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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18 • JuLY 2014 www.concreteproducts.com GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS TRANSPORTATION ing source. Historically, federal highway funding has accounted for approximately 45 percent of what state DOTs spend on highway and bridge capital improvements. Quite simply, the federal government must lead on the issue of funding. For the 2015-2024 window, the cumulative short- fall in the HTF Highway and Mass Transit accounts will exceed $170 billion. This is too large a fgure for anyone to expect to be flled by tolling and P3s. While as House Transportation and Infrastructure Commit- tee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has said, "the private sector continues to show sig- nifcant, growing interest in investing in infrastructure," it cannot be a substitute for federal investment and leadership. The key is fnding a long-term, sus- tainable funding source. P3s and tolls are pieces of the puzzle, and when partnered with a sustainable revenue stream, can help ensure reliable revenue for the HTF. We Don't Have Enough Revenue Because People Are Driving Less. Over the past two years, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) actually increased by 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively. A VMT decrease after 2007 coincid- ed with the recession. As the economy continues to improve, more employees will return to work, increasing VMT. Furthermore, the U.S. population grows each year by just under three million, and the number of licensed drivers also grows by two million. It is estimated this growth trend will lead to an increase of 25 billion VMT annually. Raising the Gas Tax Would Hurt Economic Growth. In Failure to Act economic studies, ASCE explores the consequences of continued underin- vestment in infrastructure. Ultimately, the stud- ies conclude that our deteriorating infrastruc- ture will cost the American economy more than 867,000 jobs in 2020 and suppress the growth of our GDP by $897 billion. Per household, the cost of defcient surface transportation will cost $1,060 per year. To simplify, a homeowner can either fx a leaky roof now or wait for his or her home to eventually cave. Clearly, the former is much more cost effective. Our nation's infrastruc- ture needs to be tended to and funded now, or we will all continue to pay for it in a multitude of ways at much higher costs. The Gas Tax Isn't Raising Enough Money Because Cars are More Fuel Effcient. Between 2012 and 2022 gas tax revenues will decrease by less than 1 percent ($2.5 billion), the Congressio- nal Budge Offce estimates. The issue at hand is not really fuel effciency, but rather that the gas tax has not been increased since 1993. In the 20 years since, it has lost more than a third of its val- ue because of infation. Fuel effciency will become more of a problem as related technology continues to advance in the coming decades, but in the near term it is less of a problem than often stated. We Can Afford to Do a Short-Term Bill and Maintain the Status Quo. Not this time. The 2012 surface transportation law, MAP-21, temporarily preserved levels of federal highway and public transportation investment by supple- menting existing HTF revenues with other federal resources. Since 2008, over $52 billion has been transferred from the General Fund to keep the HTF solvent. MAP-21's funding will run out as the HTF be- comes insolvent weeks, or more likely months, before the law intended the money to end. At- tempting to "Band-Aid" the Fund once again will only result in this becoming a recurring issue. States cannot plan needed infrastructure projects without committed funding. As the impending insolvency demonstrates, there is currently not enough revenue to support the system. Furthermore, the ASCE 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure graded our nation's infra- structure at a D+. Clearly that status quo is not enough in helping the U.S. build a 21st century in- frastructure capable of competing on a global scale.

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