Government Affairs

Highway Materials Group Urges Support of Airport Construction Funding Provisions

As Congress continues efforts to pass an omnibus appropriations bill, the Highway Materials Group* sent letters to appropriations committee  leaders to urge them to retain two key airport-related provisions in the FY18 Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill.

The HMG says the provisions would “dramatically improve aviation infrastructure across the country by modernizing the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) user fee on originating flights and increasing funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).”

The letters state that ACPA and other national associations whose members provide the construction materials and equipment essential to building America’s roads, highways, and bridges, support these long overdue increases to aviation infrastructure funding that will support critical infrastructure projects for our nation’s airports.

The letters also note that recent infrastructure needs identified by the Airports Council International – North America show airports of all sizes face $100 billion in infrastructure improvements over the next five years.  “It is estimated that an additional 9.6 million jobs would be created if projects to meet these infrastructure needs were created – many of which would occur in our sector,” the letters continue.  Click on the following links to see the full text of the Senate and House versions of the letters.

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* The Highway Materials Group is comprised of the American Coal Ash Association, American 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 the Prestressed/Precast Concrete Institute.

FHWA Issues AID-PT Annual Report

FHWA publishes an annual report of AID-PT results and benefits.

The Federal Highway Administration has released its 2017 Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) program annual report.   The 28-page report includes case histories and other summary benefits of the program.

The AID-PT program was the result of a legislative provision that was championed by ACPA and 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 for both the concrete- and asphalt-pavement industries.  

Since 2012, the Federal Highway Administration has administered AID-PT with direct input from industry, including ACPA, which remains actively involved in assisting FHWA with support for the program, including continuing to advocate for renewal of the program in highway reauthorization efforts, as well as communicating program results and benefits to the concrete pavement industry. In 2015,  again with strong support by ACPA and other stakeholder groups, Congress included the program in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which provides funding through 2020.

Since its inception, the program has resulted in benefits to the concrete pavement community, including contracts and cooperative agreements with 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.

White House Announces FHWA Nominee 

President Donald J. Trump announced he will nominate Paul Trombino III to be the 24th Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.  

“We look forward to Mr. Trombino’s confirmation and look forward to advancing and building on the relationship we developed with him during his tenure in key transportation leadership positions in Iowa and Wisconsin over the years,” said ACPA President & CEO Jerry Voigt.

Trombino is currently the President of McClure Engineering Company, a civil engineering company focused on transportation, aviation, water, and structures projects.

Previously, he served as the Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation from 2011 to 2016, where he was responsible for planning, design, construction, and operation of 9,400 miles of highways, 4,300 bridges; the modal programs of transit, rail, and aviation; and motor vehicle services.  

Trombino also served with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for 17 years, where he held several positions, including Bureau Director and Operations Director of the Highway Division.

In addition to key posts, he also served as the 2015-2016 President of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials and as the 2016 Vice-Chair of the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee.  

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Trombino is a licensed professional engineer in the states of Iowa and Wisconsin.

AASHTO Names Top Officers

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Board of Directors (AASHTO) announced it has elected three DOT officials as its top officers for 2018. 

They are: John Schroer, Tennessee DOT Commissioner, as President; Carlos Braceras, P.E., Utah DOT Executive Director,  as Vice President; and Scott Bennett, P.E., Arkansas DOT Director, as Secretary-Treasurer, according to an AASHTO news release.

AASHTO President Schroer, who was appointed to his DOT post in January 2011, previously served as mayor of his hometown of Franklin, Tenn. He has served in several top committee positions at AASHTO, including Chairman of  its Standing Committee on Finance and Administration and Chairman of the Strategic Management Committee.

“It is an honor to be elected by the AASHTO board to serve as President of our association,” said Schroer. “One of my goals will be to make sure that AASHTO is on the cutting-edge of innovation, to ensure states are ready to meet the many challenges that new transportation technologies will bring.”

Schroer said he wants to focus on the critical issue of sustainable funding at the federal level and will encourage Congress to explore all available revenue options. Schroer hopes to lead the efforts of AASHTO and state departments of transportation to work with the Trump Administration and Congress to enact an infrastructure package and a new long-term transportation reauthorization bill. The impacts of new technologies such as autonomous, connected and electric vehicles on the nation’s transportation infrastructure will also be a top priority for Schroer, according to AASHTO.

AASHTO Vice President Braceras was appointed to his DOT post in May 2013. A native of New Jersey, he began his career at UDOT in 1986, ascending in 2001 to Deputy Director and Chief Engineer, where he shaped UDOT’s strategic direction and its mission of innovating transportation solutions to strengthen Utah’s economy and quality of life. Prior to his current AASHTO leadership position, he served as Secretary-Treasurer.

AASHTO Secretary-Treasurer Bennett was named to his current DOT position in September 2011. He began his career at ARDOT as a summer employee, then began working full-time in the Planning and Research Division as a Civil Engineer I. Over the next two decades Bennett held several top management positions including Section Head of Technical Services, Assistant Division Head of Planning and Research, and Assistant Chief Engineer for Planning.

Magazine Cites Federal Official’s Views on Pavement Competition

Editor’s Note:  Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and it’s for that reason we present this interesting bit of history, which we believe is as logical now as it was 96 years ago. An article in the July 1921 issue of “ARIZONA HIGHWAYS” magazine quoted federal official Thomas H. MacDonald, on his strong views about competition.  Mr. MacDonald served for 34 years as the Chief of the Bureau of Public Roads, forerunner of today’s Federal Highway Administration.  The article is presented in its entirety.

“In a statement just issued [by] Thomas H. MacDonald Chief of the United States Bureau of Public Roads  deplores the tendency that has been developing in some States to pass legislation governing conditions of bond issues and specifying one type of material to be used in highway construction.

“Mr. MacDonald urges open competition and more careful consideration of cost and local conditions affecting construction before the type of pavement is determined upon.

Thomas H. McDonald, BPR Chief, from 1919 to 1953. (Photo: Federal Highway Administration.)

“‘Granting that the preparation of the roadbed has been properly done,’ says Mr. MacDonald, “Many kinds of road surfaces will give excellent service.  The element of time is important.  There are so many miles of roads to be constructed and their cost will be so enormous that the most careful and detailed study of each road project must be made to provide, at the lowest possible cost, roads which will give satisfactory service and which can be maintained without undue depreciation under the traffic which is to use them.  Many times the question has been asked the bureau: What type of road is best.  The answer is always the same: There is not one best kind of type of road surface.'”

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