Government Affairs

Road Gang Meeting Report

The recent Road Gang luncheon featured a conversation with Ed Mortimer, Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  

Ed talked about the Chamber’s support for a 25-cent motor-fuels tax increase and how the Chamber arrived at the point of supporting a fuel tax increase. He also spoke about the Chamber’s efforts to keep up the momentum and ensure optimism that Congress will take action this cycle.  

He also described how U.S. House T&I Committee Chairman Peter DaFazio (D-OR-04) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01) have engaged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) to encourage meeting with President Trump to restart conversations about an infrastructure bill.  Mortimer also says Chamber members have stated clearly their goal of pushing for an infrastructure bill. 

Ed also spoke about a new ad campaign launched last week by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) coalition.  The campaign is aimed at persuading Congress and the Trump Administration to act this year in support of a permanent Highway Trust Fund (HTF) fix and a new transportation infrastructure package.

A social media campaign, which uses “Conversation Cards,” targets the messaging to the Twitter followers of dozens of key members of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees.  The effort is complemented by digital and Twitter ads aimed at members of Congress, their staffs and other D.C. policymakers.  The campaign is also supported by an opinion editorial in POLITICO.

Leif Wathne represents ACPA on the Road Gang and participated in the luncheon.  In related news, Katy Hartnett, PCA Director of Government Affairs has been accepted as a member of the Road Gang, following a nomination by Leif.

The Road Gang is an informal group of business and government executives, highway engineers and consultants, press and public relations specialists, company representatives and trade association officials from the highway transportation industry in the Washington, D.C. area. The Road Gang serves the dual purpose of promoting fellowship and providing for the interchange of ideas among “Washington’s Transportation Fraternity.”

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Meeting Highlights Benefits of Resilient Construction

A meeting hosted on Capitol Hill last week drew attention to the growing importance of resilient construction. “On the Front Lines of Flooding: Local Perspectives on Adaptation and Resilience,” included speakers from Texas, Louisiana and the DC-metropolitan area to discuss this important and timely issue. 

Hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the American Flood Coalition the discussion centered on the local responses to increased flooding and storm surges.

“The meeting draws sharp focus to the inherent benefits concrete pavements and other concrete structures impart to municipalities and other government agencies dealing with flooding and other disasters throughout the United States,” says Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President. 

ACPA is continuing to study this issue with the aim of developing and delivering useful resources on resilient construction using concrete pavements to members, chapters, and roadbuilding agency customers. 

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

Meeting Focuses on Collaborative Airport Pavement Research

Officials from the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, ACPA, and CP Tech Center met in Atlantic City this week to discuss ways the three organizations may work collaboratively on applied research for airfield concrete pavements.

“We appreciate the warm reception, tour, and generous amount of time we spent with Dr. Michel Hovan, FAA Airport Technology Manager and Jeff Gagnon, FAA Airport Pavement R&D Section Manager,” said ACPA President & CEO Jerry Voigt. “It gave us greater insights into some of the research the FAA is doing in the area of airside pavements.  The meeting also afforded ACPA and the CP Tech Center the opportunity to discuss research efforts with the FHWA and ACPA’s ongoing advocacy efforts, which have included specific airport pavement and highway pavement research programs.”

The meeting included an overview and discussion of current FAA research projects; CP Tech Center’s highway research & tech transfer efforts; and ACPA’s ongoing Federal advocacy efforts. 

“We discussed funding and how ACPA has worked with Federal agencies such as the FAA, FHWA, and Military Tri-Services, as well as elected officials in Washington, D.C.,” says Gary Mitchell, VP of Airports and Pavement Technology. “Our efforts include both highway and airport programmatic funding, but provisions that directly support funding for applied research.” This includes the long-standing AID-PT program, as well as a similar research provision included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 Sec. 744 (Research and deployment of certain airfield pavement technologies). 

Mitchell serves on the FAA’s Research, Engineering, & Development Advisory Committee (REDAC), Subcommittee on Airports, which supports the development of the FAA‘s research and development portfolio through strategic planning, budget formulation, program execution, and program evaluation. ACPA’s Chairman Mack, P.E., (CEMEX) has recently been nominated to serve on the Subcommittee as well and is waiting conformation from the current Administration.

“In the near term,” Mitchell explains, “We will continue the dialogue as we also continue to push for funding to support research for airfield concrete pavements.  Longer term, our goal is to partner with the CP Tech Center and work collaboratively on  applied research projects with the FAA.”

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Photo:  Top photo (L to R) shows Dr. Michel Hovan, Gary Mitchell, Jerry Voigt, Dr. Peter Taylor, Gordon Smith, Jim Mack, Leif Wathne, and Jeff Gagnon at the Hughes Technical Center. The photo below shows one of two accelerated load facilities at the FAA’s research center.  Mitchell explained the two ALF machines are capable of simulating wheel loads of virtually any fixed wing aircraft in the US fleet. The machine shown also allows testing under various climatic conditions.

*  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.

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

 

 

 

Task Force and Committees Cover Timely Issues

ACPA’s Mid-Year Meeting continued into the second day with meetings of the Roller Compacted Concrete, Airports, Pavement Design, and Jointing task forces, as well as meetings of the Legislative Issues Committee (LIC) and Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC).

During the LIC meeting, Dave Bauer, President and CEO of ARTBA, presented remarks about the Federal-aid highway program, including hopeful signs of a bill being introduced this summer, funding challenges and other details. The LIC meeting also included a spirited “heads or tails” game that served as an innovative and fun-filled fundraising activity. 

One of several highlights of the SAC meeting was a discussion about aligning standing committees with markets and better aligning the committees with staff focus.  Several options were discussed and meeting participants had the opportunity to share suggestions and other comments. 

Further discussion will continue over the next few months as the concept is further refined.  “No specific decision was made,” says Jerry Voigt, ACPA President & CEO, adding, “A general direction was provided, along with the goal that SAC will have a firm proposal for ACPA board at the annual meeting.”

Look for additional information about the ACPA Mid-Year Meeting in our June 19th issue of ACPA TODAY. 

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Photo: Greg Mulder, Iowa Concrete Paving Association (left) and Jeffrey McKnight, Buzzi Unicem USA, share a laugh during the “heads or tails” game at the LIC meeting.

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

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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