Tag Archive for 'Interstate Highway System'

ARTBA Calls for New Approach to Roadway Safety

Wekiva Parkway under construction in Central Florida. Photo: Mary Brooks.

By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

ARTBA is calling for a shift in how the nation approaches roadway safety. The association April 9 submitted its views to U.S. House Highways and Transit subcommittee hearing.

Rather than the usual federal focus on reducing the number of crashes by improving motorists’ behavior, ARTBA believes the premise must be turned around to accept the fact that some drivers will inevitably make mistakes. On all major routes—and others to the extent practicable—the U.S. roadway system must anticipate user error and be designed, constructed, equipped and operated to forgive the errant user and protect the innocent worker, pedestrian, cyclist or other drivers, ARTBA’s written testimony says.

“We have the technology and ‘know how’ to build our roadway system to anticipate user error,” ARTBA’s testimony says. “It can be designed, constructed, equipped, and operated to forgive the errant user and protect the innocent victim.”

More than 37,000 people were killed in 2017 U.S. traffic crashes, including roadway workers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Work zone fatalities increased to 799 in 2017 from 586 in 2010. (2018 data is not available.)

ARTBA’s testimony emphasizes highway work zone safety. It reminds Congress that through federal rulemaking after the SAFETEA-LU surface transportation law and further provisions in both the MAP-21 and FAST Act laws, lawmakers and previous administrations have expressed the intent to use increased positive separation between workers and motorists on construction projects.

“The law has not been fully implemented and positive separation is still not used as regularly as Congress intended,” ARTBA’s testimony says. “New products and technologies are available that make the practice more practical and cost-effective.”

ARTBA has previously called for the repeal of a century-old federal procurement rule that has become a major regulatory roadblock to new technologies that promise to help advance safety and alleviate traffic congestion.

ARTBA’s testimony also notes that sound investment in safe transportation infrastructure is a bipartisan priority. The association is urging Congress and the administration to pass a permanent, sustainable revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund, either as part of broad infrastructure legislation or next year’s scheduled reauthorization of the FAST Act.

World of Asphalt, AGG1 Academy and Expo Host Record-Setting Attendance

Let’s Talk About Roads

Let’s Talk About Roads

By Greg Sitek

There are things that we, as a society, have developed a need for, a need that readily translates into a necessity of the same magnitude as air, food, and water. In fact, as we currently exist the elimination of the human-made necessities will eliminate the three basics.

Think about it. Think about life as you know and live it without electricity, running water, cable/internet, sewerage systems, stores, roads, cars, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, gas, oil, etc. etc. etc. When I try to I find that I am in deep trouble.

All of these “needs” are intricately intertwined much like a spider’s web, one “need” supporting the other. In today’s world the linking, supporting “spider web” is our transportation infrastructure, our roads. Take the roads away and everything we “need” to continue living as we do can no longer exist as we do. Each and every component is dependent on our roads for its continued, long-term existence.

Roads are the arteries that provide the means to install and maintain our electricity, cables, phones, waterlines; roads are the web-strands that bring groceries, clothing, stuff to our stores; roads bring farm products to the processors; roads make our lives possible.

We use them, we complain about them, we take them for granted. But we need them and we need to maintain them.

Many of the states have increased their “gas taxes” while others are introducing bills to do the same.

A recent ARTBA Transportation Investment Advocacy Center  (TIAC) release noted, “ Legislators in 37 states have introduced 185 bills aimed at boosting transportation investment in the first two months of 2019,

a new analysis finds. This number is higher than the amount of legislation the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (ARTBA-TIAC) tracked over the same time period last year and is projected to grow as additional measures are introduced throughout the year.

“Continuing a trend seen in recent years, many states introduced electric vehicle fees to help ensure all vehicles that create wear and tear on roads pay for their share of maintenance. Sixteen states filed legislation to implement an electric vehicle registration fee, with 10 of those states including an additional registration fee for hybrid vehicles.

“Several states are also considering innovative funding solutions. Mileage-based user fee studies or pilot programs are being considered in eight states. Four states have introduced legislation to implement tolling.

“Of the legislation introduced in January or February, 19 measures have advanced beyond one legislative chamber, with one bill—an electric vehicle registration fee increase in Wyoming— signed into law. Another bill in Arkansas to convert the state’s flat excise tax to a variable-rate formula based on the average wholesale price of fuel, implement new electric and hybrid motor vehicle registration fees, and utilize at least $35 million in casino revenues for transportation funding has been sent to the governor and is expected to receive final approval in March. One hundred sixty-six bills have been introduced and are awaiting further action. Several states have not yet convened for their legislative session, and at least one state—Alabama—is expected to file a significant transportation investment bill.”

Since this information was released Wisconsin’s governor has a proposed bill to increase the state’s fuel tax and consider other long-term possibilities to insure continued funding for Wisconsin’s roads. Michigan’s governor has announced plans for introducing a 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase to fund meeting its highway need.

The TIAC report points out the fact that along with fuel tax increases some states are considering tolls, vehicle mileage taxes, increased licensing fees and are open to other suggestions this due to the increased number of electric, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles on the roads. This is an issue that needs to be addressed on a federal level as well as locally.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is ensuring road-users that the monies collected for highway maintenance are spent for highway maintenance. Too often the collected revenue ends up in the general fund and never get spent on filling potholes, widening narrow roads or building new ones.

Roads are a lifeline of our country and our way of life. Since you use them and you depend on them make sure you are involved with their future…

From ARTBA: 47,000 U.S. Bridges in Poor Condition & Pace of Repair Slows to Crawl, New Analysis of Federal Data Shows

Report Comes as Congress & President Continue Debating Infrastructure

Highlights:  

  • 47,052 of America’s 616,087 bridges are “structurally deficient” and in poor condition.
  • The pace of repair slowed to its lowest point in a half-decade; bridges with structural deficiencies dropped by just 1 percent last year.
  • Brooklyn (N.Y.), Arlington Memorial (Washington, D.C.-Va.), Pensacola (Fla.), San Mateo-Hayward (Calif.) and Vicksburg (Miss.) bridges are among notables on the list.
  • Average age of a structurally deficient bridge is 62 years, compared to 40 years for non-deficient bridges.
  • 235,000 (38 percent) U.S. bridges need repair, replacement or major rehabilitation.
  • 18,842 (1 out of every 3) Interstate highway bridges have identifiable repair needs.
  • National and state data available: www.artbabridgereport.org.

The length of America’s structurally deficient bridges if placed end-to-end would span nearly 1,100 miles, the distance between Chicago and Houston, a new examination of federal government data shows.  And it’s a problem that hits close to home.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) analysis of the recently-released U.S. Department of Transportation 2018 National Bridge Inventory (NBI) database reveals 47,052 bridges are classified as structurally deficient and in poor condition.

Cars, trucks and school buses cross these compromised structures 178 million times every day, the data show. Nearly 1,775 are on the Interstate Highway System.

The most traveled structurally deficient bridges are on parts of Route 101, Interstate 405 and Interstate 5 in California, where daily crossings are as high as 289,000 per day.

Although the number of structurally deficient bridges is down slightly compared to 2017, the pace of improvement has slowed to the lowest point since ARTBA began compiling this report five years ago.

“Sadly, this report is no April Fool’s joke. At the current pace, it would take more than 80 years to replace or repair the nation’s structurally deficient bridges. That’s longer than the average life expectancy of a person living in the U.S.,” says Dr. Alison Premo Black, the ARTBA chief economist who conducted the analysis. “America’s bridge network is outdated, underfunded and in urgent need of modernization. State and local government just haven’t been given the necessary resources to get the job done.”

The report comes in the backdrop of ongoing discussions between Congress and the Trump administration about how to address the nation’s transportation infrastructure challenges.

“The best way to ‘bridge’ the infrastructure investment gap is for Congress and Trump administration to provide a permanent revenue solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund,” ARTBA President Dave Bauer says.

The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is the source, on average, of more than 50 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state transportation departments. The HTF is facing major financial difficulties. Absent congressional action, states could see a 40 percent cut in federal investment beginning in 2021.

“Since the 2016 election, leaders on both sides of the aisle have regularly cited upgrading America’s infrastructure as an area for common ground,” Bauer adds. “This report makes clear that it’s about time Congress and the Trump administration stop talking and start solving this national problem.”

Including structurally deficient bridges, there are nearly 235,000 bridges—or about 38 percent—in need of some sort of structural repair, rehabilitation or replacement, according to ARTBA’s analysis of the NBI data. The association estimates the cost to make the identified repairs is nearly $171 billion.

Black notes the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) changed the definition of “structurally deficient” in January 2018 as part of a final rule on highway and bridge performance measures required by the 2012 MAP-21 federal surface transportation law.

Two measures FHWA previously used to classify bridges as structurally deficient are no longer used.  This includes bridges where the overall structural evaluation was rated in poor or worse condition, or where the adequacy of waterway openings was insufficient. The new definition limits the classification to bridges where one of the key structural elements—the deck, superstructure, substructure or culverts—are rated in poor or worse condition.

States with the largest number of structurally deficient bridges are: Iowa (4,675 bridges); Pennsylvania (3,770); Oklahoma (2,540); Illinois (2,273); Missouri (2,116); North Carolina (1,871); California (1,812); New York (1,757); Louisiana (1,678); and Mississippi (1,603).

Those with the most structurally deficient bridges as a percent of their total bridge inventory are: Rhode Island (23 percent); West Virginia (19.8 percent); Iowa (19.3 percent); South Dakota (16.7 percent); Pennsylvania (16.5 percent); Maine (13.1 percent); Louisiana (13 percent), Puerto Rico (11.7 percent), Oklahoma (10.9 percent) and North Dakota (10.7 percent).

State—and congressional district-specific information from the analysis—including rankings and the locations of the 250 most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in the nation and top 25 most heavily traveled in each state—is available at www.artbabridgereport.org.

Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.

Hon. Nicole R. Nason confirmed as the new FHWA Administrator.

ACPA Congratulates Nicole Nason Following Confirmation as FHWA Administrator

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) extends its heartiest congratulations to the Hon. Nicole R. Nason following her confirmation as the 26thAdministrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The U.S. Senate voted 95 to 1 in favor of the confirmation.

Nicole_R._Nason

“We are very pleased to hear the results of the confirmation hearing, and we look forward to working with Ms. Nason and her staff,” said ACPA President & CEO Gerald F. Voigt, P.E. “We have enjoyed a strong and positive relationship with the FHWA over the years, and we are confident that excellent relationship will continue as the new Administrator leads the agency to seize opportunities and solve challenges now and in the future.”

Ms. Nason is the former National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (NHTSA); previously served on the Board of Directors of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and has vast experience with both the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government.
About the ACPA
The American Concrete Pavement Association is the national trade association for the concrete pavement industry.   The primary mission of the ACPA is to lead the promotion of concrete paving, and align its members, chapters/state paving association affiliates and partners for effective and valued concrete pavement promotion, advocacy and technical support on behalf of the concrete pavement industry.

Founded in 1963, the American Concrete Pavement Association is headquartered in Chicago at 9450 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 150, Rosemont, Ill. 60018. Visit ACPA on the web at www.acpa.org.