Government Affairs

AASHTO Spring Meeting Hints at Changing Roles

ACPA participated in the AASHTO Spring Meeting last week, and Leif Wathne and Scott Mueller tag-teamed to participate in the four-day meeting.

One of the key focal points of the meeting was AASHTO’s highway reauthorization priorities, with funding and program stability topping the list. 

As part of the May 20th through 23th meeting in Park City, UT, the state transportation officials also held the Council on Highways and Streets. One of the major discussions focused on the changing roles of chief engineers and other officials who must increasingly address issues that go beyond historical highway-centric issues. Examples include multimodal transportation, drones, transit issues, and the changing functions of highways (which increasingly incorporate rapidly-evolving technology and communications features).

During the AASHTO Innovation Initiative session, Tom Harman, Director of the FHWA’s Center for Innovation, presented on the culture of innovation.  As part of his presentation (developed in part with input from Dan Rozycki with the Transtec Group), Harman asked Leif Wathne to share both details and insights regarding ACPA’s VISION2040 initiative.  A one-page overview about the VISION2040 effort was shared with the meeting attendees.   
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Blumenauer Urges Industry to Keep Momentum Going

ACPA participated in the Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) meeting last week.  Hosted by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) the meeting was held Thursday in Washington, DC.

Featured speaker Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), encouraged participants to keep the momentum going in advocacy efforts aimed at highway and other infrastructure investment. 

Blumenauer recently unveiled a bill that would increase federal fuel taxes by 5 cents per gallon every year for five years. The bill also calls for indexing the tax to allow for adjustments; leveraging the proceeds; and eventually replacing it with a different funding mechanism. Congressman Blumenauer is a senior member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and a champion for infrastructure modernization.

Other highlights from the meeting include an observation that “Buy America” will be an area of interest in next bill. Stakeholder groups also observed that “Infrastructure Week,” which was aimed at increasing awareness and support for infrastructure investment and safety, was very successful.

There was also good support of last week’s TCC fly-in, as well as discussions about the need for strong leadership and support from the White House in order to move meaningful infrastructure funding measures forward in Congress.

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Photo source: US Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s website.

Highlights of the TCC Fly-In

As reported previously in ACPA TODAY, the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Annual Fly-In was held May 13 through 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event was held in conjunction with the ARTBA Federal Issues Program.

Keynote speakers included FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. 

ACPA Chairman Jim Mack of CEMEX, and Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President, attended the fly-in ahead of the ACPA Chapter Committee meeting. 

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Highway Materials Group Event Focuses on Federal Investment

Members of Congress and officials from companies and associations involved in rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure held a press conference at the House Triangle yesterday to discuss the critical need for federal investment in the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure.

Organized by the Highway Materials Group (HMG) coalition, the event included comments by U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee’s Tax Policy Subcommittee, and Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Ranking Member  (RM) of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Highway & Transit Subcommittee.

“Every day we don’t act to improve our nation’s infrastructure, we fall further behind our global competitors,” Chairman Blumenauer says, adding, “It is past time that we step up and demonstrate the courage necessary to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill. I look forward to working with the Highway Materials Group and vast array of supporters in finally delivering for the American people.”

“Since 2003, federal spending on infrastructure has decreased by 20% when adjusted for inflation,” RM Davis says. “We need major investment in our infrastructure if our economy is going to continue to thrive. I’m encouraged by the interest of both parties to get something done on infrastructure this Congress, but we have to figure out a way to pay for it. I believe it is long past time to consider ways to diversify funding streams for transportation projects and it’s the only way to guarantee long-term sustainability. I’m looking forward to continuing these conversations throughout Infrastructure Week and as we work to get a bill done.”

Representing ACPA at the event were Chairman Jim Mack (CEMEX) and Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President. 

HMG Sponsors TV Ads
In related news the HMG sponsored TV ads over a two-week period to urge Congress to fund and pass meaningful infrastructure investment legislation. The campaign TV commercial, “Life Won’t Wait,” shows the human toll that the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure takes on our daily lives. The HMG is joining with the American Trucking Associations in this venture to give greater voice across sectors on the need to fun infrastructure investment now.  The ad campaign is running through May 23 in the Washington, DC. media market.  

For more information on the pressing need for infrastructure investment and the cost of doing nothing, visit www.roadtoabetterfuture.com. On social media, be sure to follow the hashtags #InfrastructureNOW and #TimeToBuild.

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The Highway Materials Group is comprised of eleven national associations, representing companies that provide the construction materials and equipment essential to building America’s roads, highways and bridges. We employ tens of thousands of men and women in well-paying American jobs, and we strongly support increased investment in America’s surface transportation network.  Members include: American Coal Ash Association; America Concrete Pavement Association; American Traffic Safety Services Association; Associated Equipment Distributors; Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association; Portland Cement Association; and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.

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See the commercial and other videos on ACPA’s YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/ConcretePavements

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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