AASHTO Journal, 25 October 2013
In addition to several MAP-21 policy resolutions (see related AASHTO Journal story here), the AASHTO Board of Directors also passed four committee position statements from the AASHTO/Associated General Contractors of America/American Road &Transportation Builders Association Joint Committee, as well as one resolution born from discussion during the meeting of AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Highways.
The AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Position Statements approved by the Board of Directors are:
AASHTO, AGC, and ARTBA agree with this statement to undertake a joint initiative to recommend that state DOTs and their contractor and construction industry partners commit to a sustained effort to demonstrate the value of transportation to customers—transportation system users and beneficiaries—employing specific and other data-driven decision-making strategies.
The Joint Committee, with this position statement, identifies several possible areas where acceleration can be achieved and recommends that state DOTs consider incorporation of some procedures into their traditional construction programs. Those procedures include allowing contractor flexibility in mobilization and start-up dates, streamlining the decision-making process, programming adequate funding to allow the project to proceed, using end result or performance-related specifications, and allowing a 60-day window between contract award and Notice to Proceed.
This position statement reiterates that AASHTO, AGC, and ARTBA’s joint committee believes the streamlining provisions in MAP-21 are among the most important—and potentially most impactful—in the new law and that they should be implemented expeditiously and retained. The statement says there is potential for significant improvements in transportation project delivery if all parties use these provisions to their maximum effect.
This position statement works off MAP-21’s establishment of a National Freight Policy, which then urges states to develop freight plans of their own. The law also encourages each state to create a freight advisory committee that would serve as a discussion forum for freight-related transportation decisions, coordinate regional freight priorities with other organizations, promote information-sharing between the public and private sectors, and help develop state freight plans. The Joint Committee believes the freight advisory committees should also include representatives from the transportation design and construction industries.
In addition to these position statements and the MAP-21 policy resolutions, the Board of Directors passed one additional policy resolution. The resolution, “Actions to Reduce Impediments to Interstate Commerce Harmonizing Requirements for Truck Permits—Phase II,” says that AASHTO’s Subcommittee on Highway Transport has found some truck permit procedures and requirements that can be “harmonized” among states without compromising safety or infrastructure, and eliminating those barriers would improve customer service, reduce costs, and increase efficiency throughout states. It was resolved that the subcommittee would identify additional candidates for truck oversize/overweight permit harmonization, coordinate with the private sector, and present additional initiatives to SCOH for submission to the AASHTO Board of Directors for implementation.