As part of ACPA’s ongoing ConcreteCOMPETES* initiative, Leif Wathne testified Thursday before the Ohio State Senate’s Transportation Committee to voice strong support of the competition amendment in the legislature’s Amended Substitute House Bill 74.
In general terms, the amendment encourages inter-industry competition among paving materials industries; prohibits adoption of any requirements or guidelines favoring a single type of pavement type in highway bidding; and to comply with FHWA guidelines and recommendations related to pavement design; use of alt bidding; and the promotion of competition.
“This amendment language is a good idea first and foremost because it will enable Ohio to further extend the purchasing power of its precious highway dollar,” Leif said in his testimony. He added that embracing competition would allow the state to realize significant direct savings to taxpayers and future generations of road users, while also spurring innovation, enhancing highway quality, and supporting an important Ohio industry. He noted the broader concrete industry employs nearly 19,000 people in well-paying jobs and contributes $1.4 billion to state revenues.
Leif commented that Ohio’s pavement marketplace has devolved from a healthy two-pavement competitive system into a single-pavement, asphalt-dominated system. As a result, the concrete pavement industry is now faced with competing against an effective pavement-type monopoly by the asphalt industry, which now has more than 90 percent of the DOT paving market year after year. In his testimony, Leif cited third-party research conducted by the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub.
When presenting research and other fact-based information in this (and other) testimony addressing competition, ACPA is often struck with what appears to be opposition that is intended to maintain the status quo. “There are really no cogent arguments that support a lack of inter-industry competition and continuation of a system that only leverages the cost benefits, expertise, and innovation of one pavement industry in an agency’s program,” Wathne says. Click here to see the amendment and here to see the full testimony.
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