Tag Archive for 'Florida'

Interesting Events

By Greg Sitek

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to participate, live and digitally, in several events that have or will have an impact on our world. They involved asphalt, tires and mobility and the introduction of a new piece of equipment.

Mobility is at the heart of all our activities. It’s a basic human need, both social and economic, as well as
a powerful environmental constraint. The challenge that we must now meet is: provide good solutions for society and the planet and make them a level of responsible corporate development. Critical components of mobility are the construction industries – roads & bridges, rail, waterways, ports & terminals, buildings — residential, commercial, industrial, institutional – infrastructure. Without the construction industries paving the way society would become stagnant.

The bottom line is that “mobility” is an essential component in today’s world but mobility has to be done responsibly. In this issue is an article on Movin’On.

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) recently presented field test results for its LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheel loader to a group in California. Included were Volvo’s customer Waste Management, which carried out the field tests, CALSTART, which conducted emission tests on the machine, and the California Energy Commission, which helped fund the LX1 project. Since the end of last year, the LX1 has performed hundreds of hours of real work in two applications at Waste Management facilities in California.

The LX1 prototype cuts fuel consumption radically while delivering quiet reliable performance that leaves a small carbon footprint. A full-size diesel-electric loader?

Yes. You can see and listen to it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BMPS3kWoAg8 and there is an article on it in this issue.

And then there was a webinar on a perpetual design software update.

The Asphalt Pavement Alliance introduced Version 4.3 of PerRoad Perpetual Pavement design software. Developed at Auburn University, PerRoad uses the mechanistic-empirical design philosophy to estimate stresses and strains that would prove detrimental for fatigue cracking or structural rutting.

PerRoad Version 4.3 incorporates recent research conducted on the Pavement Test Track at the National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University and then validated with live traffic on Perpetual Pavement sections. The new features allow PerRoad to perform a conventional mechanistic-empirical (M-E) design to directly compare against Perpetual Pavement designs. It can also use strain distribution or a single endurance limit strain value to design a Perpetual Pavement.

“Perpetual Pavement designs allow us to limit distresses to the easily repaired surface,” stated David Timm, Ph.D., P.E., developer of PerRoad. “By coupling layered elastic analysis with a statistical analysis procedure, PerRoad helps a designer understand the layer thicknesses and other values that will ensure a long-life asphalt pavement.”

PerRoad, which is available for free from www.AsphaltRoads.org/PerRoad uses the mechanistic-empirical design philosophy. The program couples layered elastic analysis with a statistical analysis procedure (Monte Carlo simulation) to estimate stresses and strains within a pavement. Version 4.3 provides design results as percentile responses and as conventional designs with transfer functions.

Perpetual roads are…

Ten departments of transportation were named winners of the 2016 Perpetual Pavement Award by Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA). The award celebrates long-life asphalt pavements that reflect the characteristics of a Perpetual Pavement design. The award is presented to state transportation departments and local agency road owners for well-performing asphalt pavements that are at least 35 years old with a proven high-quality structural design.

To earn the award, the pavement must not have suffered a structural failure, and it should have an average interval between resurfacing of no less than 13 years. The road must demonstrate excellence in design, quality in construction, and value to taxpayers. Engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University, evaluated the nominations and validated the results for this year’s Perpetual Pavement Award winners.

Since the Perpetual Pavement Award was first presented in 2001, 118 pavements in 30 U.S. states and one Canadian province have been honored with the award.

The states winning the 2016 award were: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington. For details visit: http://www.asphaltroads.org/news/post/asphalt-pavement-alliance-announces-winners-2016-perpetual-pavement-awards/

Wells Fargo Reports: Florida Labor Market Update: March 2017

The pace of hiring decelerated slightly, as the late Easter held seasonally-adjusted nonfarm job growth to just 6,200 net new jobs. Hiring is growing twice as fast in Florida on a year-over-year basis than it is nationwide.

This Year’s Late Easter Held Back Hiring in March

The later arrival of Easter this year appears to have held back nonfarm employment growth. Nonfarm employment rose by 6,200 jobs in March on a seasonally-adjusted basis, with employment in the leisure & hospitality industry posting an outsized 9,400-job loss during the month. With Easter coming later this year, Spring Break travelers—which include much more than college kids—arrived a little later than usual this year. Hiring was also likely held back in the retail sector during the month.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Florida added 52,000 jobs in March, with the leisure & hospitality industry adding 14,000 jobs and retailers adding 3,100 jobs. The split between the adjusted and unadjusted numbers drives home the importance of understanding how the seasonal adjustment process can sometimes distort the data in exactly the opposite way it is intended to. The more relevant data for Florida is that job growth on a year-over-year basis is rising solidly, climbing 3.0 percent, or exactly double the 1.5 percent gain posted nationwide.

Florida’s Economy Is Firing on Nearly All Cylinders

Florida has done a very good job of diversifying the state’s economic base and making the state less dependent upon tourism. The technology and aerospace industries are two notable successes. Employment in professional & technical services has risen 3.2 percent over the past year, while employment in the aerospace sector has risen 4.9 percent. Growth in the aerospace industry is particularly evident along the Space Coast, Jacksonville and in South Florida. Overall manufacturing employment has risen 3.7 percent over the past year, with much of that growth coming in the higher paying durable goods sector. In addition to adding lots of higher skilled positions, Florida also continues to add lots of entry level jobs, which is something not evident in many other states. Employment in administrative services has risen 3.4 percent over the past year, creating 21,800 net new jobs.

Florida’s relative abundance of job opportunities is pulling job seekers in from other parts of the country. Florida’s labor force has risen 3.5 percent over the past year. Employment has risen even faster, however, allowing the unemployment rate to fall 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor and Wells Fargo Securities

Rental Inc. Provides Sales and Service to Customers in Panama City, Fla., and Opelika, Ala.

Bobcat Company expands its dealer network with the addition of Rental Inc. as an authorized sales and service provider for the Bobcat® product line. Rental Inc. will be selling Bobcat equipment at two locations: 127 Griffin Boulevard in Panama City, Fla., and 1870 Columbus Parkway in Opelika, Ala. The dealerships will be doing business as Bobcat of Panama City and Bobcat of Opelika, respectively.

Both locations will carry the entire Bobcat product line and all related attachments.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to carry such high-quality products,” said Joe Scherzinger, president. “We have already hired additional salespeople to focus solely on selling the Bobcat brand.”

In business since 2004, Rental Inc. specializes in the sales, service and rental of heavy construction equipment. Rental Inc. has a rental fleet valued at $25 million.

“Over the next few years, we plan to phase out over 90 machines from our rental fleet and replace them with Bobcat machines,” Scherzinger said.

For more information, contact the dealerships at (850) 236-2444 (Panama City, Fla.) or (334) 705-8998 (Opelika, Ala.).

300+ Industry Leaders Talk Transportation Public-Private Partnerships at 21st Annual ARTBA Conference

More than 300 transportation design and construction executives, financial services and consulting professionals, and government officials came to Nation’s Capital September 24-25 to discuss the role of public-private partnerships (P3s) in ARTBAfinancing transportation infrastructure projects.  Attendees at the 21st Annual American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Public-Private Ventures (PPV) in Transportation Conference heard compelling remarks from Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell (D), Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary William Ankner, Ph.D., senior congressional staff and others.

Governor Rendell said options like a national infrastructure bank and other P3 deals should “get under way now,” adding that he would like to see Congress set the groundwork for their expanded use under the next highway/transit investment bill.  Looking to the gas tax as a financing mechanism for surface transportation, Rendell said Congress lacked political courage to take tough, but required action.  “There’s fear in Washington about raising the gas tax.  We’ve elected the biggest bunch of wusses I’ve ever seen in politics.  They’re scared of their shadow, they’re scared to invest, they’re scared to spend—they’re terrified,” he said.  Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez spoke about his agency’s focus on safety and the benefits provided by recovery act funds for transportation infrastructure investments.

Secretary Kopelousos discussed the importance of P3s in Florida, saying that 91 percent of recent projects have been toll-financed.  She pointed to seven unique lessons learned from P3s in her state, including: being flexible in procurement, securing government and community support, selecting the right project, knowing the overall market and understanding appropriate timing, having the best experts on your team to create the deal, ensuring transparency, and being persistent.

A panel of senior staff members from the Senate Environment and Public Works, and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee also discussed the role of P3s as a mechanism for supporting new capacity projects, and outlined challenges they see facing the industry as Congress negotiates the next highway/transit authorization bill.

During the conference, ARTBA recognized Juan Santamaria, chief operating officer of ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc., and Gerry O’Reilly, director of transportation development for Florida Department of Transportation District Four, with the “Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.”  The awards are presented annually to private and public sector professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of P3s that advance transportation infrastructure improvements.  Florida’s I-595 Corridor Improvements received the “Project of the Year” Award.  Additional project information is available at www.I-595.com. The website provides in-depth information on the project. The following is a brief overview.

FDOT established a very aggressive schedule for the procurement of a concessionaire to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (D/B/F/O/M) the project.  The entire process from advertisement through contract award was accomplished in less than 13 months, which involved the continual collaboration of legal, financial and technical Department and consultant staff.  Effective communication between FDOT and the shortlisted concessionaire teams, including one-on-one meetings and responses to proposer questions, ensured the development of a comprehensive contract documents package as well as a competitive bidding process.  Some of the major procurement process milestones included:

• October 1, 2007 – Issued Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to interested proposers

• December 3, 2007 – Shortlist of concessionaire teams (4 teams total)

• December 11, 2007 – Issued Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to shortlisted teams

• April 18, 2008 – Issued Final RFP

• September 5, 2008 – Received technical and financial proposals from shortlisted teams

• October 24, 2008 – Issued Notice of Intent to Award contract to ACS Infrastructure Development (ACSID)

• March 3, 2009 – Contract Execution

On March 3, 2009, FDOT signed a public-private partnership (P3) agreement with I-595 Express, LLC, a consortium created by ACS Infrastructure Development, who will serve as the Concessionaire to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (D/B/F/O/M) the I-595 Corridor Improvements project through the 35-year agreement term.