Tag Archive for 'bridges'

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Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater made the following statement on Wednesday regarding the outcome of the 2016 elections:

AEM LogoAmerica’s voters have spoken, and on behalf of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and our more than 900 members, I congratulate President-elect Trump on winning the presidency after a long and hard-fought campaign this year.

The 2016 campaign made clear that Americans are tired of gridlock government and fatigued after an unrelentingly negative election. Our elected officials now need to soothe our political discourse by coming together to advance sound public policy that will drive job creation and economic growth.

 Dennis Slater

Dennis Slater

The good news is that this election campaign highlighted the many issues on which Americans are united, along with manufacturers. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made the case this election season as to why we must make a substantial effort to not only repair our existing infrastructure, but also to develop a long-term vision for U.S. infrastructure that accommodates economic growth and rapidly emerging technologies. We stand ready to work with President-elect Trump to help advance this critically important policy priority.

A number of our elected officials have also spoken about infrastructure investment in the context of comprehensive tax reform. AEM members support commonsense and pro-growth tax reform that helps make U.S. manufacturing more competitive vis-à-vis our global trading partners, while also preserving important manufacturing investments and protecting U.S. jobs.

Our new president and leaders in Congress must also work together to address the strong anti-trade and foreign investment positions taken by candidates on both the right and the left this election season. We cannot undermine U.S. manufacturers’ global competitiveness for the sake of politically expedient soundbites.

Our elected leaders must also address falling farm incomes, move swiftly to advance a new Farm Bill and protect important safeguards for agricultural producers, such as the crop insurance program and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

To advance these important priorities, our new president and the 115th Congress must avoid the same partisan brinksmanship that has exacerbated political discord in Washington. A divided government cannot continue to be an excuse for inaction or executive overreach.

That is why the men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry stand ready to work with President-elect Trump, Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell to advance our shared priorities and promote manufacturing growth in America.

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing more than 900 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors worldwide

New Report Identifies U.S. Urban Areas With Roughest Roads And Highest Costs To Drivers – As Much As $1,025 Annually

Trip LogoNew Report Identifies U.S. Urban Areas With Roughest Roads And Highest Costs To Drivers – As Much As $1,025 Annually. As Travel Growth Returns To Pre-Recession Rates, Road Conditions Expected To Decline Further Without Additional Funding At Local, State & Federal Levels.

Driving on deteriorated urban roads costs motorists as much as $1,025 annually, according to a new report that evaluates pavement conditions in the nation’s large (500,000+ population) and mid-sized (200,000-500,000 population) urban areas and calculates the additional costs passed on to motorists as a result of driving on rough roads. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.

These findings were recently (11.5.2016) released by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report, Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to make our Roads Smoother,” examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding, travel trends and economic development. Pavement condition and vehicle operating costs for urban areas with populations of 200,000 or greater can be found in the report and appendices. The charts below detail large and mid-sized urban areas with the highest share of pavements on major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating costs (VOC).

tripIn 2014 nearly one-third (32 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads– Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – had pavements that were in substandard condition and provided an unacceptably rough ride to motorists, costing the average driver $523 annually. The nationwide annual cost of driving on deteriorated roads totals $112 billion.

“This important TRIP report highlights the need for federal leadership to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit.  With both presidential candidates highlighting the importance of rebuilding America’s infrastructure, the time is now to address this critical issue,” stated U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director of Transportation Infrastructure Ed Mortimer.

Road conditions could get even worse in the future as the rate of vehicle travel continues to increase and local and state government find themselves unable to adequately fund road repairs.

With vehicle travel growth rates returning to pre-recession levels and large truck travel anticipated to grow significantly, mounting wear and tear on the nation’s urban roads and highways is expected to increase the cost of needed highway repairs. Vehicle travel in the U.S. increased by 15 percent from 2000 to 2015. U.S. vehicle travel during the first eight months of 2016 increased 3.1 percent from the same period in 2015. Travel by large commercial trucks in the U.S. increased by 26 percent from 2000 to 2014 and is anticipated to increase by approximately 72 percent from 2015 to 2030, putting greater stress on the nation’s roadways.

“With state and local governments struggling to fund needed road repairs and with federal surface transportation funding falling short of the amount needed to make needed improvements, road conditions are projected to get even worse,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment at the local, state and federal levels, our nation’s crumbling pavements will be more than just a nuisance for drivers – they’ll be a roadblock to economic growth and quality of life.”
Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides And Strategies To Make Our Roads Smoother

Executive Summary

Keeping the wheel steady on America’s roads and highways has become increasingly challenging as drivers encounter potholes and pavement deterioration. Nearly one-third of the nation’s major urban roadways – highways and major streets that are the main routes for commuters and commerce – are in poor condition. These critical links in the nation’s transportation system carry 70 percent of the approximately 3.1 trillion miles driven annually in America.

Road conditions could deteriorate even further in the future as the rate of vehicle travel continues to increase and local and state government find they are unable to adequately fund road repairs.

In this report, TRIP examines the condition of the nation’s major urban roads, including pavement condition data for America’s most populous urban areas, recent trends in travel, the latest developments in repairing roads and building them to last longer, and the funding levels needed to adequately address America’s deteriorated roadways.

For the purposes of this report, an urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas. Pavement condition data are the latest available and are derived from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) 2014 annual survey of state transportation officials on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways, based on a uniform pavement rating index. The pavement rating index measures the level of smoothness of pavement surfaces, supplying information on the ride quality provided by road and highway surfaces. The major findings of the TRIP report are:

Nearly one-third of the nation’s major urban roads are rated in substandard or poor condition, providing motorists and truckers with a rough ride and increasing the cost of operating a vehicle.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all urban arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by state departments of transportation on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads – Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – have pavements that are in substandard condition and provide an unacceptably rough ride to motorists.
  • An additional 39 percent of the nation’s major urban roads and highways have pavements that are in mediocre or fair condition, and 28 percent are in good condition.
  • Including major rural roads, 20 percent of the nation’s major roads are in poor condition, 39 percent are in mediocre or fair condition, and 40 percent are in good condition.
  • The following chart shows the 25 urban regions* with a population of 500,000 or greater with the highest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride.

 

trip2* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • The 25 urban regions* with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 with the greatest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride are shown in the following chart.

trip3* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • A listing of road conditions for each urban area with a population of 500,000 or more can be found in Appendix A. Pavement condition data for urban areas with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix B.
  • The average motorist in the U.S. is losing $523 annually — $112 billion nationally — in additional vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increasing the frequency of needed maintenance and requiring additional fuel consumption.
  • The following chart shows the 25 urban regions* with at least 500,000 people where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor, mediocre and fair condition.

trip4* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • The 25 urban regions* with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor, mediocre and fair condition are shown in the following chart.

trip5* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • A listing of additional vehicle operating costs due to driving on roads in substandard condition for urban areas with populations over 500,000 can be found in Appendix C. Additional vehicle operating costs for urban areas with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix D.

With vehicle travel growth returning to pre-recession rates and large truck travel anticipated to grow significantly, the result will be an increase in traffic and wear and tear on the nation’s urban roads and highways. The additional travel will increase the amount of road, highway and bridge investment needed to improve conditions and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.

  • Vehicle travel in the U.S. increased by 15 percent from 2000 to 2015. U.S. vehicle travel during the first eight months of 2016 increased 3.1 percent from the same period in 2015.
  • Travel by large commercial trucks in the U.S. increased by 26 percent from 2000 to 2014. Large trucks place significant stress on roads and highways.
  • The level of heavy truck travel nationally is anticipated to increase by approximately 72 percent from 2015 to 2030, putting greater stress on the nation’s roadways.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that the U.S. currently has a $740 billion backlog in improvements needed to restore the nation’s roads, highways and bridges to the level of condition and performance needed to meet the nation’s transportation demands.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that the nation’s road, highway and bridge backlog included $392 billion in needed road and highway repairs to return them to a state of good repair; $112 billion needed in bridge rehabilitation and $237 billion in needed highway capacity expansions to relieve traffic congestion and support economic development.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for road and highway repairs. The current five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source. 

  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty, and streamlines the federal project approval process. But, the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • The five-year, $305 billion FAST Act will provide approximately a 15 percent boost in national highway funding and an 18 percent boost in national transit funding over the duration of the program, which expires in 2020.
  • In addition to federal motor fuel tax revenues, the FAST Act will also be funded by $70 billion in U.S. general funds, which will rely on offsets from several unrelated federal programs including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Federal Reserve and U.S. Customs.
  • According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
  • AASHTO’s report found that based on an annual one percent increase in VMT annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs, based on an annual one percent rate of vehicle travel growth. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.
  • The Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.

Projects to improve the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges could boost the nation’s economic growth by providing significant short- and long-term economic benefits.

  • Highway rehabilitation and preservation projects provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity and safety, and by reducing operating costs for people and businesses.   Roadway repairs also extend the service life of a road, highway or bridge, which saves money by postponing the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Transportation agencies can reduce pavement life cycle costs by using higher-quality paving materials that keep roads structurally sound and smooth for longer periods, and by employing a pavement preservation approach that optimizes the timing of repairs to pavement surfaces.

  • There are five life cycle stages of a roadway pavement: design, construction, initial deterioration, visible deterioration and pavement disintegration and failure.
  • A 2010 Federal Highway Administration report found that an over-reliance on short-term pavement repairs will fail to provide the long-term structural integrity needed in a roadway surface to guarantee the future performance of a paved road or highway.
  • The 2010 Federal Highway Administration report warned that transportation agencies that focus only on current pavement surface conditions will eventually face a highway network with an overwhelming backlog of pavement rehabilitation and replacement needs.
  • A properly implemented pavement preservation approach to keeping pavements in good condition has been found to reduce overall pavement life cycle costs by approximately one-third over a 25-year period.
  • Initial pavement preservation can only be done on road surfaces that are structurally sound. Roads that have significant deterioration must be maintained with surface repairs until sufficient funds are available to reconstruct the road, at which time a pavement preservation strategy can be adopted.
  • The use of thicker pavements and more durable designs and materials for a particular roadway are being used to increase the life span of road and highway surfaces and delay the need for significant repairs. These new pavements include high performance concrete pavements and asphalt pavements that have a perpetual pavement design.

Adequate funding allows transportation agencies to reconstruct roadways that are structurally worn out and adopt the following recommendations for ensuring a smooth ride.

  • Implement and adequately fund a pavement preservation program that performs initial maintenance on road surfaces while they are still in good condition, postponing the need for significant rehabilitation.
  • Use pavement materials and designs that will provide a longer-lasting surface when critical routes are constructed or reconstructed.
  • Resurface roads in a timely fashion using pavement materials that are designed to be the most durable, given local climate and the level and mix of traffic on the road.
  • Invest adequately to ensure that 75 percent of local road surfaces are in good condition.

All data used in the report are the latest available. Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the AAA, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

 

 

TRIP Reports: California Cities Among Those With Most Deteriorated Roads In U.S., Costing Drivers As Much As $1,000 Annualy

Trip LogoCalifornia Cities Among Those With Most Deteriorated Roads In U.S., Costing Drivers As Much As $1,000 Annualy. Road Conditions Expected To Decline Further Without Additional Funding At Local, State & Federal Levels.

California is home to four of the top 25 large urban areas (500,000+ population) and seven of the top 25 mid-sized urban areas (200,000-500,000 population) with the highest share of roads in poor condition, according to a new report released today. Motorists in some California urban areas face some of the highest vehicle operating costs (VOC) in the nation near $1,000 in some cities – as a result of driving on rough roads. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.

These findings were released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report, Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to make our Roads Smoother,” examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding, travel trends and economic development. Pavement condition and vehicle operating costs for urban areas with populations of 200,000 or greater can be found in the report and appendices. The charts below detail large and mid-sized urban areas with the highest share of pavements on major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating costs.

trip-br-1

ABC Reports: Construction Growth Modest in Jobs Report

1291931467352794367The U.S. construction industry added 11,000 net new jobs in October, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Industry employment increased 0.2 percent on a monthly basis and 3 percent on a yearly basis. Nonresidential construction employment added 3,300 net new jobs for the month and 56,200 net new jobs from October 2015.

The nonresidential building subsector lost 800 jobs for the month and has experienced employment declines in six of the past seven months, but this was offset by a gain of 4,100 jobs among nonresidential specialty trade contractors. The residential sector added 4,500 jobs for the month while the heavy and civil engineering sector added 3,400 net new positions.

“Today’s nonresidential employment data can be viewed as reasonably positive from a topline perspective,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Employment increased among nonresidential specialty trade contractors and also in the heavy and civil engineering segment. The nonresidential construction unemployment rate rose, which is actually good news, indicating that more people are searching for work in the industry. However, nonresidential building construction lost jobs, and there are reports that backlog has begun to shrink among a rising fraction of commercial contractors in several large U.S. metropolitan areas. Other data indicate that commercial real estate lending standards are tightening due to a combination of regulatory pressures and growing concerns regarding overbuilding in certain segments and in certain markets.

“Today’s job release also reveals relatively little about the near-term future,” said Basu. “Nonresidential construction spending has not been expanding in recent months, perhaps indicating that job growth in the industry will not be sustained. There is some hope that the end of the election cycle will usher forth a spirit of renewed confidence among private developers and public policymakers, which could translate into renewed nonresidential construction spending growth at some point next year.”

The construction industry unemployment rate increased by 0.5 percentage points in October and now sits at 5.7 percent. This rate, which is only presented on a nonseasonally adjusted basis, has risen in October in eight of the previous 10 years. The nationwide unemployment rate for all industries inched back down to 4.9 percent, falling a tenth of a percentage point from September. The national labor force shrank by 195,000 persons in October after expanding in each of the previous four months. Even so, the labor force has added over 2.6 million persons in the past twelve months, a 1.7 percent increase.

October Construction Employment

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ABC Reports: Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 32 States Year-Over-Year

1291931467352794367September not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates improved in 32 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 5.2 percent was 0.3 percent lower than a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This was the lowest September construction unemployment rate since 2000, when it was 4.6 percent. BLS data also reported that the industry employed 208,000 more people than in September 2015.

“September 2016 marks the sixth year of uninterrupted monthly year-over-year rate decreases in the national construction unemployment rate that began in October 2010,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “These industry-specific unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, so it is important to note states’ performance on a year-ago basis. The year-over-year improvement in the national unemployment rate as well as in the rates of 32 states demonstrates the steady improvement in the construction job market over the past year.”

Like August, the historical pattern for change in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from the month before is ambiguous. Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, through 2015, the change in the September rate from August has fallen eight times, risen seven times and been unchanged once. This year’s September increase of 0.1 percent adds an eighth year that the rate has risen from August.

Eighteen states did post declines in their estimated construction unemployment rates from August. Five states had unchanged rates.

View states ranked by their construction unemployment rate, their year-over-year improvement in construction employment and monthly improvement in construction employment.

View states unemployment rate for all industries.

The Top Five States

The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest they were:

  1.  Colorado
  2.  South Dakota
  3.  Idaho
  4. North Dakota (tie with Idaho)
  5.  Massachusetts

Four states—Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts and North Dakota—were also among the top five in August. Colorado had the lowest rate among the states in September at 2.4 percent, the state’s lowest September unemployment rate on record. South Dakota, with a 2.9 percent construction unemployment rate, moved up to the second lowest rate in September and also had the second largest year-over-year drop, down 1.3 percent. Idaho and North Dakota tied for the third lowest rate in September with a 3 percent rate, up from fifth lowest and down from the lowest rate in August respectively. Massachusetts tied with South Dakota and Arizona for the biggest year-over-year improvement by shedding 1.3 percent from its construction unemployment rate in posting the fifth lowest rate in September at 3.3 percent rate, also the state’s lowest rate.

Wyoming dropped from the top five in August and experienced the largest monthly and year-over-year jump in its NSA construction unemployment rate—up 2.7 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively—to 5.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Vermont fell from tied with Idaho for fifth lowest in August to tied with Michigan for 13th lowest in September with a 4.3 percent rate. Vermont also had the fourth largest monthly increase, up 1.1 percent from August.

The Bottom Five States

The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:

  1.  Alabama
  2.  Pennsylvania
  3.  Rhode Island
  4.  New Mexico
  5.  Alaska

All of these states were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in August.

Alaska, with a 10.1 percent rate, had the highest estimated rate in September and saw the second largest increase from August at 2.5 percent. On a positive note, Alaska’s September 2016 rate was its lowest September rate since 2002. New Mexico had the second highest construction unemployment rate in September, 8.6 percent, although it also had the second largest monthly drop in its rate—down 0.9 percent. Rhode Island had its lowest September construction unemployment rate since 2007, but was still the third highest rate in September at 8.5 percent. Pennsylvania had the fourth highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in September, 8.1 percent, and the second largest year-over-year increase among the states, up 1.5 percent. Alabama had the fifth highest estimated construction unemployment rate in September, with a 7.6 percent rate, its second lowest September rate since 2007 (just above 2015’s 7.5 percent).

To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.

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