ARTBA, AGC, NAPA, LABOR GROUPS AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT JOIN FORCES
Industry allies sign Roadway Work Zone Safety Aggreement
Improving the safety of both workers and motorists in roadway construction zones are key objectives of a new alliance among various construction industry allies, organized labor and the federal government announced January 25 in Washington, D.C.
Through the alliance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners - which include the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) - will develop hazard awareness training and education programs aimed at training workers, educating the roadway construction industry, and reaching out to non-English construction workers about safe practices in roadway work zones.
"Protecting our workers is always a top priority," says AGC COO David Lukens. "This new alliance reinforces our commitment to the safety of our men and women working to improve the nation's highway infrastructure."
"NAPA's mission in the Roadway Work Zone Safety and Health Partners Alliance is to help workers return home safely to their families at the end of each day," says Ronald M. White, NAPA's 2007 Chairman. "We will have a strong focus on providing awareness and training for workers."
Alliance members will also share research findings with the construction industry so that the interventions and best practices described in training and outreach activities are based upon the most accurate scientific data.
"ARTBA and its public and private sector members feel strongly they have a moral obligation to protect the safety of workers and motoring public in roadway construction zones," 2007 ARTBA Chairman C. Michael Walton says. "That's why the association has a long-standing relationship working with industry, labor organizations and the federal government to create educational initiatives and training programs aimed at improving safety on America's highways and in road construction zones. This second alliance with OSHA has, in many ways, already been in practice for decades."
"This agreement will provide Alliance Program participants and other government and non-government organizations with information, guidance and access to training resources," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "These resources will help the Alliance protect employees, including Spanish-speaking and other high-risk or vulnerable 'hard-to-reach' employees from general health and safety hazards and reduce and prevent exposures to roadway work zone safety and health hazards."
AMAP FUNDS STUDY
Association provides $17,000 to Asphalt Institute
The Association of Modified Asphalt Producers (AMAP), an international association dedicated to the development, production and use of modified asphalts that greatly extend the life of interstate pavements, has announced that it will provide $17,000 to the Affiliate Committee of the Asphalt Institute to help fund the organization's latest study which is focused on the determination of specific calibration factors for polymer-modified asphalts (PMA).
The latest study comes as a follow-up to an initial study conducted by AMAP and the Asphalt Institute. The original study was published in 2005 and set out to quantify the effects of polymer-modified asphalts on reducing pavement distress. The initial study proved that PMA reduced pavement distress and extended the service life of flexible pavements and overlays but did not determine specific calibration factors for PMA mixtures.
Currently, the roadbuilding guidelines which have been set by the Federal Government are based on global calibration factors which were determined for conventional, unmodified asphalts. Because of this, the Asphalt Institute is concerned that the use of global calibration factors could overestimate the amount of stress placed on polymer-modified asphalt layers. The new study aims to determine the calibration factors specifically for PMA mixtures in order to reduce the bias and error between distress predictions.
"We're pleased to help fund this important study because it has the power to determine calibration factors that reflect the benefits of polymer-modified asphalt," says Bob Berkley, executive director of AMAP. "By utilizing these PMA factors, state highway engineers will get an accurate estimate of roadway distress response that we are confident will demonstrate the extended highway life-cycle that polymer-modified asphalts can provide."
The study, which got underway in December 2006, is being conducted by independent researcher Harold Von Quintus of Round Rock, Texas-based Applied Research Associates Inc. Estimated completion time for the study is six months, at a total cost of $37,000.
In addition to the $17,000 in funds that AMAP has provided for the study, the Federal Highway Administration has furnished $15,000, with the remaining $5,000 coming from five Polymer manufacturers supplying the U.S. market.
ASSOCIATIONS ANALYZE BUSH BUDGET
Reactions are mixed
The Bush Administration released its $2.9-trillion fiscal year (FY) 2008 budget proposal February 5. According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Associaiton (ARTBA), this federal spending plan includes mixed results for the $65 billion the measure recommends for the programs administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Specifically, the budget recommends record investment for a number of federal transportation programs, including the highway and transit programs. Unfortunately, the budget plan fails to adhere to the surface transportation program investments guaranteed by the Safe Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) of 2005.
The Administration is proposing $39.585 billion for the core federal highway program - a $500 million increase over projected FY 2007 investment - and reports Highway Trust Fund Highway Account revenues have exceeded projections by $631 million (page 216 of the budget's Analytical Perspectives).
Unfortunately, the Administration is proposing to cancel the $631 million upward adjustment of FY 2008 highway investment these additional revenues require under SAFETEA-LU's funding guarantees due to concerns about the trust fund's solvency. This proposal would represent the first explicit violation of the Highway Trust Fund's investment guarantees since they were enacted in 1998.
The measure also calls for increasing federal transit investment by $450 million to $9.4 billion. This amount, however, is $300 million below the FY 2008 funding level required by SAFETEA-LU and also would be a major break from the transportation funding guarantees. The Administration's budget also recommends a $765 million, or 22 percent, reduction in federal airport construction investment from the current level of $3.52 billion to $2.75 billion in FY 2008.
"While the FY 08 budget request includes an increase in defense and security-related construction accounts over last year, there is a near freeze on domestic spending," says Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). "While there is real concern about fiscal restraint and winning the war on terror, this budget does not address our nation's long-term capital investment needs," adds Sandherr. "For a country that relies so heavily on its infrastructure for increased efficiency and economic growth, the competing budget priorities highlight the need to create a true capital budget to fund long-term infrastructure investment."
It's important to recognize the Administration's budget proposal is not binding, but rather represents the first step in the annual budget process. Federal spending decisions for each fiscal year are not finalized until the enactment of the 12 individual appropriations bills.
FOUR TRAFFIC SPECIALITIES... ONE SHOW
INA to be held in October in Fort Lauderdale
The trade show for the transportation infrastructure, traffic management, traffic safety and parking industries is headed to south Florida this fall. The second edition of Intertraffic North America (INA) will be held October 10-12 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.
INA 2007, organized by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and Amsterdam RAI, has been developed for two reasons:
- To help infrastructure, traffic management and safety, and parking service providers and manufacturers sell products and services in the robust and growing U.S. market; and
- To promote education within the transportation industry, which includes a full line-up covering all the latest trends in the marketplace.
More than 200 exhibitors are expected to display their products for attendees. Several other conferences are being held in conjunction with INA, including the National Traffic Management & Work Zone Safety Conference, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; 2007 ARTBA National Convention; International Road Federation Washington Program Center's Annual Meeting and Latin America Regional Meeting; and Parking Today's "Park Across America."
For more information about INA, visit www.northamerica.intertraffic.com.
NAPA UPDATES GUIDE
Recycling Hot-Mix Asphalt Pavements now available
The National Asphalt Pavement Association announces the publication of a new update to the technical document Recycling Hot-Mix Asphalt Pavements. The text of this guide to the processing of RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement) at the hot mix asphalt plant has been significantly expanded. The publication has also been enhanced with new photographs and illustrations.
The revised 27-page publication explains the how-to of RAP: how to reclaim, size, store, and process the material.
The various types of HMA plants are covered. Calculations for determining the value of using RAP are also provided.
Recycling Hot-Mix Asphalt Pavements (order number IS-123) is available from NAPA at $16 per copy. Orders may be placed through NAPA's online store at www.hotmix.org, by calling (888) 468-6499.
JCB ENGINES TO USE BIODIESEL
Dieselmax units can use 20 percent Biofuel
As part of its commitment to environmental responsibility, JCB announces that all JCB Dieselmax engines have been approved for the use of B20 Biodiesel (20-percent Biofuel).
Currently, the JCB Dieselmax engine powers a range of JCB construction and agricultural machines.
"We are aware that there will be increasing pressure in the future from governments and from the public to use Biofuels in all on and off-road vehicles," says Dr. Tim Leverton, JCB group engineering director. "Biofuels are a carbon neutral energy source which create lower emissions and are produced from renewable resources. At JCB, this is one of a series of group-wide initiatives aimed at reducing our environmental impact. We are evaluating the use of other Biofuels for future use."
WAGE & BENEFITS SURVEY AVAILABLE
2007 ARTBA publication provides data for 30 positions
Are you interested in learning more about what contractors in your area are paying their employees? The American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation's (ARTBA-TDF) 2007 "Transportation Contractors Salary & Benefits Survey" can help.
The new ARTBA-TDF publication provides data for 30 office and field positions found in a typical firm in the transportation construction industry. Detailed salary, bonus and benefits information is also included.
The survey results were based on responses from contractors representing firms of all sizes and from across the country. Results are presented nationally and in five regional divisions. Specific information is provided on compensation for small (less than $5 million), medium ($5-$50 million) and large (more than $50 million) firms.
The publication also includes the average, high and low salaries and bonuses for top executives, office personnel and field workers. Hourly wage and benefit information is provided for hourly workers, both skilled and unskilled. Workforce composition such as the number of unionized, Hispanic, African-American and women hourly and salaried employees is also available, broken down by region.
The 150-page survey can be purchased for $250 by contacting ARTBA's Christy Woodall at (202) 289-4434 or by visiting www.artbasalarysurveys.com.
GLONASS LAUNCHES THREE SATELLITES
More coverage for Topcon customers
Three of the new GLONASS navigation, long-life satellites were launched in late December, bringing to 20 the number of Russian navigation satellites in orbit. The new satellites have an expected lifespan of seven years.
With its new line of G3 receivers, Topcon Positioning System (TPS) customers will be able to receive signals from the Galileo system. The use of multi-constellation signals virtually eliminates jobsite downtime due to weak or obstructed satellite reception.
The most recent launch, when combined with GPS, makes 44 total satellites available to Topcon users. The most recent launch of Topcon's GPS+ system allows "access to more than 50 percent additional satellites than GPS-only systems," says Ray O'Connor, TPS president and chief executive officer. "The more satellites a user has access to, the less downtime, less signal degradation, and the more work that can be completed without interruption."