Government Affairs

Sen. Charles Grassley Visits GOMACO

Sen. Charles Grassley visited GOMACO Corp. during his rounds through Iowa during the August recess.

Grant Godbersen, GOMACO Vice President of Manufacturing, and Dan Soellner, General Manager of Manufacturing, provided a tour of the company, which provided the Senator with a view of the company’s manufacturing operations.

Now in his seventh term in the Senate, Senator Grassley serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a leading member of the Senate Budget Committee. He also serves as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

During the visit and a Q&A session, GOMACO officials had the opportunity to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the industry, including the highway bill, stimulus for state DOTs, and solutions to the Highway Trust Fund issue, according to Bob Leonard, GOMACO Sales Manager. Leif Wathne provided background information ahead of the visit.

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MCTC Offers Technician Training for Industry

The FHWA’s Mobile Concrete Technology Center announces virtual technician training, which is now also offered to contractors, cement companies, consultants, and others involved in concrete pavement construction and rehab projects.

    The free training will be very informal to facilitate interaction between the attendees and the instructors. This practical training is designed for technicians and engineers to increase proficiency in several new materials and construction testing equipment/test methods, including “tips and tricks” the MCTC staff have learned in the field.

Attendees will be encouraged to perform tests along with the instructors during the training. Due to the format of the training, the MCTC says 5 or 6 attendees is ideal for each session; however, group sizes of 10 attendees can be accommodated. Sessions will be administered using Microsoft Teams. Click here to download a flyer with more details.

The following tests/technologies are covered:

–  Box Test / V-Kelly Test (single session) –  Aggregate Gradation Software
–  Surface / Bulk Resistivity Meter –  HIPERPAV
–  Super Air Meter –  Maturity
–  Phoenix (water content of fresh concrete) –  MIT dowel scan
– Semi-Adiabatic Calorimeter –  MIT scan T3

In addition to those shown in the list above, other technician-relevant concrete topics may be offered upon request.

The entire MCTC program is funded through the AID-PT program, imagined, developed, and advocated for inclusion in highway legislation by ACPA.

“MCTC programs, including the mobile laboratory, are good examples of our members’ investments in ACPA being put to good use to provide resources that help our industry move forward,” says Leif Wathne, who says we successfully championed the program in both MAP-21 and the FAST Act. ACPA is also laying the groundwork for continuing the program in the next highway bill.

Interested in participating? Please contact Mike Praul, MCTC Program Manager at Michael.Praul@dot.gov or 207.512.4917.

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* The Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) is an ACPA Championed provision first included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21). The 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. ACPA also successfully advocated for a similar research provision included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 Sec. 744. Research and deployment of certain airfield pavement technologies.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

Transportation Advocates: Highway Bill Extension Likely

With the clock ticking toward expiration of the FAST Act on September 30th, ACPA and other transportation groups are advising that a highway and transit program extension is likely.

At a virtual meeting last week, the Transportation Construction Coalition* discussed how Congress has extended the surface transportation program more than a dozen times since 2009.

“Noting past negative market and economic impacts of extension-related flat funding levels, coupled with new uncertainty about the timeline for the nation’s post-coronavirus economic recovery, ARTBA raised serious concerns about a status quo approach,” the association reported. “ARTBA also reminded the staff that increased funding in an extension will require additional Highway Trust Fund (HTF) resources.”

The TCC allies reached consensus on the necessary extension ingredients, while also continuing to advocate for additional resources for state departments of transportation and public transportation agencies. The following day, the Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) coalition agreed to join with the TCC to advocate jointly on these issues in a meeting with top House and Senate transportation committee staff.

Although the extension is a high priority, ACPA and other transportation construction advocates remain firmly committed to a long-term, well-funded highway bill; a durable solution to the ongoing Highway Trust Fund issue; and the approval of highway funding in the next COVID-19 relief and recovery package.

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The Transportation Construction Coalition is a partnership of 31 national associations and construction unions representing hundreds of thousands of individuals with a direct market interest in federal transportation programs. TCC is comprised of the American Coal Ash Association; American Concrete Pavement Association; American Concrete Pipe Association; American Iron & Steel Institute; American Road & Transportation Builders Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Subcontractors Association; American Traffic Safety Services Association; Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association; Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association; Associated Equipment Distributors; Associated General Contractors of America; American Council of Engineering Companies; Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute; International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron; International Slurry Surfacing Association; International Union of Operating Engineers; Laborers’ International Union of North America; Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Association of Surety Bond Producers; National Electrical Contractors Association; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; National Steel Bridge Alliance; National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association; National Utility Contractors Association; Portland Cement Association; Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute; The Road Information Program; and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

Highway Users Urge Congressional Leaders Consider FAST Act Extension

The American Highway Users Alliance (Highway Users) sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging Congress to approve a one-year extension to the FAST Act.

“Due to the limited days remaining in the legislative calendar, the Highway Users urges Congress to pass a one-year extension of current surface transportation law with increased highway investment funding to ensure important road and bridge projects can continue into the new fiscal year and prevent further disruption to America’s economic recovery,” writes AHUA President & CEO Laura Perrotta.

In the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, AHUA applauds the Senate EPW Committee and the House T&I Committee for moving forward with the transportation reauthorization process through their efforts on their respective bills this Congress.  Copies of the letter also went to EPW Chairman and Ranking Member John Barrasso and Carl Carper and T&I Committee Chairman and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio and Sam Graves.

A one-year extension will ensure roadway projects and safety improvements can continue seamlessly through the construction season, the letter continues. The letter also urges Congress, when considering the extension, to increase highway investment in line with the planned funding levels in the respective transportation reauthorization bills that were being pursued by the Senate and House.

The letter also emphasized the importance of a multi-year highway bill; efforts to ensure Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solvency, and inclusion of $37 billion in relief to State DOTs to replace the steep decline in state fuel taxes and other revenue used for highways.

ACPA’s Leif Wathne co-Chairs the Highway Users’ Policy and Government Affairs Committee.

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Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

ACPA and Other Highway Advocates Urge President to Act on Relief Funding and Highway Trust Fund

ACPA and 14 other TCC allies sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump, urging the immediate infusion of $37 billion in federal funding for state departments of transportation (DOTs) for COVID-19 relief.

The letter also urged the President to oppose any measure to temporarily suspend or permanently repeal a dedicated federal user fee that generates revenue to support surface transportation improvements. Copies of the letter were also sent to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

The letter underscores the severe losses in dedicated revenues that many state DOTs are facing and on which state transportation programs rely heavily.

“As a result, the ability of state DOTs to carry out their core functions, including capital construction programs, is threatened. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many state DOTs have imposed furloughs and delayed or canceled $10 billion in critical transportation projects,” the TCC allies say.

The letter also addresses how the pandemic has adversely impacted dedicated federal user fees that generate revenue for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Citing analysis by the FHWA, the group says HTF highway account revenue declined by 46 percent for the second half of April versus the same period in 2019. FHWA estimates that the HTF will now become insolvent sooner than previously anticipated.

“Any proposal to suspend or repeal a current HTF user fee without an equivalent replacement would further exacerbate the impending insolvency of the HTF and make finding the federal resources to support the Senate and House surface transportation reauthorization proposals even more difficult,” the groups write.

Click here to see the complete letter.

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*In addition to ACPA, other signatories included the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; American Concrete Pipe Association; American Council of Engineering Companies; American Road & Transportation Builders Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Traffic Safety Services Association; Associated General Contractors of America; International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers; International Union of Operating Engineers; Laborers International Union of North America; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association; Portland Cement Association; The Surety & Fidelity Association of America.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

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