Pavement Preservation Journal, Spring 2016
Rod Birdsall, President, FP², Inc.
The pavement preservation community begins 2016 with optimism after the passage late last year of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, also called the FAST Act.
The legislation assures us a federal surface transportation program for the next five years. I wish to thank Tracy Taylor, principal of Williams & Jensen PLLC, FP²’s legislative counsel, for making sure preservation was represented throughout the process.
While we have not totally digested the contents of the legislation, pavement preservation language is continued in the law from MAP-21, along with a roughly five percent increase in funding. This is great news as it allows agencies and industry to undertake long-term projects without fear of interruptions in funding. See Tracy’s recap of the law in an article on page 23.
The need for highway transportation facilities and proper funding are keys to our national economy and growth. We must continuously improve our transportation system to provide a safe highway system, despite the increase in traffic volumes. We must continue our efforts in Washington, as well as at the state and local level, to sell the need for pavement preservation and increased funding to both legislators and the motoring public.
We cannot rest on our laurels that we have a new highway bill. We must continue to present our message and show the need for increased funding. User fees, as we know them today, will not fund our highways in the future, and the FAST Act does not raise revenue sources.
Instead, we have been capped nationally at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993, while costs for materials, equipment and labor to do business have tripled. In addition, more energy-efficient vehicles, electric vehicles and more pressure from bicyclists and pedestrians for dedicated paths and the money required for them have only exacerbated our needs. I encourage you to be part of the solution.
PROGRESS AT NCAT/MnROAD
We have received the interim white paper for the 2012 National Center for Asphalt Technology pavement preservation experiment on the NCAT test track and nearby Lee Road 159. The preliminary results are very encouraging and clearly show the positive impact of pavement preservation on improved pavement condition and the life-extending values of the treatments. When finalized, this interim data will be shared with our contributors. The data collection on Lee Road 159 will also continue during the 2015 experiment cycle.
The current 2015 NCAT/MnROAD experiment is well on its way. Some 38 treatments, including the 25 from Lee Road 159, plus some additional combinations were placed on U.S. 280 in August 2015 (see High Volume Preservation Tests Placed in New NCAT Phase, Winter 2015, page 11. Back issues available at fp2.org).
All the treatments are currently performing very well, and the data collection has already begun. The treatments at MnROAD will be placed in early summer 2016 on both low-volume and high-volume routes (see Planning Under Way for MnROAD Preservation Treatments, page 27). Data for these projects are on the NCAT and MnROAD websites. If you are in Alabama or Minnesota, I would encourage you to visit the sites. When walking the pavements you can definitely see the effectiveness of the treatments compared to the untreated sections.
FP² PLANS FOR FUTURE
At our January board meeting during the Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington, we discussed what’s next for FP2. At our last strategic meeting several years ago our board identified our primary objectives as reauthorization of the highway bill and the NCAT/MnROAD research. While these objectives will continue to be a big part of our focus, we are examining our future strategies. We welcome any input that you might have.
I want to congratulate the City of Los Angles Bureau of Street Services on its winning our James B. Sorenson Award for Excellence in Pavement Preservation (see related article on page 11). They were gracious hosts and opened the city to us when we presented the award.
Lastly, don’t forget to plan for the 2016 National Pavement Preservation Conference in Nashville on Oct. 11-14. The program is nearly completed, and our Summer 2016 issue will contain a detailed overview of what’s in store. Be sure to mark your calendars!