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.
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
Rummel Construction has been providing general civil construction services to the Southwest since 1996. They are dedicated to delivering safe, innovative solutions to their clients by means of their experienced and committed management team. Rummel Construction goes above and beyond expectations to cultivate a loyal, reliable partnership with its clients. Rummel Construction was founded on a strong set of core values and employs outstanding individuals who have the knowledge, integrity, and experience to not only deliver successful projects, but form long lasting partnerships with their clients. You can visit their website by going here or contact Anthony Heim at 480.222.9922.
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.
The first ever Arizona Builders Alliance Southern Division craft training director, Dick Anklam, passed away quietly yesterday morning, surrounded by his large, loving family. Dick was a founding member of the Tucson Utility Contractors Association, now known as Arizona Transportation Builders Association. There he founded a number of committees that played an important role in the industry, including scholarship and safety. In 2007, his dedication to the construction industry was recognized with the Catalina Boy Scout “Construction Industry Good Scout of the Year” award. There will be a celebration of his life this Saturday, 11am, at Catalina Foothills Church, 2150 E Orange Grove Rd. All are welcome.