill scheduled for Aug. 1.

Again, ARTBA’s Dean Franks adds,The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee traded priorities for an upcoming surface reauthorization bill during a July 10 hearing.  Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) was the first to reference those users of the system should be the ones to pay for the infrastructure investments and particularly mentioned the need for electric vehicle drivers to begin paying into the system. Ranking Democrat Tom Carper (D-Del.) said, “I have always believed that a long-term focus on national needs must include identifying new source of sustainable, user-fee base revenues to support investments in transportation.”

Barrasso also publicly announced for the first time that the legislation the committee is drafting would be a five-year bill. The two committee leaders said they want to pass a bipartisan bill out of committee before the Senate adjourns for the annual summer work period. An Aug. 1 target has been set for consideration in the committee.

This will be the first action on a surface transportation law since enactment of the FAST Act in December of 2015. That law, which expires in September 2020, required $70 billion in General Fund transfers and unrelated offsets to help pay for the bill.

The EPW committee has jurisdiction over the highway policy provisions of a surface transportation authorization process, while three other committees will need to weigh in on public transportation, trucking, rail and tax issues.

ARTBA will continue working with Barrasso, Carper and all committee members to get a bill with increased and growing investment levels approved out of committee as soon as possible.

In the “summer driving season” editorial by The Washington Post, it points out,‘States Are Doing It. So Why Hasn’t Congress Increased the Federal Gas Tax?’
On July 1, gas taxes went up in 13 states, not only blue ones such as California and Illinois, but also red ones such as Indiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Roads, the importance of roads and transportation goes back to The Appian Way or Via Appia Antica in Rome, one of the most famous ancient roads. It was built in 312 B.C. by Appius Claudius Caecus. … Roman roads and especially the Appian Way were extremely important to Rome. It allowed trade and access to the east, specifically Greece. The importance of roads hasn’t changed; it’s become paramount to our way of life.

Maintaining our transportation infrastructure isn’t an expense it’s an investment.

ARTBA Reports: A Big Week for Regulatory Reform

By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

The Trump administration this week announced three regulatory measures with significant impact for ARTBA members:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a request for information asking the regulated community to help clarify various aspects of the crystalline silica rule.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released proposed changes to the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which govern the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road.
  • An overhaul of the Endangered Species Act includes new limits to where the government can block development by declaring land as “critical habitat.”

“These three developments highlight the administration’s continued focus on removing unnecessary regulatory burdens from the project delivery process,” said ARTBA Vice President of Regulatory & Legal Issues Nick Goldstein. “ARTBA will continue to work with federal agencies to keep advancing beneficial regulatory reforms.”

ARTBA also expects in the coming weeks to hear from the U.S. Department of Transportation about the potential repeal of a federal regulation that prohibits state and local governments from using patented or proprietary products on highway and bridge projects that receive federal funding unless those products qualify for limited exceptions. The rule was adopted in 1916 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which then managed the emerging federal-aid highway program.

Additionally, the administration is expected to continue to move forward on the repeal and replacement of the “waters of the United States” rule.

Click the links in the three bullet points above to read more detailed stories about this week’s regulatory developments.

ARTBA Announces Schapker As New Vice President of Legislative Affairs

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) announced the hiring of Lauren Schapker as vice president of legislative affairs, a newly created position. She brings to the association nearly 15 years of experience in infrastructure policy issues.

As one of ARTBA’s primary advocates on Capitol Hill, Schapker will work with legislators and their staffs to boost federal transportation investment, secure a permanent Highway Trust Fund revenue solution and advance other transportation construction industry priorities.

Schapker spent five years at the Portland Cement Association (PCA) beginning in 2009.  She led the organization’s transportation portfolio through the MAP-21 surface transportation law. She oversaw PCA’s grassroots and political efforts, both of which grew significantly under her leadership.

Schapker left PCA in 2014 to open the Washington, D.C., office of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA). For nearly five years, she directed both legislative and regulatory portfolios on a range of infrastructure matters, increasing NGWA’s profile with key stakeholders and national media. She helped establish the nation’s first groundwater monitoring network, restore tax credits for renewable energy technologies and improve the regulatory climate for rural infrastructure projects.

Schapker began her career at the public affairs and government relations firm Xenophon Strategies, where she focused on transportation and infrastructure issues.  She represented cities, counties and school districts seeking federal assistance for infrastructure projects.  Her efforts helped secure funding in annual appropriations legislation and policy changes in surface transportation and water resources authorization bills. She also led Xenophon’s political fundraising.

A native of Cincinnati, Schapker has a B.S. in finance and an M.A. in political science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She and her husband reside in Alexandria, Va.

Established in 1902, ARTBA is the consensus voice of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.

From NAPA: Sustainable Asphalt ‘Practical Guide’ Series Looks at Procurement

Sustainable Asphalt ‘Practical Guide’ Series Looks at Procurement

 

The third Book Looks at How Owners and Agencies Consider Sustainability

The third installment in the Sustainable Asphalt Pavements: A Practical Guideseries, “,” is now available. The 14-page book outlines how public projects are starting to incorporate and reward sustainable construction practices.

The book will be formally released Friday, August 9, during its accompanying webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, visit www.AsphaltPavement.org/PracticalGuide.

“Owner agencies are looking to incorporate sustainability into their projects, whether it’s green construction rating systems, like LEED or Greenroads, or through procurement policies. This short guide looks at how asphalt pavement mixture producers can help owners meet their sustainability goals,” said Joseph Shacat, Director of Sustainable Pavements for the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA).

Authored by Stephen T. Muench, Ph.D., P.E. of the University of Washington and Adam J.T. Hand, Ph.D., P.E. of the University of Nevada, Reno, the Sustainable Asphalt Pavements: A Practical Guideseries is being released over the course of 2019. The first two volumes, “Sustainability Overview” and “Sustainability Specifics,” were released earlier this year, and the fourth will be released in November. Each volume in the series is accompanied by a webinar explaining how the concept of sustainability can be applied in asphalt pavement production and road construction. The webinars and books are available for free through www.AsphaltPavement.org/PracticalGuide.

“Understanding how owners are looking to make their roads, parking lots, and other projects more sustainable is important,” said Shacat, “and ‘Procuring and Evaluating Sustainability’ works with the rest of the Practical Guide series to ensure producers understand how green construction rating systems can be leveraged to harness the sustainable aspects of asphalt pavements.”

–Asphalt pavements can help projects earn points in all the major green construction rating systems, either through the use of recycled materials, the provision of environmental product declarations (EPDs), or with porous asphalt pavements, among other properties.

The Sustainable Asphalt Pavements: A Practical Guideseries was developed with the support of the Federal Highway Administration through the Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) program.

National Asphalt Pavement Association

The National Asphalt Pavement Association(NAPA) is the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the asphalt producer/contractor on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities. The association provides technical, educational, and marketing materials and information to its members; supplies product information to users and specifiers of paving materials; and conducts training courses. The association, which counts more than 1,100 companies as members, was founded in 1955.