Association News

ACPA’s Strategic Message Resonates with Members, Allies

It is no secret that the highway construction market continues to face significant pressure because of the erosion of buying power and a loss of confidence in Congress and the Administration (attributable to more than five years of federal-aid funding delays and extensions). 

ACPA's Jerry Voigt present keynote remarks.

ACPA’s Jerry Voigt present keynote remarks.

Regardless of whether the outlook changes in the short-term, ACPA is urging agencies/owners to extend their purchasing power by instilling competition.  

“This is not about concrete being better than asphalt, it is about stewardship and better decision-making,” said ACPA President/CEO Gerald F. Voigt, P.E.   He emphasized that because different blocking points exist in different states, different strategies must be used.   “Because of this, concrete pavement advocates and promoters need to be insightful and adaptable to discern the best strategies and messaging to use in their areas.

“The industry must look in the mirror and address product improvement, cost reduction, and new technologies such as performance-engineered mixtures, recycling concrete more proactively, and advancing concrete overlays” Voigt said, adding, “We also need to look outward at highway agency policies and focus on improving pavement-type selection policies and processes, as well as the decisions themselves.”

Voigt says different strategies are needed to accomplish this, and adds that one of the most effective has been the implementation of current technologies, including concrete pavement overlays.   Working together with PCA and the CP Tech Center, ACPA is pursuing a plan to further increase the use of concrete overlays.  The CP Tech Center reports that concrete overlays have been successfully constructed in 45 different states, and ACPA’s annual square yard market analysis shows over the past few years concrete overlays are 10-15% of the overall market for concrete pavement in the U.S.  The Association estimates with a concerted effort to advance overlays even further, the square yard market for concrete paving could double, dramatically increasing paving opportunities for ACPA members. 

He added ACPA will continue to build awareness, lead outreach efforts, and foster the necessary training and tech transfer by the industry and CP Tech Center needed to support the use of overlays, as well as other concrete pavement technologies.

Voigt delivered the ACPA vision recently at three different events, including a meeting of national and regional teams at ACPA member CEMEX’ headquarters in Houston; a meeting of international sales and marketing personnel for ACPA member Holcim; and in keynote remarks at the 12th International Symposium on Concrete Roads, held in Prague last week.  

ACPA's Leif Wathne was awarded the best promotional paper.

ACPA’s Leif Wathne was awarded the best promotional paper.

The symposium was supported by ACPA members CEMEX and Wirtgen, and co-sponsored by the European Concrete Paving Association EUPAVE and the World Road Association and local companies.  ACPA members, GOMACO, Guntert & Zimmerman, and Lafarge also participated.

In related news, Leif Wathne, P.E., ACPA’s Vice President of Highways and Federal Affairs, delivered a strong paper and presentation on the benefits of competition in the pavement selection process, at the symposium last week.   The paper earned the distinction of being awarded the best promotional paper at the international conference.  Click here to download a PDF of the paper.

For additional information about the benefits of competition, please read ACPA’s latest updated Q&D publication, “Two Pavement System” (QD033), which describes how competition between industries can lower unit costs, allowing highway agencies to do more with their budgets.

TCC Urges Congress to Enact Surface Transportation Bill Quickly

The 31-member organization Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), of which ACPA is a member, is urging Congress to find a way to pay for and pass, a new long-term surface transportation measure as soon as possible.

On the cusp of the new fiscal year, which begins tomorrow, TCC officials cautioned failure to act will lead to another self-imposed funding crisis that will undermine vital road, highway and transit repairs.

Coalition officials noted that in July, despite overall partisan gridlock, Congress overwhelmingly extended authorization for the surface transportation program and enacted a temporary funding patch for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The patch ensures federal highway, bridge, and transit investments will continue through next May.  Still, it was the fifth time in the past seven years Congress took that approach, requiring nearly $65 billion in supplemental funding to avoid significant cuts to transportation investments.

On average, the HTF provides 52 percent of the funding for highway and bridge capital investments made by the nation’s state transportation departments each year, they added.

“Congress needs to ‘keep the horse before the cart’ and address the trust fund’s long-term revenue problem as was done in the 1997 and 2004 tax bills. Then it can develop and properly fund a six-year program bill early in 2015,” TCC Co-chair Pete Ruane, president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, says. “And ‘status-quo’ funding levels would simply perpetuate worsening traffic congestion and the inadequate physical condition of the nation’s highway and transit network.”

The latest Congressional Budget Office projections indicate Congress will need to identify an additional $7 billion just to preserve highway and transit funding for the last four months of fiscal year 2015. Federal data also show maintaining current program funding beyond 2015 will require an average of $16 billion in additional revenues each year. That is the revenue equivalent of a 10-cent increase in the federal gas tax, coalition officials note.

Briefing Presents Ways to Maximize Transportation Project Funding

ACPA attended a formal briefing today on Capitol Hill to hear a report on ways agencies/owners can maximize transportation project funding.

The briefing was based on a report prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Eno Center for Transportation (Eno).  Panelists included the Hon. Gregory G. Nadeau, Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration; Christopher Stone, PE, F.NSPE, F.ASCE LEED AP, President, Clark Nexsen; Beth Osborne, Vice President, Transportation for America; and serving as moderator, Joshua Schank, President & CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation.  

One of the key findings of the report is that despite the majority of industry practitioners’ agreement that the full cost of a project—including long-term operation and maintenance—should be considered in decision-making, only 48 percent said their agencies could effectively predict future costs.  

According to the report’s survey of industry decision-makers, operation and maintenance costs are pressing concerns. Life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) considers the costs associated with a project and can help inform which projects are selected, to ensure the best use of funding.

 

 Seated (L-R) are Christopher Stone, Beth Osborne, the Hon. Gregory G. Nadeau, and Joshua Schank,.

Seated (L-R) are Christopher Stone, Beth Osborne, the Hon. Gregory G. Nadeau, and Joshua Schank,.

“Maximizing the Value of Investment Using Life Cycle Cost Analysis” finds that although current funding federal and state funding for transportation projects is stagnant, most transportation funding is currently invested without considering long-term operating costs. To improve decision making, the report gives nine policy recommendations on how to implement Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), a process which ensures that total costs related to an asset, including the cost to operate the infrastructure in the future, are accounted for completely. 

“We appreciate the work ASCE and Eno have done through this report.  In broad strokes, this report reinforces our industry’s posture on LCCA as a means to make better informed decisions about our pavement investment choices,” Wathne said, adding, “Ultimately, the most important consideration is ensuring American taxpayers and road users are getting full value for their investment of highway dollars.”  

To view the full report, follow this link: https://enotrans.r.worldssl.net/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/LCCA.pdf/.

ACPA Announces Excellence in Concrete Pavement Awards

25th-Awards-CompositeACPA announced today that the judging has concluded for the 2014 awards and winning projects have been determined.  Click here to view the Gold and Silver winners of ACPA’s 25th Annual Excellence in Concrete Pavement Awards.

In response to requests from ACPA members, the level of award (gold or silver) is being kept under wraps until the actual awards presentation, all with the aim of building even more excitement and suspense than usual.

ACPA congratulates the award recipients and thanks everyone who participated in the program this year, either as a submitter or judge.

About the Paving Awards Program
Each year for the past quarter century, the ACPA “Excellence in Concrete Pavement” awards have honored quality concrete pavements constructed in the United States and Canada.  The awards program encourages high-quality workmanship in every concrete pavement project and serves as a forum for sharing information about highly successful projects.  The awards program recognizes contractors, engineers, and project owners who have completed outstanding projects. 

The national awards recognize the contractors, engineers, and owners whose efforts yield the best pavements in airports, highways, and street and road applications, as determined by an independent panel of judges. Special thanks go to representatives from a number of companies and organizations for their generous support and assistance as judges of awards this year.

For questions or additional information, please email Andy Gieraltowski at andyg@acpa.org.

National Concrete Consortium Continues to Grow

ACPA was on hand at the recent National Concrete Consortium (NC2) meeting in Omaha, Neb., where much of the discussion among owners/agencies, industry, and academia centered on the results of a survey to assess the current practices for aggregate quality and acceptance methods.

ACPA’s Leif Wathne, P.E., participated in the meeting and commended the group for its great work.  There are now a total of 29 states–as well as the Illinois Tollway and FHWA participating in the pooled fund.  The group’s continued growth is a testament to the quality of the information exchanged among participating agencies, academia, and industry.  

Photo shows the entrance to the Martin Marietta limestone mine in Weeping Water, Neb.

Photo shows the entrance to the Martin Marietta limestone mine in Weeping Water, Neb.

Presentations were delivered by experts from agencies, universities, and industry on a variety of technical topics.  A complete meeting agenda as well as all presentations can be accessed on the NCC website.

A technical tour was also included as part of the meeting. Participants visited an Martin Marietta’s underground limestone aggregate mine  near Weeping Water, Neb., just south of Omaha. 

ACPA hopes to use this excellent technical exchanges as a means to update the ACPA Agency Practices Explorer  on an ongoing basis.  This will be accomplished by sending a brief survey on a particular topic to pooled fund participants before each meeting.   ACPA’s online Agency Explorer tool agencies and industry alike.

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