Concrete Products

JUL 2014

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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16 • JuLY 2014 www.concreteproducts.com GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS TRANSPORTATION In conjunction with the mid-June launch of a campaign-style website, www.fixthefund. org, and federal construction interests' Rally for Roads on Capitol Hill, American Society of Civil Engineers' Becky Moylan offered perspec- tive on past, present and future of the federal transportation program. The Highway Trust Fund is Running Out of Money Because We Waste Money. Thanks to the Intermodal Surface Transpor- tation Effciency Act (ISTEA), frst passed in 1991, transportation projects are planned, developed and executed effciently while utilizing innovation. Grades in the ASCE Re- port Card prove that when we invest in in- frastructure, we see results. The 2013 Report Card saw improvement in six infrastructure sectors that benefted from private invest- ment, targeted efforts from cities and states, or a one-time federal funding boost. Communities oftentimes know where money will be best utilized, and the High- way Trust Fund (HTF) allows many trans- portation project decisions to be made on the state and local levels. For example, fed- eral funding eligibility for bicycle lanes is a concern in many places. Since there is a growing national share of bicycle and pedes- trian fatalities that needs to be addressed through better road design and other proven countermeasures, the Fund allows a commu- nity to identify this need on its own roads and decide how to best design bike lanes. The Federal Government Should Get Out of the Infrastructure Business and Let States Make Their Own Decisions. The HTF is designed to assist states in paying (historically about 45 percent) for transpor- tation projects for many reasons, and it is a system that has served the country well. The cost of transportation projects is a huge ex- pense and states do not have the funding to go this alone. The U.S. Constitution's Com- merce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) grants Congress the power to invest and maintain roads, bridges and transit. From the Interstate Highway System (keyword: Interstate) to our ever-expanding electrical grid, infrastructure is indeed a national is- sue that must be addressed through a na- tional vision. The Current Gas Tax Rate is Perfect and Does Not Need to Be Changed. The HTF is how Congress provides federal fund- ing for transportation projects. It was creat- ed in 1956 to be funded by the federal gas tax. The U.S. Department of Transportation projects that the HTF Highway Account will run out of money for new projects as ear- ly as July. According to the Congressional Budget Offce, to prevent HTF insolvency in 2015, federal surface transportation invest- ment would have to be cut by 92 percent that fscal year. The gas tax is not tied to in- fation and hasn't been raised in more than 20 years. We are trying to run a 2014 trans- portation system on 1993 dollars. Consider that the cost of many items has doubled or tripled since 1993. For example, a new car cost $12,750 in 1993, whereas in 2013 a new car costs on average $31,252. The purchas- ing power of the federal gas tax dollar is not what it once was. We Can Just Raise Enough Revenue Through Tolls and Public-Private Partner- ships (P3s). Tolls and P3s can be success- ful sources of revenue, and are a part of the overall solution, but neither is a silver bul- let in fnding a sustainable long-term fund- Civil Engineers debunk Highway Trust Fund myths OBER .com R OBER T ROBERT OBER & ASSOCIATES, LLC INDUSTRIAL DESIGN CONSULTANTS SPECIALTY & RETROFIT CONTRACT ORS

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