Government Affairs

FHWA Announces Performance Measures Rule

As required under MAP-21,  Federal Highway Administration has announced a notice of proposed rulemaking* to assess the condition of pavements and bridges on the National Highway System (NHS). 

Under the proposed rule, the agency also proposes the process for States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to establish and report on performance targets reflecting the proposed measures, as well as the methodology to evaluate whether a state has made significant progress toward achieving those targets. 

Finally, FHWA proposes a minimum level for the condition of pavement on the Interstate System and incorporates the minimum condition level established by MAP-21 for bridges on the NHS. 

Proposed Pavement Condition Measures
FHWA proposes measures that would be applicable to all mainline Interstate System and non-Interstate NHS pavements regardless of ownership or maintenance responsibility of roads within a given State or metropolitan planning area.   The FHWA is proposing four measures for pavement condition to determine the  percentage of pavements in good, fair, and poor condition within the Interstate and non-Interstate highway systems.  The measures for concrete pavements include International Roughness Index, cracking, and faulting (for CRCP punchouts are used in lieu of faulting).  

ACPA’s National Performance Measures Task Force is in the process of reviewing the proposed rule in detail, and will be discussing the rule prior to offering formal comments, due to FHWA on April 6.

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* The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) requires the Secretary of Transportation to develop new regulations to establish Transportation Performance Management requirements for the purposes of carrying out the National Highway Performance Program.   The Pavement and Bridge Condition Performance Management “notice of proposed rulemaking” (NPRM) was published January 5, with a final deadline for submitting comments of April 6.  The NPRM is available online.   Additional details are available in an FHWA fact sheet at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/tpm/rule/pmfactsheet.pdf.

ACPA Urges Participation in TCC Fly-In

For anyone who supports a well-funded, multi-year highway bill, now is the time to let your voice be heard in Washington, D.C.

ACPA is  urging members to participate in the  Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) annual Fly-In, scheduled for April 14-15, at the Hyatt Regency Washington in Washington, D.C.  

The event typically includes a day of overview presentations and discussions about key issues.   The second day includes visits to Senate and House officials representing members home states and districts.  

TCC partners, including the American Concrete Pavement Association, are available to assist with talking points, coordination of meetings, and other assistance.

If you have not already done so, please register today.  Online registration is quick and convenient.  Please click here to create a new account and register for the meeting.  

ACPA also is reminding members and affiliates of the new location.   The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington, located at 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001.  To make your hotel reservation, please contact the Hyatt Regency Washington Hotel by calling 1-800-421-1442 or 202-737-1234. Ask for the TCC Fly-In rate of $315 per night.

 

TCC-FlyIn-2015


EPA: Coal Ash Will Not Be Regulated as “Hazardous” Waste

December 19 (Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today ruled that the agency will not regulate recycled coal ash (including fly ash) as a “hazardous” waste, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and other news sources.

The announcement followed seven years of advocacy aimed at convincing EPA that a “hazardous” designation for coal ash would do more harm than good. ACPA was among the transportation, construction, and materials organizations that urged the agency not to classify the material as hazardous. ACPA asked the EPA to regulate fly ash (coal combustion products) under subtitle D of RCRA (rather than Subtitle C), and this is ultimately what the EPA granted.

Background ACPA filed multiple sets of comments with EPA, stating and reinforcing the overarching benefits of coal ash, an essential material used in secondary cementitious materials and ternary mixes. Coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power generation, is recycled and used in transportation construction projects, improving project life spans and reducing material costs.

In 2007, EPA announced it was considering regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste. Since that time, a number of organizations, including ACPA, have opposed a “hazardous” label for fly ash and other forms of coal ash.

In 2011, ARTBA’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) released a study that concluded the cost to build highways, streets & roads, airport pavements, and bridges would increase by an estimated $104.6 billion over the next 20 years if fly ash were no longer available as a transportation construction building material.

Looking Ahead It should be noted that EPA did issue new regulations on how coal ash is stored, but this should not have a great impact on the transportation construction industry. In a statement released today, ARTBA announced it will be thoroughly analyzing EPA’s decision and the accompanying proposed rule to ensure there are no “hidden” detrimental impacts on the beneficial use of recycled coal ash.

Additional Information For additional information about the rule, please follow this link: http://www2.epa.gov/coalash/coal-ash-rule/. For more information about fly ash, follow this link: http://www2.epa.gov/coalash/.

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/.

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