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Newsline Washington

SEPTEMBER 19, 2011

President Signs Surface & Aviation Program Extensions

Norquist & Rendell Spar on Transportation Investment

President Obama September 16 signed H.R. 2887, legislation that combines a six-month highway/transit program extension and a four-month aviation program extension. The measure cleared the U.S. House of Representatives September 13 with relative ease, but met opposition from Senators Tom Coburn Continued on page 3

Using Coal Ash Will Save $100+ Billion Over 20 Years The cost to build roads, runways and bridges would increase by an estimated $104.6 billion over the next 20 years if coal fly ash is no longer available as a transportation construction building material, according to a new study by the ARTBA Foundation. Fly ash—a byproduct of coal combustion—is widely used as a supplementary material in the production of concrete and is a mixture of choice for many Continued on page 4

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist butted heads for 60 minutes about transportation investment, taxes and federal government budget priorities during a September 16 policy debate at Washington’s Union Station. Norquist criticized the stimulus and the President’s latest jobs proposal saying it was more of “the same thing.” He acknowledged the need to make improvements to the nation’s roads and bridges, and

said he would not oppose a gas tax increase if it was offset by tax cuts elsewhere. Rendell said that a $200 billion infrastructure investment spread out over a decade would create five million jobs. He called on Congress to act on a long-term highway and transit reauthorization bill that significantly boosts investment. Following the debate, a panel of experts, including the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee majority staff director, and representatives from UPS, the

Small Business Legislative Council and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, shared their views for improving the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure. More than 200 congressional staff, news media, association executives and other opinion leaders attended the event hosted by “National Journal,” and co-sponsored by ARTBA and the American Public Transportation Association. Watch the full debate.

Sept. 27: FREE National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse Webinar, see page 5. ARTBA Washington Newsline


Tom Friedman: “The Whole Truth & Nothing But” A recent column from Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Tom Friedman of the “New York Times” caught our eye because of its very interesting observations. In case you missed it, here is part of what he said: “Can you remember the last time you felt a national leader looked us in the eye and told us there is no easy solution to our major problems, that we’ve gotten into this mess by being self-indulgent or ideologically fixated over two decades and that now we need to spend the next five years rolling up our sleeves, possibly accepting a lower living standard and making up for our excesses? For me, this is the most important thing to say both on the anniversary of 9/11 and on the eve of President Obama’s jobs speech. After all, they are intertwined. Why has this been a lost decade? An answer can be found in one simple comparison: How Dwight Eisenhower and his successors used the cold war and how George W. Bush used 9/11. America had to face down the Russians in the cold war. America had to respond to 9/11 and the threat of Al Qaeda. “But the critical difference between the two was this: Beginning with Eisenhower and continuing to some degree with every cold war president, we used the cold war and the Russian threat as a reason and motivator to do big, hard things together at home — to do nation-building in America. We used it to build the interstate highway system, put a man on the moon, push out the boundaries of science, teach new languages, maintain fiscal discipline and, when needed, raise taxes. We won the cold war with collective action. “George W. Bush did the opposite. He used 9/11 as an excuse to lower taxes, to start two wars that—or the first time in our history — were not paid for by tax increases, and to create a costly new entitlement in Medicare prescription drugs. Imagine where we’d be today if on the morning of 9/12 Bush had announced (as some of us advocated) a “Patriot Tax” of $1 per gallon of gas to pay for education, infrastructure and government research, to help finance our wars and to slash our dependence on Middle East oil. Gasoline in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, averaged $1.66 a gallon.” Read the full column.

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ART BA Washington Newsline

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Obama Signs Transportation Extension Continued from page 1

(R-Okla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) before Senate passage September 15. Coburn threatened to block the legislation, using a parliamentary technique, unless the Senate eliminated the requirement that 10 percent of each state’ Surface Transportation Program (STP) disbursements be setaside for so-called “transportation enhancements”—allocations usually made to non-motorized transportation. Paul also sought to reduce the measure’s highway

authorization levels by $14 billion and the transit program by $3 billion. Paul also wanted to cut aviation funding to the 2008 levels. A deal was struck allowing Paul to offer two amendments to effect his wishes— both were defeated. Senators voting with Paul to cut the extension’s highway and transit authorizations were: Tom Coburn (R-Okla.); Jim DeMint (R-S.C.); Ron Johnson (R-Wis.); Mike Lee (R-Utah); Pat

Toomey (R-Pa.); John McCain (R-Ariz.); John Kyl (R-Ariz.); Mike Crapo (R-Idaho); Jim Risch (R-Idaho); Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.); Bob Corker (R-Tenn.); Dan Coats (R-Ind.); and Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

23rd Annual P3s in Transportation Conference

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November 15-16, 2011 Washington, D.C.

Paying too much for maintenance and repair costs on your office automation equipment? Simply Service Network Advantage Program offers the efficiency of a single agreement and contract for servicing your office equipment. Contact Peter Embrey for more information. To learn more about other products and services available, visit the ARTBA Store today!

Mayflower® Renaissance Hotel www.renaissancemayflower.com 800.228.7697 The ARTBA P3 Conference is the private infrastructure investment community’s premier opportunity to connect with hundreds of key decision makers, project sponsors, private sector finance executives, consortium leaders and officials from all levels of government. It will also feature a half-day workshop with FHWA’s Office of Innovative Program Delivery, and an optional project tour of one of the nation’s largest P3 projects—the I-495 Capital Beltway HOT Lanes. For sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact ARTBA P3 Division Manager Hank Webster at 202.289.4434.

Register : www.artbap3.org ARTBA Washington Newsline

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“”

Overheard “Mr. Obama was right to call on Congress to support investments in infrastructure. But rather than focus on oneshot infusions of money for favored projects (much like the 2009 stimulus program), the president should urge Congress to enact a multiyear reauthorization of the nation’s core surface transportation, aviation and water resources programs with full funding. ” Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce, in a September 16 WSJ op-ed, “Why the Jobs Plan Falls Short.” “It is a positive step for the country that the Congress has passed this historic combination of extensions, which is important for job creation and our nation’s infrastructure. With the FAA bill delayed four and half years and a two year delay on the highway measure, Congress must now act responsibly to enact longterm reauthorizations that will put Americans back to work and build our nation’s infrastructure.” House T&I Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) 4

ART BA Washington Newsline

Legislative & Regulatory News Using Coal Ash Will Save $100+ Billion Over 20 Years Continued from page 1

transportation departments and transportation engineers because of its performance, environmental and cost-saving benefits. Despite its many documented advantages and widespread use, new proposed disposal regulations from U.S. EPA may limit or eliminate its availability. Alison Premo Black, ARTBA senior economist and the report’s author, says the excess $5.23 billion annual direct cost includes a $2.5 billion increase in the price of materials and an additional $2.73 billion in pavement and bridge repair work due to the shorter pavement and service life of other portland cement blends. “Without the availability of fly ash, American taxpayers would ultimately bear the burden, either paying more for the same level of transportation improve¬ments, or dealing with the consequences of a scaled back improvement program,” Black said.

to do it in a way that truly supports long-term economic growth and job creation, let’s link the next highway bill to an expansion of Americanmade energy production. Removing some of the unnecessary government barriers that prevent our country from utilizing its vast energy resources could create millions of new jobs. There’s a natural link between the two: as we develop new sources of American energy, we’re going to need modern infrastructure to bring that energy to the market.” Boehner’s comments are a departure from the House GOP position to date that all future highway and transit spending must be constrained by incoming Highway Trust Fund revenues.

House Panel Unveils Temporary Spending Plan The House Appropriations Committee September 15 proposed a “continuing resolution” to fund federal government operations through November 18. The current fiscal year ends September

30 and Congress has yet to finalize any of the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund the discretionary programs, including transportation. The resolution would temporarily reduce FY 2011 investment levels for these programs by 1.5 percent while Congress works to set final appropriations marks for the full year. Transportation program investment levels for the six-week period would be: highways $40.5 billion (a decrease of $600 million); transit $10.1 billion (a drop of $200 million); and airports $3.4 billion (a $50 million decline). The Senate has not indicated how it will approach the necessary interim measure.

EPA Releases New Medium/ Heavy-Duty Vehicle Standards The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) September 15 proposed final rules to increase the fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for mediumand heavy-duty engines

Boehner Could Trade Drilling for Transportation Investment House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) September 15 suggested linking increased energy exploration and development with the surface transportation reauthorization bill. Boehner said: “I’m not opposed to responsible spending to repair and improve infrastructure. But if we want

Fostering Innovation TRB Newsletter: September 13, 2011

ARTBA is pleased to make available another service for members that highlights new research, technologies, industry best practices and information resources available to the transportation design and construction industry. This material comes from the Transportation Research Board. Read the most recent newsletter.


Cost of Banning Fly Ash Concrete ($Billions)

Source: The Economic Impacts of Prohibiting Coal Fly Ash Use in Transportation Infrastructure Construction

and vehicles. ARTBA filed comments January 31 urging the agencies to augment their regulations to compensate for any projected dilution of motor fuel tax revenues resulting from decreased fuel purchases. ARTBA has consistently supported the laudable benefits of reducing fuel consumption, but insists efforts to do so compensate for the resulting impact on Highway Trust Fund revenues. Responding to a separate EPA/ NHTSA proposal to increase light-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and GHG standards, ARTBA released a study showing future fuel efficiencies could lead to the loss of more than $65 billion in highway and transit improvements between 2017 and 2025 due to declining fuel tax revenues.

Industry Rallies Support for 3 Percent Withholding Repeal Representatives Wally Herger (R-Calif.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Richard Latta (R-N.Y.), and Joe Walsh (R-N.Y.) gathered outside of the U.S. Capitol September 14 to rally support for H.R. 674, legislation to repeal a requirement to withhold three percent of nearly all federal, state, and local government contract payments, effective January 1, 2013. The legislation has 235 bipartisan cosponsors—significant because only 218 votes are needed in the House to pass legislation. Additionally, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) included repeal of the provision in the GOP’s fall jobs agenda. In the Senate, there are two competing proposals to repeal the provision—neither of which have the same magnitude of cosponsor support as the House measure.

Upcoming Webinar A FREE National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse Webinar 2009 MUTCD Compliance Dates and Definition of Standard Statements September 27, 1-2:30 PM, Eastern The Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) team will discuss the two proposed rules that are currently open for public comments. Among the topics to be discussed will be the proposed rule on the definition of standard statements and the use of engineering judgment, and the proposed rule on MUTCD compliance dates. There is no fee for attending the webinar, but registration at least 24 hours prior to the start of this webinar is required. Register now.

Download a PDF copy of the digital “Washington Newsline.” ARTBA Washington Newsline

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Industry Events Pre-SteelDay Event Set for September 22 The National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will host a transportation-focused flagship event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on September 22 at the U.S. Department of Transportation in conjunction with SteelDay, which takes place on September 23. One of the goals of the event is to engage lawmakers interested in job creation and infrastructure and provide an opportunity for them to learn more about how steel contributes to the success of our nation. The event will also feature the AISC/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition, where college student from area universities will erect and display bridges. The bridge competition highlights the FHWA’s “Every Day Counts” initiative to underscore the benefits of Accelerated Bridge Construction. ARTBA and other industry organizations are supporting SteelDay activities. For more information and to register: www.aisc.org.

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ART BA Washington Newsline

Bridge Closure Gridlocks Midwest The six-lane Sherman Minton Bridge, spanning the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky on I-64, which was ordered closed September 9 after inspectors found a crack in a tension tie, is wreaking havoc on traffic in the Midwest. The closure has forced 80,000 vehicles onto alternative routes and doubled commuting times for thousands. “This is going to be a significant impact not just on Louisville but across the Midwest,” Becky Ruby Swansburg, spokeswoman for Greater Louisville Inc., the area’s Chamber of Commerce told the “Wall Street Journal.” “This is a national hub for logistics and advanced manufacturing…and traffic is tied up.” The Journal reports it will take three weeks to assess the damage on the bridge and that U.S. Department of Transportation hasn’t provided any timeline on when it might reopen. Read the full story.

ARTBA Chapter Executive Addresses Need for Transportation Reauthorization Bill

09_19_News  

September 19 ARTBA Digital "Washington Newsline"

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