Government Affairs

ACPA, PCA Offer Policy Recommendations to T&I Leadership

The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA)  and the Portland Cement Association (PCA) penned a joint letter to the Leadership of the House Transportation Committee, reaffirming the associations’ interest in working closely with the Committee to advance legislation to make needed investments in our nation’s infrastructure.

The letter emphasized said, “An efficient and well-functioning transportation network is essential to meeting the needs of the 21st century, and for positioning the U.S. economy for robust growth.”

The letter also included specific recommendations to inform policy discussions regarding improving and restoring America’s infrastructure.  They included:  greater investment; investing wisely (with an emphasis on competition, life-cycle cost assesment and resilience); and the need for research and technology deployment.

The Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) is a provision first included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21).  This ACPA-led initiative created both a mechanism and funding for the delivery of pavement technology.  In 2015, Congress included the program in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which provides funding through 2020.

The program has resulted in funding and major initiatives being directed to the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center), an ACPA Technology Partner.  AID-PT has had direct and tangible benefits for highway agencies, contractors, consultants, and academia.  Concrete overlays and performance-engineered concrete mixtures (including the use of recycled concrete aggregates) are two technology initiatives that have received support in the form of outreach, education & training, and technology transfer.

ACPA also led advocacy efforts for a similar research provision was included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, Sec. 744, “Research and deployment of certain airfield pavement technologies.”

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It’s Official: Nason Sworn in as FHWA Administrator

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao presided over the swearing in ceremony for Nicole R. Nason as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) last Thursday.  The event officially marks the beginning of Administrator Nason’s role as only the 20th FHWA Administrator and the 26th official to lead the FHWA and its predecessor organizations, which date back to 1893.

“We welcome Nicole back to the U.S. Department of Transportation,” says Secretary Chao, adding, “Her record of experience in the transportation sector and proven leadership skills will help this Administration’s efforts to streamline the permitting process, engage with innovative technologies, and enhance mobility on our nation’s highways.”

Since June 2017, Nason has served as Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Administration at the U.S. Department of State. She previously served as Administrator of USDOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2006-2008 and was the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs from 2003–2006. The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Nason by a vote of 95-1 on March 28.

“I am honored to be selected by President Trump and privileged to join the strong team that Secretary Chao has assembled at DOT,“ Nason says. “Working with our many state and local partners, I look forward to leading the FHWA and to developing a strong, safe and modern transportation network that meets the needs of our 21st-century nation.“

Nason has also worked in the legislative branch as counsel for the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary and as press secretary for Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL-14), who was then Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Nason earned a B.A. in Political Science and Government at American University and a J.D. at Case Western Reserve University. 

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Photo:  Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao swears in Nicole R. Nason as FHWA Administrator as her husband David and children Abby, Alex and Brady look on. (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Transportation)

ACPA Encourages Members to Participate in TCC Fly-In

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Annual Fly-In will be held in conjunction with the ARTBA Federal Issues Program from Monday, May 13, through Wednesday, May 15, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  The hotel is located at 1000 H Street Northwest, Washington, DC.

ACPA Chairman Jim Mack of CEMEX, and Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President, are planning to attend the fly-in ahead of next week’s ACPA Chapter meeting.

For those interested in participating, please click here to reserve hotel rooms and register for the event.  Click here for additional  details, including the program schedule.  For any questions regarding the conference please contact Ed Tarrant at etarrant@artba.org.

In related news, the TCC has unveiled a new website, which includes information about its mission, history, current advocacy initiatives, and more.  Click here to see the website. ACPA is a long-standing member of TCC, which includes 31 members.  

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TCC Advances Discussion on Proposal to Renew Interstate Highways

The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) has formally encouraged Congressional Leaders to support a report and underlying plan called, Renewing Our Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future, which was first reported by ACPA in January.  ACPA’s Board of Directors also formally endorsed the report in March.

TCC wrote and sent letters to U.S. House and Senate Leaders, urging the lawmakers to “build on the recommendations made in this report by passing legislation that makes a meaningful investment in the nation’s transportation system.” TCC also urged the Leaders to advance an infrastructure investment bill which will “address the shortfalls in investment in our transportation system highlighted in the report.” 

Click here to see the letters to the House and Senate minority and majority leaders. Click here to see the original report by ACPA, along with links to the recommendations made in the report, the presentation made at the TRB Chairman’s Luncheon in January, and a video presentation. 
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HTF Solvency Figure Higher Than Expected

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week released their updated baseline budget projections for the ongoing fiscal year 2019, as well as the 10-year period of fiscal years 2020 through 2029. 

The new baseline estimates include the cost of keeping the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solvent at baseline spending levels, according to a report by Jeff Davis, Eno Center for Transportation Senior Fellow and Editor of the Eno Transportation Weekly. 

The FY 2019 enacted levels, plus annual inflation increases of around 2 percent per year, has risen to about $176 billion, which is about $12 billion higher than the $164 billion that CBO projected in its January 2019 preliminary baseline.

The new baseline projects the highway account of the HTF will require $124 billion in additional revenues or bailout transfers (or spending cuts) to get to a zero balance at the end of the current fiscal year. A “cash cushion” also would have to be added to reflect the fact that year-end totals actually include a large mid-October retroactive transfer of excise taxes from the Treasury, Davis writes.  As such, ending September with a zero balance really means cash was actually depleted on a day-to-day basis sometime in the middle of that month.  This calls for a $4 billion cash cushion for the Highway Account and a $1 billion cushion. Click here to read the full report.

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