Tag Archive for 'safety'



Albuquerque, New Mexico– Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost New Mexico drivers a total of $2.7 billion annually – as much as $2,058 per driver in some areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Adequate investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels is needed to relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge, and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in New Mexico, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit.

The TRIP report, New Mexico Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,”  finds that more than half of the state’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and six percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. The report also finds that New Mexico’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce. The report also includes a list of approximately $3 billion in needed but unfunded transportation projects across the state.

Driving on deficient New Mexico roads costs drivers a total of $2.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The chart below details costs to the average motorist of driving on deficient roads in New Mexico’s three largest urban areas and statewide.

The TRIP report finds that 31 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in New Mexico are in poor condition and another 25 percent are rated in mediocre condition, costing the state’s drivers an additional $1.2 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Our state is at a critical point to increase funding for road and highway improvements to keep people and products moving safely in New Mexico,” said New Mexico State Representative Patricia Lundstrom, chairman of the House Appropriations & Finance Committee. “I believe that strategic transportation investments are one of the best approaches to stimulate our economy and provide a competitive advantage for our state.”

Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost New Mexico drivers $784 million each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $1,069 and more than one full working week each year in congestion.  From 2013 to 2017, vehicle miles of travel in New Mexico increased 18 percent, the fastest rate of growth in the nation during that period.

“New Mexico needs a safe and reliable roads system throughout our state,” said New Mexico State Senator Clemente Sanchez, chairman of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.  “Our rural ranchers, farmers, and small businesses depend on well-maintained roadways for their livelihoods. So many of our children ride school buses every day and deserve safe roads.”

Statewide, six percent of bridges – a total of 251 bridges – are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports, or other major components. Nearly half – 48 percent – of New Mexico’s bridges are at least 50 years old.

“New Mexico is in the enviable position of having huge budget surpluses for FY 19 and FY 20. The extra revenues will exceed $1 billion dollars for each of these years,” said New Mexico State Representative Cathrynn Brown. “The increases are due primarily to the hard work and productivity of the New Mexico oil and gas industry. As a point of reference, the state’s overall budget for FY 20 will be just north of $7 billion dollars. The New Mexico Legislature and the Governor would be wise to invest a substantial portion of the budget surplus in public infrastructure, especially roads, highways, and bridges. In terms of infrastructure, we have a lot of catching up to do.”

From 2013 to 2017, 1,772 people were killed in traffic crashes in New Mexico. Traffic crashes imposed a total of $2.2 billion in economic costs in New Mexico in 2017 and traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $726 million in economic costs each year. New Mexico’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is higher than the national average of 1.16.

The efficiency and condition of New Mexico’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $124 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New Mexico, mostly by trucks, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. Nearly 350,000 full-time jobs in New Mexico in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.

“Driving on deficient roads comes with a $2.7 billion price tag for New Mexico motorists,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving New Mexico’s drivers time and money.”

New Mexico Transportation

by the Numbers






Driving on New Mexico roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs New Mexico drivers a total of $2.7 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.



Due to inadequate state and local funding, 56 percent of major roads and highways in New Mexico are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average New Mexico driver $769 annually in additional vehicle operating costs – a total of $1.2 billion statewide.


Six percent of New Mexico’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Most bridges are designed to last 50 years before major overhaul or replacement, although many newer bridges are being designed to last 75 years or longer. In New Mexico, 48 percent of the state’s bridges were built in 1969 or earlier.


Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost New Mexico drivers $784 million each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $1,069 and more than one full working week each year in congestion.  From 2013 to 2017, vehicle miles of travel in New Mexico increased 18 percent, the fastest rate of growth in the nation during that period.


From 2013 to 2017, 1,772 people were killed in traffic crashes in New Mexico. Traffic crashes imposed a total of $2.2 billion in economic costs in New Mexico in 2017 and traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $726 million in economic costs each year.



The New Mexico Department of Transportation has identified approximately $3 billion in needed but unfunded transportation projects throughout the state.




Each year, $123.5 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New Mexico, mostly by truck. The value of freight shipped to and from sites in New Mexico, in inflation-adjusted dollars, is expected to increase 110 percent by 2045.

The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in New Mexico support 26,300 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $802.3 million annually. Nearly 350,000 full-time jobs in New Mexico in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture, and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.

Full Report available at:tripnet.org

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Who knew, right-?  But today is not just Presidents’ Day, it’s also National Battery Day!  And to celebrate (Battery Day, that is) the US DOE announced the opening of a Battery Recycling Center at Argonne National Laboratory.  The new Center will work to reclaim and recycle critical materials (e.g., cobalt and lithium) from lithium-based battery technology.  It will focus on cost-effective recycling processes to recover as much economic value as possible from spent lithium-ion batteries.  In addition, DOE established the “Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize” to encourage American entrepreneurs to “find innovative solutions to collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling.”  DOE’s cash prizes will total $5.5 million, awarded in three progressive phases designed to accelerate the development of solutions from concept to prototype.  The goal is to develop technologies to profitably capture 90% of all lithium-based battery technologies in the United States and recover 90% of the key materials from the collected batteries. Currently, lithium-ion batteries are collected and recycled at a rate of less than 5%.
*  News-speak from the boss, i.e. CT’s new Governor, Ned Lamont, who has an op-ed in CT papers called “A path forward on tolling.”  Maybe it should be titled “A path forward on trolling, about tolling” since it’s really a heads-up to legislators and citizens that the Guv is getting ready to ask for more money for transportation, most of which, likely, will go for highways.  Lamont writes that CT has it all (at least “on paper,” his words) but that economic development peeps ask: “What about the congestion on your highways?”  Lamont writes that gas tax revenues are flat and unreliable and likely to decline as electric cars increase.  The governor is turning away from bonds.  So watch for tolls – first on trucks, if that single focus is legal, then to benefit specific infrastructure, e.g., bridges, or one bridge.  He’s developed a number of options and tells peeps to be ready for this debate when his budget is introduced on Wednesday.

*  If you’re feeling bad that about 18 billion pounds of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans each year (who doesn’t feel bad about that?), here’s a chance to help. A company called Envision Plastics collects and recycles this waste.  Ocean plastic waste can be recycled just as land-based plastic can be recycled.  If you want to make a statement (and a good one) consider this new upcoming product: business cards made from the recovered plastic.  (China, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka are the five largest plastic polluters, according to Envision Plastics.)  Now the company is teaming up with the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) to promote this business-based recycling effort.  To place an order for these multi-message business cards, contact Envision Plastics (advise if you need that link.)

Tom Ewing

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513-379-5526 voice/text

FY 2019 Spending Bills Are Finally Law

By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

The House and Senate Feb. 14 overwhelmingly approved the final seven FY 2019 spending bills after nearly five months of short-term extensions and the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.  President Donald Trump Feb. 15 signed the legislation despite the lack of southern border wall funding included in the Homeland Security portion of the package.

The law includes full FAST Act surface transportation law funding for core highway and transit programs. It also contains $5.5 billion in additional general revenue funding for surface and aviation capital investments as the second part of a two-year bipartisan budget agreement reached in 2018. Here’s the breakdown:

In a Feb. 14 letter, the ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) urged all members of the House and Senate to support the package.

The completion of the FY 2019 funding bills is important to the transportation construction industry for multiple reasons:

  • States will receive their full-year spending authority, which should ease uncertainty and allow their transportation departments to continue developing planned projects;
  • Congressional leadership and Trump administration officials can focus on other areas of potential agreement, such as the enactment of a robust infrastructure package in 2019; and
  • the Trump administration can send its FY 2020 budget to Congress, allowing senators and representatives to begin working on the next round spending bills.

ARTBA will continue to encourage Congress and the administration to include a solution to the Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall in any infrastructure legislation put forward this year.

AEM: What the State of the Union Needs to Address Bipartisan solutions needed to get policies passed, support 1.3 million U.S. jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement today on what the equipment manufacturing industry needs to hear from

Dennis Slater, AEM President

President Trump during tonight’s State of the Union Address and from Democrats in their response:

“Equipment manufacturers want President Trump and the Democrats to work together this year to pass legislation to support 1.3 million equipment manufacturing jobs and keep our nation strong,” said Dennis Slater, president AEM. “Without everyone working together, the American worker and U.S. consumers will bear the brunt of continued D.C. gridlock. We urge both Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on solutions that will rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, create greater access to free trade, bolster the U.S. agriculture economy, and secure comprehensive tax reform that levels the playing field for our industry in a globally competitive business environment.”
In addition to 1.3 million good-paying jobs supported by equipment manufacturers in all 50 states, the industry also contributes $158 billion year to the U.S. economy.
In 2019, AEM has four main policy priorities:
Infrastructure is the backbone of America’s economy. To have the strongest, most resilient economy in the world, America must have the best infrastructure in the world. That is why AEM is urging policymakers to pass comprehensive legislation to rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, grow our economy, and help reclaim our infrastructure advantage. AEM believes that the federal government must continue to maintain a strong role in funding U.S. infrastructure construction, maintenance, and modernization. This includes providing a long-term and sustainable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund, connecting urban and rural America, ensuring that projects are delivered in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner, providing job training programs for the workforce, and maximizing the use of smart technology.
On January 25, AEM began a two-week public affairs campaign titled “Start with Infrastructure.” The campaign’s goal is to demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of infrastructure investment to the nation’s economy and keep infrastructure at the top of policymakers’ lists to take action on in 2019. The campaign features digital and social advertisements in the Washington, D.C. media market. AEM is also hosting a town hall discussion on the “Prospects for Infrastructure in the 116th Congress” with members of Congress and business leaders at the Newseum this Friday, February 8. A live stream of the event will be available at www.twitter.com/imakeamerica.
With about 30 percent of equipment made in the United States destined for export, it’s important that the Trump administration and Congress support pro-growth trade policies that keep U.S. equipment manufacturing competitive in an increasingly competitive global market. Tariffs artificially raise the cost of domestic production, eliminate export markets for U.S. equipment manufacturers, and risk wiping out many of the benefits of tax reform. While other countries’ unfair trade practices must be addressed, taxing American consumers and businesses will not solve the underlying problems.
In addition, the retaliatory tariffs put into place by China significantly hurts U.S. farmers and the broader agriculture economy, further threatening to reduce the domestic sales of agriculture equipment. In 2019, AEM will continue to urge the Trump administration and Congress to promote free and fair trade through the successful ratification of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), and launch negotiations with other trade partners to create improved market access for U.S. manufactured goods and services, and find a long-term solution to the ongoing trade dispute with China.
AEM members have regularly spoken out against the tariffs and AEM joined the free trade coalition “Americans for Free Trade” as an executive member last year along with more than 80 of the nation’s leading trade associations and businesses.
A strong farm economy not only assists farmers and ranchers but also helps protect the 320,000 agriculture equipment manufacturing jobs across the United States. That is why AEM wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the 2018 Farm Bill quickly. It’s also why AEM wants the Trump administration and Congress to expand rural broadband coverage and expects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) law as written and allowing year-round sales of E15.
In 2019, AEM will also work with the EPA to expand its understanding of the full range of Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) and improving the DRT program so it achieves its intended purpose.
Tax policy
AEM led the equipment manufacturing industry’s efforts to reform our outdated tax code and secured many of the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Trump signed into law in 2017. While the final bill was not perfect, it represented the kind of comprehensive and permanent tax reform that will tilt the playing field back in favor of equipment manufacturers in the United States.
AEM supports all efforts to make the new tax code even stronger for equipment manufacturers, including making permanent full expensing for short-life investments, the deduction for qualified business income, and 100 percent bonus depreciation, as well as making the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) a true alternative minimum tax.
For more information about AEM’s top advocacy positions, please visit www.aem.org/advocacy.
AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry supports 1.3 million jobs in the U.S., and 149,000 more in Canada. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $188 billion combined to the U.S. and Canadian economies. AEM is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019.

Utah Landfill Shuffles, Gains Space

GPS rover and level/slope measuring system help relocate garbage to gain 2.3 million yards of landfill space

By Jeff Winke

Ask the average person on the street where garbage goes after the garbage truck picks it up and takes it away, and most will likely say, “the dump.” At one time, most communities had a town dump located near the edge of town or just outside. That was where town-folk could toss out anything.

One can imagine Andy and Opie hauling an old chair that Aunt Bee wanted out of the house to the Mayberry town dump. Fortunately, in 1976, eight years after the last episode of The Andy Griffith Show aired, the United States government passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. This law put new rules into effect to protect water supplies and control how trash was thrown away. As a result, many dumps were closed or changed to follow the new rules.

There never was an episode showing toxic waste absentmindedly tossed into the Mayberry dump seeping into the ground and causing problems to underground water, streams, rivers, and the local “fishin’ hole.”

Today dumps are illegal, and trash is taken to a landfill. Modern-day landfills are sophisticated operations and are designed to receive garbage and keep the environment safe. A landfill has a liner system at the bottom to catch toxic waste that could pollute groundwater Trash is piled and smashed down to “fill” the landfill space.

Well before the federal law was passed, three forward-thinking cities near Salt Lake City, Utah came together in 1959 and decided to convert a popular dumping spot into a landfill. Slowly other local cities bought

into the project. Currently, the Trans-Jordan Cities Landfill is now owned and governed by seven cities with several other non-owning cities also bringing their Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to the site. The once Mayberry-style community dump is now a technologically advanced, sophisticated landfill serving approximately 500,000 residents, as well as accommodating the commercial waste from the same south half of Salt Lake Valley region.

The Class 1, Subtitle D landfill is managed by Trans-Jordan, South Jordan, Utah. At the site, Trans-Jordan digs down a hundred feet from ground level and fills it up to a point higher than original ground level.

“Our company started with seven full-time employees and has grown to a staff of 39, plus five temps,” stated Jason Turville, operations supervisor at Trans-Jordan Cities Landfill.  “We take in 365,000 tons of MSW a year at the Trans-Jordan Cities Landfill with steady growth as the communities continue to build out and the demand increases.”

Since its start, the company has made conscious, concerted efforts to be a positive corporate neighbor. They offer an active Green Waste program where they accept, grind and mulch trees, brush and associated organic materials, which are converted into compost and chips that is sold to the public at a reasonable price. The compost is a high-quality product that meets the USCC (US Composting Council) certification for compost.

There is also a public convenience center (PCC) for residents to drop their trash on a hard, concrete surface with recycling of many materials including metal, carpet pad, Freon containing appliances, electronics, and second-hand store donations. Another service offered is a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection and processing facility–free to residents and fee-based for small businesses.

The Trans-Jordan Cities Landfill currently accepts 365,000 tons a year of MSW from the 7 member cities which are West Jordan, Sandy, Draper, Riverton, South Jordan City, Murray and Midvale, as well as local commercial contributions.

“The best way to describe our company is ‘we manage airspace,'” Turville said. “Our job is put as much MSW into as little airspace as possible to maximize the life of the landfill space we have available.”

That goal of maximizing space was behind a recent Trans-Jordan project. The landfill has six cells. The company determined that they could gain significant space by relocating 500,000 cubic yards of MSW from a corner of an old cell to the new active cell. The move would literally gain 2.3 million yards of future landfilling space.

“Our current lowest elevation for our operation in Cell 6a has us at an elevation 50 feet lower than the bottom of the old trash placed in the corner,” Turville said. ‘Therefore, by moving it into the active area of the landfill, we gain the 50 feet of depth directly underneath and also from where the natural earthen slope will be removed to maximize the depth and space of the area.”

For the Old Cell 6 Trash Relocation Project, Trans-Jordan used a Cat 349F excavator and two Cat 740B haul trucks. Digging a new cell with an excavator is common practice, but digging trash out of an existing cell is not. The trash had been sitting there for 20-plus years and was very compacted. Trans-Jordan claimed that it actually was harder to pull out than dirt.

Trans-Jordan does not employ GPS machine control on any of its machines; however, they do use a handheld Trimble TSC3 GPS controller for establishing design grades and top of waste (TOW) grades. The Trimble rover is used for site measurement, stakeout, and grade checking operations. The controller, which is paired up with a Trimble R10 LT Receiver uses Utah’s VRS wireless network. In conjunction, all machines use JohnnyBall 3D onboard measuring systems, which is designed to provide operators with real-time level and slope.

“We manually put out stakes to follow, then use JohnnyBall as a tool to accurately maintain a level working area and establish a 4:1 working face on a daily basis,” Turville said. “Our MSW side slopes are 3:1 and with us having many new operators it is a great tool to teach them and show them the exact slope required for the operation.”

Base cups for JohnnyBall have been mounted in seven Trans-Jordan machines–dozers, compactors, an excavator, and a motorgrader–which enables the four JohnnyBalls they currently own to be moved seamlessly from machine to machine as needed.

“The GPS rover gives us the ability to take the site design created in our office and implement it in the field,” Turville said. “JohnnyBall helps our operators to efficiently and accurately build slopes where staking is not reasonable or appropriate–and it keeps the machine operator accountable to me and the other managers. The GPS rover used with JohnnyBall is a powerful combination that has become essential to our success.”

The Old Cell 6 Trash Relocation Project was completed in two phases. The company cut half of the old MSW and relocated it from August 2014 through Sept 2015. Phase 2–the other half–started up in May 2017 and finished October 2018.

The project occurred while continuing to take in 365,000 tons a year of MSW from the seven member cities and commercial traffic. The MSW that was moved was added into the daily processing amount.

For processing the trash daily, Trans-Jordan employs two Cat 836K landfill compactors equipped with JohnnyBall 3D onboard measuring systems to maintain a level top, 3:1 side slope, and a 4:1 working face. The company operates a Cat D5 dozer equipped with a JohnnyBall for dressing-up side slopes and working on finish slopes for liner placement.

“JohnnyBall has become a necessary tool to ensure we maintain 3:1, 2.5:1, and 2:1 slopes in the various locations,” stated Turville. “It is simple, easy to use, and provides real time feedback to the operator, which means a lot to us especially since two-thirds of the crew are green and learning how to achieve the grades we need, while working on their own.”

With the Old Cell 6 Trash Relocation Project completed, Turville reflected: “For years we will be talking and reminiscing about moving ‘old Cell 6,’ how this project helped extend the life of the landfill, and how interesting it was to ‘mine’ old trash and see what did and did not decompose over the 20 years it was sitting. A worthwhile and interesting project, for sure.”