Pavement Preservation Journal - Spring 2015 - (Page 17)

By Tracy D. Taylor A s a new class of senators and representatives is settling into offices for the 114th Congress, time is rapidly ticking towards the expiration of the MAP-21 extension on May 31, 2015. Congress has been here before. What is different? While transportation issues are historically bipartisan, the Republican takeover of the Senate in November brought changes to Congress which will likely facilitate a more open working relationship between the two bodies in terms of the content of a new surface transportation reauthorization and the more difficult part of the project, identifying politically acceptable ways to fund it. A long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill is one of a handful of bills in which leadership in the House and the Senate has indicated a desire to tackle early in the year. In particular, there has been much talk among transportation leaders in both bodies about the need for a six-year bill, with a permanent fix to the funding problem, in which existing revenue streams like federal excise taxes no longer are sufficient to meet needs. There are good reasons for this. In addition to being critical to ensure that our infrastructure is maintained, passage of a long term highway reauthorization bill would be a key way to show the country that Republicans can, in fact, govern. It also would give needed certainty to state transportation agencies so they can program improvements and analyze their systems to better allocate assets via the cost saving strategies upon which the pavement preservation industry is based. Unfortunately, with the increase in fuel efficiency and the higher cost of construction, maintaining the Highway Trust Fund at current levels requires an additional $45 billion a year. Senate Republicans in key positions seem open to looking at all funding options, including raising the fee to use roads by increasing the current 18.4 cent a gallon gas tax for the first time in over 20 years. Unfortunately key House Republicans such as Speaker Boehner and Ways & Means Chairman Paul Ryan have indicated that they do not believe an increase in this user fee could pass the House of Representatives. Both the House and the Senate are actively exploring other funding options in order to find a funding solution prior to the May 31 expiration of the MAP-21 extension. Mechanisms they are looking at in addition to raising the highway user fee include a tax on the refiners, off-setting the cost with repatriated corporate funds, funding transportation House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee chair Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) Senate Environment & Public Works Committee chair Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.) in conjunction with corporate tax reform and budget reconciliation, and utilizing dynamic scoring. In the end, a solution will likely involve a combination of approaches. Surface transportation reauthorization - what we used to call the "Highway Bill" - provides an excellent opportunity to educate Congress about the value and benefits of pavement preservation, and FP2 has been doing just that. FP2 started the year by taking a group of board members to the Hill with a strong message to pass a long term highway reauthorization bill and promote pavement preservation. This effort has continued into the spring. At a time when dollars are short and needs are great, employing a vigorous pavement preservation plan which maintains roads in better condition while decreasing the equivalent annual cost and extending the life of the road provides makes sense to policymakers and tax payers alike. With gas prices at their lowest in years, and a Congress eager to fix age-old problems, 2015 is ripe for passage of a long-term reauthorization. But it won't be done without your help. Please reach out to your congressman and senators, and let them know that you support a long-term highway reauthorization which promotes wise investments in pavement preservation. You can begin with ideas describing the benefits to taxpayers of pavement preservation in 2015 reauthorization, which can be found on FP2's web site. Please visit fp2.org for more information.  Taylor is principal, Williams & Jensen, PLLC, FP2 Inc.'s representative on Capitol Hill Spring 2015 pavement preservation journal 17 HOW FP2 WORKS FOR YOU New Congress Means New Push Toward Reauthorization http://www.fp2.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pavement Preservation Journal - Spring 2015

President’s Message
Hot, Cold In-Place Recycling Gets Boost at Western States Conference
Fort Collins HIR Project Provides Delegates with Up-Close Look
NCAT Reports 2012 Cycle Results, 2015 Preservation Activities
New Congress Means New Push Toward Reauthorization
FP² at TRB
Pavement Preservation in Spotlight at World of Asphalt 2015 in March
Control Potholes by Sealing Cracks, Joints in Advance
‘Thinlay’ Asphalt Overlays Next Word in Pavement Preservation
Texas Considers Ultra-Thin HMA Alternatives to Seal Coats
Thin Overlays Can Preserve Pavements as Well as Reduce Surface Noise
In California, Scrub Seals Gain Favor for Cost, Crack Sealing
IGGA Recognizes Leaders in Grooving, Grinding
Index of Advertisers

Pavement Preservation Journal - Spring 2015

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