Government Affairs

ACPA and Construction Groups Weigh in on HOS Regs

In a recent move aimed at representing the construction industry’s interests on the issue of hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, ACPA and other leading  industry associations have communicated  important perspectives to inform and influence the HOS rulemaking process.   

The “Construction Coalition,” comprised of 15 construction associations, submitted comments to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Raymond P. Martinez earlier this week.  Click here to see the coalition’s comments.

ACPA emphasized the points that the concrete pavement operations — from trasnport from central-mix plants to finals saw cutting — are extremely time-sensitive, as the concrete is extremely perishable.  Noting that state agency specs typically limit time betweeen mixing and discharge at the paving site to less than 60 min. “As a  result, all of these operations must be carefully managed to ensure the quality of the pavement.”

ACPA staff and members have been actively involved in presented comments aimed at informing officials of concrete pavement industry specific needs related to hours of service regulations.  

* The Construction Coalition is comprised of the following organizations:  American Concrete Pavement Association, American Pipeline Contractors Association, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Associated Equipment Distributors: Associated General Contractors of America: Distribution Contractors Association: FP2 (which counts among its contributors ACPA and IGGA): National Asphalt Pavement Association: National Electrical Contractors Association: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association: National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association; National Utility Contractors Association; Pipe Line Contractors Association; Portland Cement Association; and Power and Communication Contractors Association.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.  To see additional articles about ACPA’s responses to HOS rulemaking and regulations, type “Hours of Service” in the search feature on our home page.


TCC Partners to EPA: Reconsider Compliance Measures

The Transportation Construction Coalition* has written a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler to commend him for seeking “a path of cooperation with states on the issue of air quality planning.”

The letter also urges reconsideration of the practice of withholding—or threatening to withhold—essential federal highway funding to exact compliance from states.

Although sanctions are permissible in the Clean Air Act, the TCC partners note that many factors have changed since the early days of the Act. 

The Group asks the EPA to use that discretion now to give the State of California—and other states—time and support to reduce the backlog in state implementation plans and update their transportation conformity plans.

The letter also informs that the nation’s highway system is no longer in its prime and that improvements are not optional.  Click here to view the complete letter.

* The Transportation Construction Coalition is a partnership of 31 national associations and construction unions representing hundreds of thousands of individuals with a direct market interest in federal transportation programs. TCC is comprised of the American Coal Ash Association; American Concrete Pavement Association; American Concrete Pipe Association; American Iron & Steel Institute; American Road & Transportation Builders Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Subcontractors Association; American Traffic Safety Services Association; Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association; Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association; Associated Equipment Distributors; Associated General Contractors of America; American Council of Engineering Companies; Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute; International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron; International Slurry Surfacing Association; International Union of Operating Engineers; Laborers’ International Union of North America; Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Association of Surety Bond Producers; National Electrical Contractors Association; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; National Steel Bridge Alliance; National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association; National Utility Contractors Association; Portland Cement Association; Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute; The Road Information Program; and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America.

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


FHWA Workshops Explore Specs, Research and Technology

Two workshops this week gave the FHWA, state transportation officials, industry and academia an opportunity to discuss timely issues and address strategic questions regarding performance-related specifications (PRS), as well as pavement and paving materials research and technology (R&T).

Leif Wathne of ACPA and Gordon Smith of the CP Tech Center were on hand to represent concrete pavement interests at the FHWA PRS stakeholder workshop on October 15. Key questions presented to state transportation agencies centered on the biggest issue that performance testing can address; agencies’ experience with performance testing, types of performance tests required, and types of performance testing agencies have tried or are using presently. Brian Fouch, Director of the FHWA’s Office of Preconstruction, Construction, and Pavements opened the meeting and set the stage for both open and facilitated discussions. The workshop also included four plenary sessions aimed that focused on opportunities and barriers associated with both concrete and asphalt performance engineered pavements and PRS.

ACPA Chairman Jim Mack, CEMEX; ACPA 2nd Vice-Chairman David Howard, Koss Construction; Leif Wathne, and Gordon Smith were among the participants at the second workshop, which began today and runs through Thursday, October 17. The purpose of this workshop is to gather program-level stakeholder input for issues to be addressed through the FHWA’s Pavement and Materials Program, all with an eye on current and future R&T programs.

The workshop presented opportunities for state transportation officials and industry representatives to present their top three pavement & materials issues; key areas/products that should be promoted nationally; and areas of support requested from the FHWA. Other discussion topics included pavement design and analysis, pavement management (PM2 rules); pavement design policy outreach; performance-engineered mix design (PEMD) and PRS; the FHWA Mobile Technology Center program; FHWA’s Materials laboratory research, pavement research, safety, pavement preservation and quality assurance. Both workshops were held at the Turner–Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA.

Photo: FHWA Associate Administrator for Infrastructure Hari Kalla makes opening remarks at the FHWA’s Research and Technology Workshop.

News from Capitol Hill

This is the latest installment of highlights of PCA’s “This Week in Washington” update. Interested in seeing more?  Become an ACPA Advocacy Interest Member.* Advocacy Interest Members are eligible to participate in the Legislative Issues Committee (LIC). Click here to join!

  • In follow-up to an oversight hearing in May, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) on October 7th released three Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address demurrage and accessorial rules and charges, with the aim of improving transparency and the dispute resolution process. One NPRM clarifies STB oversight of demurrage and applies to rail shipments of cement and other exempted commodities. PCA says they see this as a first step toward providing the cement industry greater protection against unreasonable rates and practices. 
  • Following the electrocution deaths of three miners over 42 days, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued an Electrical Safety Alert reminding all miners, contractors and mine operators of best management practices when working with electricity.  This is a somber and important reminder for all companies, including cement producers and concrete pavement contractors, to revisit their lockout/tagout procedures and other safety practices in plants and workzones.
  • As a member of the Opportunity America Jobs and Careers Coalition, PCA recently signed onto a coalition letter to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, in support of the Student Aid Improvement Act. The legislation would make Pell Grants available to students enrolled in college job training programs shorter than a semester that lead to industry-recognized credentials and skills in demand in the labor market.  At a time when workforce issues are in sharp focus for many in the industry, this legislation could be beneficial to attracting and retaining workers. 

* Advocacy Interest Membership is a special individual membership category. To be eligible for membership in this category, a member must be a stockholder, owner, director, or employee of a member admitted to any other class of membership (Article IV, Section a-i, and l). In addition, to become and remain eligible, individuals must affirm their Advocacy Interest Membership annually.

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


AASHTO Elects 2020 Officers

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has named its top officers for the 2019-2020 term. AASHTO has elected Patrick McKenna, Director of the Missouri DOT, as President and New Hampshire DOT Commissioner Victoria Sheehan as Vice President.  Commissioner Sheehan becomes the second woman in AASHTO’s 105-year history to serve in that role.

McKenna says he plans to focus on surface transportation funding reauthorization and transportation safety.

“We need to make clear the public benefit of federal surface transportation investment and its impact on the safety, mobility, health, and economic well-being of all Americans,” he explained in his emphasis areas paper released at the meeting.

Launching a national campaign focused on how “transportation is personal” that explains the many benefits transportation investment provides to all Americans is one tactic McKenna plans to spearhead during his term as AASHTO’s 2019-2020 president as part of the organization’s effort to get surface transportation funding legislation reauthorized. He also plans to place renewed focus on reducing transportation fatalities, which McKenna described as a “national public health crisis” in his remarks.

To help reduce the estimated 36,700 highway fatalities, McKenna said AASHTO will continue its role in the Towards Zero Deaths and Vision Zero national coalitions while facilitating discussions with state DOTs and local communities to consider ways to deploy “innovative infrastructure designs and technologies” to more safely accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter users.

McKenna was appointed as Missouri DOT’s director in 2015.  He previously served as MAASTO President and is a member of the TRB executive committee. He earned an undergraduate degree in finance from Bentley College and an MS in management and finance from the University of Maryland. 

Sheehan was appointed New Hampshire DOT Commissioner in 2015. She previously served with the Massachusetts DOT’s highway division, where she served in a number of roles, including her most recent post as Manager of Strategic Planning and Highway performance.  Originally from Northern Ireland, Sheehan holds a Master’s in Structural Engineering and Architecture from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Photo:  AASHTO 2019/20 President Patrick McKenna and Vice President Victoria Sheehan. (Credit: AASHTO)

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