RC3 Helps State DOTs Apply for $1.2B in Funding

The Reduced Carbon Concrete Consortium (RC3), announced in March, was established to disseminate information on reducing carbon in the construction process as well as to assist DOTs and other qualifying entities in pursuing and executing Low Carbon Transportation Materials (LCTM) funding.

In addition to ACPA, RC3 members include the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center), Concrete Advancement Foundation, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), and the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub).

The first LCTM program milestone was the June 10 deadline for applications, and based on an unofficial tally, RC3 understands that more than 35 state highway agencies submitted applications for funding.

Leading up to the deadline, RC3 deployed various strategies to educate and support DOTs with their applications, including but not limited to:

  • Working directly with the FHWA to clarify the application process.
  • Developing a website: https://rc3.acpa.org/.
  • Sending weekly email updates. (To subscribe to the ongoing newsletter, sign up at https://rc3.acpa.org/.)
  • Meeting virtually and in person with DOT representatives.
  • Establishing a library of resources, available on the RC3 website, that included sample templates for proposals, budgets, and schedules, as well as guidance documents.

RC3’s communications with FHWA and DOT representatives resulted in an iterative process that guided—and continues to guide—RC3 in providing effective support. During the execution phase of the LCTM program, RC3 will continue its support, making training resources available and continuing to conduct meetings and educational events.

“There have been many lessons learned and questions addressed as we proceeded through the LCTM process” said Thomas Van Dam, Principal, WJE. “Going forward, what we have learned will be applied to the implementation of the program as we work with individual DOTs and the RC3 as a whole to achieve program goals.”

Once states move into the execution phase, there will be many common needs and activities. RC3 sees great potential for efficiency gains if states form regional alliances. A cooperative approach will help states minimize efforts in many areas, including training, data collection, and the identification of global warming potential (GWP) thresholds in environmental product declarations (EPDs).

FHWA initiatives in addition to the LCTM program, such as the Climate Challenge and EDC7, provide a good model for federal sustainability goals and processes, and may help inform DOTs,” said Kevin Senn, Principal, NCE.

The FHWA Climate Challenge – Quantifying Emissions of Sustainable Pavements program awards federal funding to DOTs to explore life cycle assessments (LCAs) and environmental product declarations (EPDs) in materials selection and design. To date, the program has identified more than 35 projects from 27 agencies and provided $7.1 million to 25 state departments of transportation. FHWA technical assistance is provided.

The Every Day Counts round 7 (EDC-7) program has existed for more than a decade and facilitates innovations that improve safety, sustainability and inclusivity. Initiatives include “Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning” and “EPDs for Sustainable Project Delivery.”

The key news for contractors and producers is the requirement for EPDs is ever closer on the horizon. RC3 expects the shift to occur quickly rather than gradually, as clear financial incentives will soon proliferate and many EPDs will be developed at one time in response. This will be a game changer for contractors and producers competing in the marketplace.

“One of the things we’ve learned during our involvement with the LCTM program is that the FHWA has entered a phase of accelerated efforts when it comes to incentivizing sustainable paving,” said Brian Killingsworth, Executive Vice President, NRMCA. “This fact is important for contractors and material producers to know, as sustainability requirements, especially EPDs, will soon be critical to their business practices and we expect to them to remain critical even if political winds shift over time.”

An award program announced in 2023 by the EPA, Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Construction Materials and Products, will make $100 million in grants available to manufacturers, supporting their development of EPDs. With those award announcements expected soon, RC3 expects that the support manufacturers and producers receive will result in synergies across the industry, as DOTs begin to require EPDs and contractors make progress with their own EPD development.

RC3 and its participating organizations will make various resources available to help contractors and producers learn more, including training programs and presentations at industry events. ACPA has also partnered with WAP Sustainability to provide discounted access to ACPA members to WAP’s EPD tool (called Theta EPD). The link to get started with WAP Sustainability is here: https://thetaepd.com/signup/acpa