SPECIAL EDITION: CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF THE HIGHWAY & TRANSIT BILL • Page 1-2: Cover story • Page 3: ARTBA statement • Page 6-7: Summary of the final bill
J U LY 2 , 2 0 1 2
ARTBA Warns of Soot Standard Proposal on Highway Funds
33 Months Late, Congress Passes 27-Month Transportation Bill
Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power June 28, Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA) and chairman of ARTBA’s Council of State Executives, told Congress that stricter standards for particulate matter (PM) or soot proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Continued on page 3
House Approves Status Quo Investment Levels The U.S. House of Representatives June 29 voted 261-163 to approve legislation that would provide $39.1 billion in federal highway investment and $10.2 billion for the transit formula and fixed rail programs in FY 2013—these levels are slightly lower than the multiyear conference report passed by Congress the same day (Appropriations Committee members have indicated this discrepancy could be addressed as the process moves forward.) Continued on page 4 Follow ARTBA:
After 33 months and nine extensions, Congress approved June 29 the final conference report on H.R. 4348, the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21). Upon President Obama’s expected signature, the legislation will authorize federal highway and transit investment through September 30, 2014. The bill is essentially a final 3-month extension of SAFETEA-LU coupled with a new two-year authorization of the federal highway, transit
and safety programs. A brief summary of the bill is provided on pages 6-7 in this issue of the “Washington Newsline.” ARTBA wrote all members of Congress ahead of the votes urging support for the legislation, which received overwhelming bipartisan support despite 52 Representatives and 19 Senators opposing the bill—all Republicans. View how your elected officials in the House & Senate voted. While the June 29 vote was
a step in the right direction and demonstrates the broad bipartisan support for strong federal leadership in the transportation area, the final agreement did not provide a long-term solution to bolster or reengineer the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue streams. The 27-month duration of the law means legislators, and ARTBA, will immediately pivot to finding a solution to the trust fund’s revenue challenges before the October 1, 2014, Continued on page 2
ARTBA Engineering Issues Events: RSVP to Brie Johnson for WASHTO by July 6 & MAASTO by July 13 ARTBA Washington Newsline
Transportation Bill Continued from page 1
expiration of MAP-21. The House and Senate also approved June 29 a one-week extension of current law, which, if needed would keep the
programs operational until the bill is sent to the President. ARTBA thanks all members, chapter affiliates, and supporters for your activism during the past several years. This progress would not be possible without your support, from the
thorough policy recommendations of the SAFETEA-LU Reauthorization Task Force convened in 2005, to the thousands of grassroots contacts you have made with your elected officials. Thank you, and have a great holiday.
The chart below shows current investment levels (FY 2012) and what the bill would provide over the next two years: Program Highway ob limit Exempt CA
FY 2012 $39.144 billion $0.639 billion
FY 2013 $39.699 billion $0.639 billion
FY 2014 $40.256 billion $0.639 billion
Transit program 1 Formula programs Capital Investment Grants
$1.955 billion $0.044 billion $0.099 billion $10.459 billion
$1.907 billion $0.089 billion $0.104 billion $10.578 billion
$1.907 billion $0.089 billion $0.104 billion $10.695 billion
Research & training Administration Transit total 1
There is no provision establishing an overall obligation ceiling for the public transportation program for FY 2013 and FY 2014.
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ARTBA Congressional Testimony on Proposed Soot Standards Continued from page 1
could endanger needed transportation improvements. The proposed regulation “creates a counterproductive cycle where new standards delay needed improvements to the nation’s highway and bridge network, which has already reached ‘critical mass’ in terms of being able to serve the needs of our citizens and economy,” Herbst explained. “States and counties need predictability and time to develop transportation plans which achieve PM reduction and create jobs. Adding a new layer of requirements on top of existing standards that have not been
fully implemented only complicates these ongoing efforts.” He noted that existing projects deemed to be in compliance with the Clean Air Act when first undertaken could be thrown out of compliance if new standards are approved, exposing project owners to costly, time-consuming litigation. Read the full testimony.
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ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane’s Statement on Congressional Passage of the Highway & Transit Bill
Products & Services Free Webinar: Marsh-ARTBA Heavy Highway Insurance Program Tuesday, July 17 1 – 2 p.m., Eastern Marsh and ARTBA have developed an exclusive insurance program for best-inclass heavy/ highway contractors. Join ARTBA’s Rich Juliano and Brad Sant, along with Jim Bly, managing director, Marsh Construction Practice; Brian Shea, senior vice president, Arch Insurance Group; and Peter Fritz, assistant vice president, Arch Insurance Group to learn how this program can lower your casualty insurance cost and grow your bottom line in this competitive market. For more information and to register, visit: www.artba.org/webinars.
“In the short term, the bill will provide stability in federal funding for state and local transportation projects. The elimination of earmarks should also accelerate the speed at which federal funds impact the market for transportation improvements. That’s the good news. “The bad news is there is no new money. And even with their federal funds, we are now in a situation where 28 states have invested less in highway and bridge projects over the past 12 months than they did in pre-recession 2008, even when adjusted for inflation. “We view this bill—as we believe congressional leaders do—as just ‘Step One,’ which is making the significant program and policy reforms needed to restore public confidence in how the federal government is investing their money in transportation and mobility. “‘Step Two’ is coming to grips with how to fund the nation’s investments in transportation infrastructure and mobility over the longer term. That tough job remains. And it will require the same bipartisan, bicameral leadership and cooperation that was ultimately demonstrated on this bill. “Our mission is crystal clear: to do everything possible to ensure that the proper level of transportation investment is viewed as a core priority as the looming larger discussion and legislative activity begins in earnest on Capitol Hill to define the proper role of the federal government in the 21st century and how it utilizes the public’s money. “We commend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), EPW Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.), and T&I Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.), for their steadfast leadership and dogged determination to get the job done.“ ARTBA Washington Newsline
Overheard “We don’t build bridges anymore. We don’t build tunnels, we don’t build airports, we don’t built large, visionary capital projects. Why? Because it’s very hard and difficult and risky and there’s always opposition…I will prevail in the end, but I’m sure it’s going to be a long and difficult journey.” N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), in a June 26 “New York Times” article expressing his determination to move forward on the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge in Westchester County. “President Obama, Mitt Romney and politicians all over Washington have described the scheduled student-loan hike as some sort of economic emergency. It isn’t. Keeping the student-loan rate extra low is an expensive gimmick. Funding highways is a basic federal responsibility.” “Washington Post” editorial June 24. “America’s infrastructure needs are so huge, and so painfully obvious, that it’s mind-boggling we’re not investing more. The U.S. government can now borrow for five years at about 0.75% and for 10 years at about 1.7%. Both rates are far below expected inflation, making real interest rates sharply negative. Yet legions of skilled construction workers remain unemployed while we drive our cars over pothole-laden roads and creaky bridges. Does this make sense?” Economist Alan Blinder in a June 25 “Wall Street Journal” op-ed.
ART BA Washington Newsline
Legislative & Regulatory News House Approves Status Quo Investment Levels
ARTBA Chair Participates in White House Event on Infrastructure and Jobs
Continued from page 1
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2013 transportation funding measure April 19, but has not yet scheduled consideration by the full Senate. The Senate proposal also would fund the core federal highway program at $39.1 billion, but would increase federal transit capital investments by $89 million above current levels compared to the House bill’s $138 million cut. Prior to final passage, the House voted on four amendments to the appropriations bill. The House approved amendments by: Representative Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) to block federal funds for the Third Street Light Rail project in San Francisco, Calif.; Representative Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) to block federal funds for high-speed rail investment in California; and, Representative James Lankford (R-Okla.) to block use of the appropriated funds to enforce the Migratory Bird Act. The House rejected an amendment offered by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to reduce the bill’s overall investment levels by one percent.
2012 ARTBA Chairman and HNTB Holdings President, Paul Yarossi (front row, first on right) joined business leaders and infrastructure experts at the White House June 27 to discuss strategies for creating “Jobs of the Future” in infrastructure, particularly within the Latino community. The group of business leaders, state and local government transportation agency leaders, transit and toll road officials and senior administration officials discussed U.S. policies and views toward infrastructure. They also shared success stories, best practices and thoughts on how to continue to support job growth.
A service of ARTBA’s multimodal councils, it features current transportation developments making news across all modes and regions. Contact: Caitrin Reed to become a subscriber.
TRB Newsletter: June 26
Highlighting new research, technologies, industry best practices and information resources available to the transportation design and construction industry.
The following ad appeared in Capitol Hill newspapers “Politico” and “Roll Call” Friday, June 29 before the final congressional vote on the transportation bill.
Everyone Agrees, Congress Needs to
Pass the Highway & Transit Bill
“Washington Post” editorial, June 24: Alan Blinder, professor of
Congress should fund the transportation bill…Funding highways is a basic federal responsibility.”
House Speaker John Boehner
(R-Ohio), “The Hill,” June 21:
“House Republicans want to get a highway bill done.”
American Conservative Union Chair, Al Cardenas, “Washington Examiner”
economics and public affairs at Princeton University and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, “Wall Street Journal” op-ed, June 26:
“Unlike private investment, inadequate public investment is part of the problem. America’s infrastructure needs are so huge, and so painfully obvious, that it’s mind-boggling we’re not investing more.”
op-ed, June 21:
“...not passing a [highway/transit] bill will hurt our already suffering economy…Failure to pass a transportation bill would have a negative effect on commerce and the businesses that count on safe and reliable roads.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), “Politico,” June 5:
“...We’re talking about millions of jobs.
Vote for the Surface Transportation Bill Conference Report. www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org
ARTBA SUMMARY OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BILL To assure that the Highway Trust Fund has sufficient resources to finance the federal highway and transit investment levels, MAP-21: • • •
Extends the federal motor fuel taxes through September 30, 2016, and the truck excise taxes through September 30, 2017; Transfers $2.4 billion from the Liquid Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund into the HTF; and Shifts $18.8 billion from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund, including $16.6 billion to the Highway Account and $2.2 billion to the Mass Transit Account.
Surface Transportation Program. The Surface Transportation Program is continued largely as in SAFETEA-LU. The program would also allow funds to be used to support bridges off the federal-aid system.
To offset the budgetary impact of these transfers, the bill generates a total of $20.4 billion of new revenues over the next ten years through provisions affecting pension funding stabilization, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation premiums and provisions affecting the taxation of life insurance.
National Freight Policy. Although MAP-21 does not include a separate freight program, as was in the Senate bill, it does create a National Freight Policy designed to improve the condition and performance of the national freight network. The bill requires the Secretary of Transportation to:
Highway Program Details: State Distribution Formula. For FY 2013, each state will receive a total apportionment of highway program funds equal to its total apportionment in FY 2012. For FY 2014, the apportionment formula will begin with the FY 2012 shares followed by an adjustment to assure that no state receives less than 95 percent of its contribution to the Highway Trust Fund . Once the apportionment of funds among the states is determined, each state’s total will be divided among programs using the following formula:
• • •
CMAQ and Metropolitan Planning– the same share of the state’s total apportionment as in FY 2009; 63.7 percent of the remaining funds to the National Highway Performance Program; 29.3 percent of the remaining funds to the Surface Transportation Program; and 7 percent of remaining funds to the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
Beginning October 1, 2012, MAP-21 collapses SAFETEA-LU program structure into five main programs: • • • • •
National Highway Performance Program; Surface Transportation Program; Highway Safety Improvement Program; Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program; and Metropolitan Planning
National Highway Performance Program. The bill combines the SAFETEA-LU National Highway System (NHS) and Interstate Maintenance Programs and part of the Bridge Program into one new National Highway Performance Program to provide support for the condition and performance of the NHS, construction of new facilities, and to assure that investments in the NHS achieve performance standards set in the state’s asset management plan for the NHS. Eligible expenditures remain essentially the same as in the SAFETEA-LU NHS program, including highway and bridge improvements, safety improvements, flexing funds to transit, and environmental mitigation, among many others, as well as many of the eligible expenditures under the SAFETEA-LU bridge program. Each state is required to set goals to maintain or improve 6
NHS conditions and performance consistent with minimum levels established by the Secretary of Transportation, develop an asset management plan to achieve those goals, and report annually on progress toward the goals. Failure by a state to achieve maintenance standards for Interstate Highways and bridges will trigger spending requirements set by the bill.
ART BA Washington Newsline
Establish a national freight network, to include up to 27,000 miles of roads that are critical to the movement of freight in the U.S., plus all other portions of the Interstate Highway System, plus any rural road designated by a state that carries significant truck traffic; Develop a national freight strategic plan, which is to assess the condition and performance of the national freight network, identify freight bottlenecks and major trade gateways, suggest potential improvements and identify best practices for improving freight transportation; Encourage states to develop a state freight plan, including identification of significant freight trends in the state, an inventory of freight bottlenecks, and a description of procedures the state will use to make investment decisions involving freight transportation; and Increase the federal share of costs to 95 percent for freight-related projects on the Interstate Highways and to 90 percent on other roads , to encourage states to make freight-improvement investments.
Environmental Streamlining: The bill includes several significant changes to the review and approval process for transportation projects. The bill also includes two of ARTBA’s long-held priorities in reforming the review and approval process: greater “lead agency authority” for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the integration of the planning and NEPA processes. DOT (or a modal agency of its choice), as lead agency, now has the option to call a meeting of participating agencies and set a schedule for the review process. Additionally, there is a dispute resolution process which can now be used to resolve differences between cooperating agencies. Also, the bill allows for the utilization of planning process documents in the NEPA process, though it does not mandate such use. Still, this is an improvement over the current process as it provides an opportunity to avoid duplication of work. MAP-21 also will allow for the expanded use of the categorical exclusion (CE) process in a number of additional areas. The CE process, which is the least rigorous form of review, is used where projects will only have minimal, if any, environmental impacts. CEs may now be used for: projects within
ARTBA SUMMARY OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BILL (CONT.) an existing right-of-way; certain components of multi-modal projects; repair and reconstruction of existing roads, highways and bridges; projects damaged by natural disaster; and projects receiving minimal federal funds. The bill allows projects developing a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) to simply attach a document showing changes to the original environmental impact statements (EIS) when additional information is so minor that it does not warrant preparation of a completely new document. Additionally, projects in the EIS phase for more than two years have the option of requesting the U.S. DOT to set a schedule to ensure the project will be completed within four years. The bill also continues SAFETEA-LU’s efforts to delegate responsibilities to states, allowing all states to assume control of either CEs or the entire environmental review process. Additionally, states are allowed to use Surface Transportation Program funds to cover legal costs associated with delegation.
tor Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) to the earlier, Senate-passed MAP-21 are not included in the final bill. Those provisions would have prohibited the use of Private Activity Bonds on leases of existing highway assets, lengthened the depreciation schedule for leases of existing highway assets, and penalized states with reductions in federal formula funds if they leased existing highway assets to the private sector. ARTBA strongly opposed the Bingaman provisions throughout the reauthorization process. Other Policy Provisions: • • •
The bill narrows the 180-day time limit to file lawsuits on a project decision started in SAFETEA-LU to 150 days. Further, the bill would establish time limits on permitting decisions. Agencies must issue decisions on permits for transportation projects within 180 days of the application or the final NEPA decision on the project, whichever is later. Public-Private Partnerships: The bill makes strategic investments to attract private sector resources. Specifically, the bill will increase funding for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program from $122 million per year to $750 million in FY 2013 and $1 billion in FY 2014. Additionally, the agreement would increase the maximum potential TIFIA share of total project costs from 33 percent to 49 percent. The financial leverage reflected in TIFIA’s statutory formula demonstrates that $1 billion in federal credit assistance would now have the potential to support more than $20 billion in project activity. This outcome, however, would require full utilization of the program’s capacity.
The bill removes the ban on using Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) Program funds on projects which would add new capacity for single occupancy vehicles; Requires annual report in a user-friendly format on the Internet with information on all projects for which federal funds were obligated, as recommended by ARTBA; Establishes Transportation Alternatives program that would dedicate two percent of the amounts provided to states by formula for activities including bike and pedestrian trails, safe routes for children and individuals with disabilities, abandoned rail conversions, community improvement activities and environmental mitigation activities. According to Capitol Hill sources, the two percent threshold represents a $300 million reduction from what these activities received annually under SAFETEA-LU; Includes requirements for the development of updated national bridge and tunnel inspection standards, including penalties for states that remain non-compliant, and a training program for bridge and tunnel inspectors.
ARTBA will be producing a more detailed analysis of the new surface transportation law in the coming weeks.
The Bill would also adopt a proposal contained in the Senate-passed legislation that would allow a group of related transportation improvements to apply together as a unified program for TIFIA assistance rather than limiting credit assistance to individual projects. This change will enable state and local governments to potentially use a revenue-generating infrastructure project, such as a popular toll road, to finance other improvements that cannot feasibly generate its own revenues. Finally, the agreement would expand the ability of states to use tolls on federal-aid highway capacity projects. However, the number of toll-free lanes must at least remain the same as before construction. The three amendments successfully added by retiring SenaDownload a PDF copy of the digital “Washington Newsline.” ARTBA Washington Newsline
Highway & Transit Reauthorization Bill Reactions
“Not only will this reform bill provide a boost to the economy and the construction industry, but it is a big win for the middle class, business, and our environment. This agreement provides stability and flexibility for the nation’s transportation planners, invests in America’s crumbling roads and bridges, and puts people back to work.” Senate EPW Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) “As with any compromise, we didn’t get everything we wanted, but I believe we truly have a good bill - one conservatives can be proud to support.” Senate EPW Committee Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) “‘Shovel ready’ became a national joke because projects get bogged down for years in the wasteful, bureaucratic project review process. The dramatic reforms in this measure will get projects moving by cutting the red tape that delays projects across the country and drives up construction costs. This measure also shrinks the federal bureaucracy.” House T&I Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) “It’s not a perfect bill, but we’ll vote for it.” House T&I Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), speaking for other Democrats serving on the committee
“This is a big win for Montana jobs because highways are our lifeblood. I worked hard to make sure Montana had a seat at the table and I’m proud that we were able to get the job done for Montana families.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (DMont.) “I’m kind of disappointed Keystone is not in there.” Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-Ga.)
“It won’t move us forward; it will keep us limping along.” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon)
“I am pleased that this bipartisan agreement rejects nearly $7 billion in tax hikes proposed by the Senate and reinforces the fiscally conservative belief that Washington must live within its means.” Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.)
“Lawmakers deserve credit for including reforms such as environmental review streamlining, consolidating or eliminating programs, and giving states more flexibility on how to use their federal transportation dollars. However, the bill spends too much and does not keep spending in line with what the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) brings in through the federal gas tax.” Emily J. Goff, research associate, Heritage Foundation
“This legislation, while not all we could have hoped for as an industry and as users of the highway system, makes tremendous strides in the safety arena and puts down a marker for future improvements to our nation’s freight infrastructure.” Bill Graves, president & CEO, American Trucking
“Our nation needs investments in transportation and a modern infrastructure that keeps us globally competitive. With a 20 percent cost disadvantage to doing business in the United States, investment and updates to our nation’s transportation infrastructure are absolutely essential to manufacturers’ ability to compete and create jobs.” Jay Timmons, president & CEO, National Association of Manufacturers “This legislation is the right thing to do to create jobs, improve safety and spur the growth of the American economy. It is vital to ensure a safe, efficient and reliable highway system, the foundation upon which all other infrastructure depends.” Joy Pinniger, president & CEO, National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association “This two-year bill is the right step forward…The additional year of funding will bring short-term certainty for the highway market and, at the very least, will help sustain jobs in the asphalt pavement industry.” Mike Acott, president, National Asphalt Pavement Association “While MAP-21 provides badly needed funding and reform to the federal program, AEM believes that Congress must seriously consider long term investment in our nation’s infrastructure.” Dennis Slater, president, Association of Equipment Manufacturers “This cobbled-together bill will continue bailouts for highway spending, it will continue subsidies to student loans that will further increase tuition rates, and it will pay for all of this with accounting gimmicks and more debt.” Chris Chocola, president, Club for Growth
www.lotransvirtualconference.org September 18-20 ARTBA’s Transportation Officials Division and its allies from the public and private sectors are joining forces to host LoTrans™ 2012, the Local Transportation Asset Management Virtual Conference & Innovation Showcase featuring “Best Practices in Work Zone Safety.” Conference charter partners include the: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Association of County Engineers, National Local Technical Assistance Program Association, and the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse. Scheduled for September 18-20 at Video Length: 2 and a half minutes your desktop or laptop computer, this educational and professional development event is aimed primarily at state, county and city government officials who annually manage $50 billion in transportation infrastructure capital investments, maintenance, engineering and traffic services, and snow removal. There is no charge to attend this virtual conference. No travel expenses. No time away from the office or family. Just 30+ presentations by national industry leaders, and exhibitors with products and services that will help make your agency more efficient. Among the session topics: Asset Management • Bridge preservation • Tort liability & risk management • FHWA’s “Every Day Counts” • Negotiating contracts with A/E firms • Environmental legal issues overview • Utility re-location • Maximizing local resources for successful federal-aid projects • Crisis communications preparation Work Zone Safety • Speed management in work zones • Avoid runovers and backovers • The art of making workers and traffic control devices visible • Towards zero deaths—from concept to reality: an overview of efforts from around the world • Work zone access and egress strategies • Using technology to make work zones safer • Safety strategies for local and rural roads • Best safety practices from leading U.S. contractors
Register today at www.lotransvirtualconference.org!
ARTBA Washington Newsline
AUniqueWorkshopforTransportationDesign&ConstructionProfessionals July 25-27 Lansdowne Resort & Conference Center Leesburg, Va. • • • •
Learn how leading firms are creating and sustaining growth through innovation. Develop strategies for fostering innovative practices into everyday project management. See how new technologies are changing the way we design, build and manage transportation infrastructure. Participate in a collaborative workshop with state DOT officials on ways to reduce roadway fatalities.
Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administrator
Danny Forster, Host of “Build It Bigger,” Discovery Channel
ART BA Washington Newsline
Ted Zoli, HNTB Senior Vice President
Ross Smith, Microsoft, Director of Test
James Pinkerton, Fox News Channel
John Hillman, HC Bridge Company President & CEO
Sean Connaughton, Secretary of Transportation, Commonwealth of Virginia
ARTBA Digital Washington Newsline for July 2, 2012