March 25 2021 0Comment

LISC Discusses Highway Bill and More

With no clear sign of the timing or exact direction the Administration will be taking on highway reauthorization, ACPA has nonetheless been working diligently with Members of Congress and Committee staff to “[put] our priorities in legislation to shape language and make sure concrete gets a fair share,” said Leif Wathne, adding that we are leveraging the expertise and talents of our contract lobbyists as well as our allies to get this done.

Examples include efforts to ensure that the AID-PT program is included in the next highway authorization, and that funding for the Airfield Pavement Technology Program (APTP) is included in 2022 appropriations. In a recent letter to House and Senate transportation committee leadership ACPA, along with partners PCA and NAPA urged Congressional Leaders to increase AID-PT funding from $12 million to $14 million while suggesting modest changes in the language to strengthen and focus the AID-PT program in a life-cycle context.

In response to a request from ACPA chapter affiliates, the LISC voted in favor of ACPA signing on in support of an infrastructure bill that would contribute $500 million toward paths and trails infrastructure. This is a provision of the Connecting America’s Active Transportation Network Act and would be funded outside of the Highway Trust Fund. The LISC support for this act provides an opportunity to pursue an important and timely measure supported by the chapters and to work in partnership with the NRMCA, which also supports the measure.  Underscoring the Chapters’ interest in these projects, Greg Dean, Carolinas Concrete Paving Association, said, “Active transportation projects are not only good for our health and the environment, they have the potential to provide good jobs for our members. A lot of these existing and future multi-use paths run adjacent to water (streams, rivers, lakes) and the resiliency benefit of concrete is well recognized by the design community in this market.”

The LISC also expressed support for championing the idea of long-life pavements (e.g. 50 or 75 years) with members of Congress and the Administration.  This has the potential to extend the purchasing power of highway investments, while also meeting the growing demand for resilience and sustainability. “With the emphasis on ‘Build Back Better’ in the context of massive infrastructure investment we have an opportunity to let our elected officials know that our industry can do just that,” Leif Wathne explained.  ACPA can take the lead on this conversation and plant the seeds of this kind of thinking to create the expectation on the Hill and within the Administration that agencies design and specify long-life solutions, rather than enduring the endless cycle of short-term band-aids most have become accustomed to expecting and accepting.  This message also meshes with and complements the sustainability and resilience efforts in our industry and the push to achieve carbon neutrality across the concrete value chain by 2050,” he added.

Look for updates on these items in future issues of ACPA TODAY. Members of the ACPA Legislative Issues Committee (LIC) also have an opportunity to see all our government affairs stories in a monthly digest we call the ACPA “Government Affairs Monthly Digest.” To receive the digest, you must be a member of the ACPA LIC. Click here to sign up.

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