Government Affairs

ACPA Presents Comments to Transportation Board

Leif Wathne and Ray Seipp participated in the two-day Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) meeting last week in Winchester Virginia.  Wathne was one of several transportation experts who presented comments on a wide range of topics, including policy issues and programmatic matters. 

Wathne’s comments centered on inter-industry competition, which ACPA has discussed in many forums with industry and public sector officials. Wathne explained that MIT, at the urging of industry, undertook a comprehensive multivariate analysis of DOT bid pricing, covering a 10-year span and 298,000 pay items from 47 state DOTs.  

“The results clearly show that increasing competition between paving material industries lower paving costs for both asphalt and concrete jobs and is likely to result in significant savings for DOT’s and taxpayers,” Wathne said.  

He cited recent discusssions with VDOT staff about how to better capitalize on competition and thanked VDOT Chief Engineer Garrett Moore and the Department for their earnest engagement in these discussions.  

“We are encouraged by VDOT’s interest in ways to extend the reach of Virginia’s paving dollars, however, we urge the Commonwealth Transportation Board to reinforce VDOT’s commitment to this significant opportunity,” he said, emphasizing, “This is not about one product being better than the other; it’s about providing the best value.” 

As he concluded his remarks, he said, “There are no engineering reasons why concrete pavement cannot be part of any agency’s program, including VDOT’s.”  He also noted concrete pavement is used successfully in several neighboring states, as well as throughout the United States.

Click here to view Wathne’s comments online. (His comments start at marker: 1:01:20) 

 

AASHTO Names New Leadership

AASHTO announced Carlos Braceras P.E. and Patrick McKenna, have been elected President and Vice President.  Braceras is Executive Director of the Utah DOT; McKenna is Director of the Missouri DOT.

Braceras previously served as AASHTO’s VP and secretary-treasurer. As president he will focus on three emphasis areas: workforce development, reauthorization of current surface transportation legislation to include funding and policy reform, all while “communicating transportation’s vital role” in American life, AASHTO says.

Braceras began his career at UDOT in 1986, becoming UDOT’s Executive Director in 2013.  He is responsible for more than 1,600 employees along with the design, construction and maintenance of Utah’s 6,000-mile highway & roadway system, as well as transit projects. He previously served as the agency’s Deputy Director and Chief Engineer.

McKenna has served as Missouri DOT Director since December 2015. He previously was Deputy Commissioner for the New Hampshire DOT.  He also serves as 2017/18 President of MAASTO (one of four AASHTO regional organizations).  He also is a member of the TRB executive committee. 

AASHTO Names New Executive Director

AASHTO has named James J. (Jim) Tymon to become the sixth Executive Director of the association.  

Tymon, who is currently AASHTO’s COO and Director of Policy and Management, will succeed Frederick “Bud” Wright, who retires Dec. 31.  The announcement was made after an executive search and during AASHTO’s board meeting this week.

Tymon joined AASHTO in 2013, and in his current role, he has been responsible for the management of the association’s internal operations, budget and administration. He also works closely with the AASHTO Board of Directors in the development of policy positions.

Tymon previously served as Staff Director of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House T&I Committee, as well as Senior Advisor to Chairman Bill Shuster. He also served as T&I’s lead staffer for the development of MAP-21 (enacted 2012) and for the highway and highway safety titles in SAFETEA LU (passed in 2005). 

Prior to the T&I position, he served three years with the OMB, where he worked as the Program Examiner responsible for overseeing the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

 

Industry Has Strong Presence at NC2 Meeting

ACPA and the ACPA/IGGA P3 Partnership are involved with the National Concrete Consortium (NC2) meeting this week in Saratoga Springs, NY. Jerry Voigt, Leif Wathne and John Roberts are involved in the semi-annual meeting, which is heavily focused on quality and efficient project delivery. Represesentatives of 10 chapters and close to 30 member companies also participated in the meeting. 

Specific reports and presentations addressed performance engineered mixtures (PEM), including a PEM Tech Advisory Committee meeting, where participants discussed recent shadow testing data collection efforts on trials of the PEM suite of tests. The tests are showing promise, and the trials are helping identify improvements.

A major focus of the NC2 discussion included quality assurance programs, quality assurance testing and contractor quality control. New and evolving technology, such as the use of e-ticketing/documentation, and accelerated construction (using precast concrete for pavements and bridges).

Participants will also benefit from an optional field trip on Thurs., Sept. 20, hosted by The Fort Miller Group, an ACPA member, at its precast plant in nearby Greenwich, NY.

Meeting attendance of about 190 attendees was reported to be higher than last-year’s record-breaking 20th anniversary meeting. The semi-annual NC2 meeting gives the state materials engineers, industry and academia an opportunity to share research and technical information specifically about concrete pavements. The group originally began as the Midwest Concrete Consortium and has expanded to include over 30 state DOT’s, along with toll highway authorities.
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Photo courtesy of the CP Tech Center.

Virginia Meeting Sets a Positive Direction

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter contractors met with Virginia DOT officials to discuss the value of competition in paving type selection and the benefits of a healthy two-pavement system.

Jim Tanner, President, Denton Enterprises, Inc.; Rich McDonough, District Manager, The Lane Construction Corp.; and Patrick Smith, Sr. Project Manager, Atlantic Contracting & Material Co., Inc., along with Ray Seipp, President, Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President, ACPA, represented the concrete paving industry.

An impressive group of VDOT and Virginia Transportation Research Council [VTRC] personnel was headed by Garrett Moore, VDOT Chief Engineer. The group also included Mohammed Mirshahi, VDOT Deputy Chief Engineer; Branco Vlacich, State Maintenance Engineer; and Andy Babish, State Materials Engineer; along with Catherine McGhee, VTRC Director; Kevin McGhee, VTRC Associate Director – Pavements; and Tanveer Chowdhury, VTRC Assistant Division Administrator, State Infrastructure.

 “ACPA was grateful for the opportunity to have a candid and productive conversation regarding the value of competition,” Wathne said.

The Chapter is looking forward to working with Virginia in the development of a competitive pavement system for the benefit of the Virginia taxpayers.

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