Government Affairs

FHWA Appoints Senior Officials

The Hon. Brandye Hendrickson was appointed as FHWA Deputy Administrator. (Photo courtesy of the FHWA.)

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced it has appointed two senior officials.  The Honorable Brandye Hendrickson was appointed as Deputy Administrator and the Honorable Mala Krishnamoorti Parker was appointed Associate Administrator for Policy, according to FHWA Executive Director, Walter C (Butch) Waidelich Jr.

Deputy Administrator Parker leads the daily operations of 2,900-person federal agency, which spans six time zones. She oversees the agency’s $44 billion annual budget, directs execution of the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” (FAST Act), and co-chairs the U.S.-Canada Transportation Border Working Group and U.S.-Mexico Joint Working Committee, according to the FHWA.

Hendrickson has a background in transportation, including two years serving as the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation, where she oversaw all aspects of its operations.  This included  3,400 employees, a $400 million annual operating budget, and a billion-dollar annual construction budget. She has nearly 20 years of business experience, according to the FHWA.

She previously served as Deputy Commissioner of Indiana’s Greenfield District (the Hoosier State’s largest transportation district) from 2007-2015.   In this role, she managed an annual construction budget of approximately $250 million and an annual operating budget of $48 million. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Indiana University and is a professional in Human Resources, the FHWA reported.

In other personnel news, Mala Krishnamoorti Parker was appointed FHWA’s new Associate Administrator for Policy.  She previously served with the American Trucking Associations, where she served as their Vice President for Coalitions.  She also served with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao at the U.S. Department of Labor from 2002 to 2009.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Puget Sound, Waidelich said in a recent announcement.

 

ACPA Hosts Record-Breaking Airport Workshop

Capt. Ryan Hill, Air Force Institute of Technology, discusses the importance of airport pavement inspection.

ACPA’s recent airport pavement design & construction workshop set a record for attendance with as many as 70 participants during the three day event.

A total of  70 people participated in ACPA’s Airport Pavement Design & Construction Workshop, held in Omaha from July 25 through 27.  More than 15 professionals–including contractors, owners’ representatives, military engineers, and other areas subject matter experts–presented technical information and perspectives about a wide range of airport pavement design and construction topics. 

The workshop also included open discussions about interpreting and applying the Federal Aviation Administration’s P–501 and Unified Facilities Guide Specification (UFGS) 32 13 11 specifications for airport concrete pavements.  The group discussion helped participants gain better insights and understanding about the specifications.

Previous workshops in Detroit and Houston have been well-received, but the workshop in Omaha has been the best attended of all recent airport pavement workshops.  On a 10-point scale, almost all participants rated the workshop a 9 or 10.  Several participants also commented on the excellent group participation and facilitation of group discussions.  Several participants also proposed a workshop longer than the 3-day, 20 hour event!

 

NACA Partners Participate in Senate Briefing

In early May, the North American Concrete Alliance (NACA)* presented a formal briefing in the Senate EPW Hearing Room on the “State of the Industry and Infrastructure: Priorities for the 115th Congress.”

The purpose of the event was to apprise Senators and staffers of the critical needs of the nation’s infrastructure, an important step in laying the groundwork for the President’s $1 Trillion infrastructure investment plan. In addition to participating in the briefing itself, ACPA helped craft the agenda, provided a briefing document, and partook in a social media campaign aimed at reinforcing key messages developed by NACA partners.

After the event, ACPA Executive Vice President Leif Wathne, was quoted, by Bloomberg/BNA’s “Beyond the Hill Blog.” One of the key points of the Senate briefing and the article was the need to find a sustainable funding source for the Highway Trust Fund, which relies on a federal fuel tax among other excise taxes.

The tax has not been raised since 1993, though President Donald Trump this May suggested he was open to the idea. “No one wants to raise taxes,” Wathne said. “(but) It is intellectually dishonest to suggest that it’s not going to cost money.”

Click here to read the complete article.

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* NACA is comprised of the American Concrete Pavement Association, American Concrete Pipe Association, American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association, American Concrete Pumping Association, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, National Concrete Masonry Association, National Precast Concrete Association, National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association, Portland Cement Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, and Tilt-Up Concrete Association.

ACPA Leaders Attend Transportation Roundtable with President, DOT Officials

When the invitation came to participate in the “Roads, Rails, and Regulatory Relief Roundtable,” ACPA President & CEO responded with a decisive yes.

Hosted at the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C., the event featured formal remarks by President Donald J. Trump, along with a listening session with DOT Secretary Eileen Chao and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

On Friday, June 9, Voigt, ACPA Chairperson Lori Tiefenthaler (Lehigh Hanson); ACPA Vice Chair Chuck Niederriter (Golden Triangle Construction); and Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President, converged in the nation’s capital to participate in the invitation-only event.  The event took place just a few days ahead of ACPA’s Mid-Year Meeting in Pittsburgh.

Along with a select group of representatives from various infrastructure interest groups, Tiefenthaler, Niederriter, Voigt, and Wathne participated in the event on behalf of the concrete pavement industry and with the interests of all ACPA members in mind.

Together, they had the rare opportunity to witness senior DOT officials and the President outline plans for infrastructure investment and construction.  In his remarks before the group, President Trump pledged to lift restrictions delaying infrastructure construction projects and burdening states and local communities.

Gleaming New Lanes of Commerce
“We are setting up a new council to help project managers navigate the bureaucratic maze,” he said.  He also said the Administration is setting up an office in the “Council of Environmental Quality to root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal, and state [and] local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in the way.”

“We will pour new concrete, lay new brick, and watch new sparks from factories…” the President said, alluding to restarting forgotten factories in the nation’s Rust Belt and Heartland.

The President reaffirmed his vision, adding, “American infrastructure will generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, which we desperately need.  “America’s workers will construct gleaming new lanes of commerce across our landscape,” he said.

Earlier in the week, President Trump and Secretary Chao hosted a conference of Governors and other officials, also to discuss infrastructure needs in the United States.

Reaction to the President’s comments was positive and well received by ACPA’s leadership.   In fact, the President’s remarks have inspired the theme for the 2017 Annual Meeting, which will focus on the optimism and positive signs of growth in the industry.

Elwell Named FAA Deputy Administrator

FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell. (Photo courtesy of Stangarone & Associates.)

Dan Elwell has been appointed as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator, according to an FAA press release.  Appointed by President Donald J. Trump, Elwell is the second highest-ranking official at the agency responsible for ensuring aviation safety and air traffic control services for the nation. 

Elwell returns to the FAA during what the agency calls an “historic period of safety and change as air traffic control reform is being considered to speed airspace modernization and new entrants like unmanned aerial vehicles and commercial spacecraft are integrated into the airspace system.” 

“Dan’s insight and experience will serve the FAA and public well,” said FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta.  “He has a strong background as a military and civilian pilot, as well as holding key leadership positions within the aerospace industry.”

Elwell previously served as FAA Assistant Administrator for Policy, Planning and Environment from 2006 to 2008.  Most recently, he has been serving as the Senior Advisor on Aviation to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. 

Before returning to public service, Elwell was President and Managing Partner of Elwell and Associates, an aviation consulting firm.  Elwell also was Senior Vice President for Safety, Security and Operations at Airlines For America and Vice President at the Aerospace Industries Association.  Elwell graduated from the United States Air Force Academy.

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