The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee say they want a surface transportation reauthorization bill marked up before the Aug. 3 recess.
Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and ranking member Tom Carper (D-Del.) told Politico they’re committed to passing “significant, bipartisan highway infrastructure legislation” and they’re aiming to make investments in “a meaningful and fiscally-responsible way.”
A reauthorization bill has not yet surfaced in the House, though the chamber since January has held several key committee hearings on transportation funding.
As this development unfolded in the Senate, members of ARTBA’s Project 2019 Reauthorization Task Force met April 10 in Denver to develop the industry’s legislative blueprint for the next surface transportation law, scheduled for 2020. A proposed report with recommendations will be shared with all of ARTBA’s membership divisions in the coming weeks, and the full Board of Directors will consider a final report during the May 13-15 Federal Issues Program.
ARTBA is calling for a shift in how the nation approaches roadway safety. The association April 9 submitted its views to a U.S. House Highways and Transit subcommittee hearing.
Rather than the usual federal focus on reducing the number of crashes by improving motorists’ behavior, ARTBA believes the premise must be turned around to accept the fact that some drivers will inevitably make mistakes. On all major routes—and others to the extent practicable—the U.S. roadway system must anticipate user error and be designed, constructed, equipped and operated to forgive the errant user and protect the innocent worker, pedestrian, cyclist or other driver, ARTBA’s written testimony says.
“We have the technology and ‘know how’ to build our roadway system to anticipate user error,” ARTBA’s testimony says. “It can be designed, constructed, equipped, and operated to forgive the errant user and protect the innocent victim.”
More than 37,000 people were killed in 2017 U.S. traffic crashes, including roadway workers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Work zone fatalities increased to 799 in 2017 from 586 in 2010. (2018 data is not available.)
ARTBA’s testimony emphasizes highway work zone safety. It reminds Congress that through federal rulemaking after the SAFETEA-LU surface transportation law and further provisions in both the MAP-21 and FAST Act laws, lawmakers and previous administrations have expressed the intent to use increased positive separation between workers and motorists on construction projects.
“The law has not been fully implemented and positive separation is still not used as regularly as Congress intended,” ARTBA’s testimony says. “New products and technologies are available that make the practice more practical and cost-effective.”
ARTBA has previously called for the repeal of a century-old federal procurement rule that has become a major regulatory roadblock to new technologies that promise to help advance safety and alleviate traffic congestion.
ARTBA’s testimony also notes that sound investment in safe transportation infrastructure is a bi-partisan priority. The association is urging Congress and the administration to pass a permanent, sustainable revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund, either as part of broad infrastructure legislation or next year’s scheduled reauthorization of the FAST Act.
CROSBY, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump’s support for shifting more power to states on Wednesday faded next to his affinity for oil and gas production, as he aimed to make it harder for states to block pipelines and other energy projects due to environmental concerns.
At the urging of business groups, Trump signed two executive orders designed to speed up oil and gas pipeline projects. The action came after officials in Washington state and New York used the permitting process to stop new energy projects in recent years, prompting complaints from Republican members of Congress and the fossil fuel industry.
“Too often badly needed energy infrastructure is being held back by special interest groups, entrenched bureaucracies and radical activists,” Trump complained before signing the orders.
The Trump administration insisted it was not trying to take power away from the states but, rather, trying to make sure that state actions follow the intent of the Clean Water Act. Under a section of the law, companies must get certification from the state before moving ahead with an energy project.
Washington state blocked the building of a coal terminal in 2017, saying there were too many major harmful effects including air pollution, rail safety and vehicle traffic.
President Donald Trump said that he would impose a 5% tariff on Mexican goods until that country stops immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally.
The tariff would take effect on June 10, “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our country, STOP,” Trump said in a Twitter post May 30.
He warned that the levy “would gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied at which time the tariff will be removed.” The tariffs could rise as high as 25% on Oct. 1, Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
“Mexico must step up and help solve this problem,” Trump said in the statement.
Over the past year, Trump has intensified his use of tariffs to try to achieve policy goals on trade, and now immigration — another of his key issues.
Trump made curtailing undocumented immigration a centerpiece of his presidency and campaign. He ran in 2016 on promises to build a border wall to keep out migrants and declared a national emergency to tap federal funds for construction, after Congress didn’t provide as much money as the president demanded.
Jesus Seade, Mexico’s undersecretary of foreign relations for North America, told reporters in Mexico City May 30 at a previously scheduled event that the country won’t retaliate before discussing the matter with the U.S.
The Mexican peso weakened by as much as 2.3% after Trump’s tweets.
Many Republicans view immigration as a winning issue for them in 2020, and some progressive activists are fretting that Democrats will be left flat-footed without offering voters a vision for dealing with a flood of migrants and a system that both sides long have acknowledged is dysfunctional.
An ADOSH presentation regarding respirable crystalline silica is now available, to help educate construction industry members regarding this federal rule and its implications in Arizona.
China is downplaying the political implications of its global development campaign known as the Belt and Road initiative, saying that it aims to boost multilateralism amid protectionist trends.
ARTBA revealed its 4th Annual Bridget report late last week. The information comes directly from each State Department of Transportation and then captured into a format created by ARTBA. As part of the “Transportation Makes America Work” (TMAW) program and ARTBA’s ongoing effort to keep the spotlight on infrastructure investment issues and need to fix the Highway Trust Fund, ARTBA released its annual bridge conditions report. The analysis of the U.S. DOT’s National Bridge Inventory database—conducted by ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black—finds there are nearly 56,000 structurally deficient U.S. bridges. If placed end-to-end, these compromised structures would stretch 1,276 miles, or half the distance from New York to Los Angeles. Arizona ranks 43rd in the U.S., which is the same rank as last year. Of the 8,154 bridges in Arizona, 214, or 3%, are classified as structurally deficient. This means one or more of the key bridge elements, such as the deck, superstructure or substructure, is considered to be in “poor” or worse condition. 649 bridges, or 8%, are classified as functionally obsolete. This means the bridge does not meet design standards in line with current practice. 198 bridges are posted for load, which may restrict the size and weight of vehicles crossing the structure. Federal investment in Arizona has supported $989.3 million for capital improvements on 433 bridges between 2005 and 2014. Over the last 10 years, 535 new bridges have been constructed in the state; 245 have undergone major reconstruction. The state has identified needed repairs on 2,336 bridges, which the state estimates will cost $1 billion
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The Arizona Transportation Builders Association Scholarship Foundation is seeking applicants for its 2017 Maggie Mozingo 4-year scholarship for $8,000. Any high school senior, who is a son or daughter of an Arizona Transportation Builders Association member or an employee of a member and will be enrolling full-time in an academic institution for their first collegiate year are eligible to apply. You can find the application here. The Maggie Mozingo 4-year Scholarship selection of the recipient is based on the scholastic standing, ACT and/or SAT scores, extra-curricular activities, career goals, past employment, essay written by candidate, and community service. ATB members provide educational funding to the scholarship by participating in the annual ATB Golf Tournament and ATB Fall Auction event. Last year’s generous supporters were Hunter Contracting, Sitech, and Western Refining for a total of $8,300.00 dollars. The Scholarship has existed nearly two decades and served over sixty-nine students with an estimate of $250,000.00 dollars donated.