House Passes Highway Bill
TEA-LU authorizes $283.9 billion through 2009
The process of reauthorizing the federal highway program moved a step closer in early March with the House passage of the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy of Users (TEA-LU) (H.R. 3).
The bill, which was approved by a vote of 417 to 9, authorizes $283.9 billion for federal surface transportation programs for fiscal years 2004 to 2009. The money will be split as follows:
- $225.5 billion for Federal Highway Administration programs
- $52.3 billion for Federal Transit Administration programs
- $3.2 billion for National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration programs, and
- $2.9 billion for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration programs
By comparison, TEA-21, the highway authorization law enacted in 1998, authorized a total of $218 billion for highway and transit programs. Prior to the enactment of TEA-21, funding for the federal highway program was less than $20 billion per year. In FY 2005, however, the federal government will spend more than $34 billion on roads.
TEA-21 expired in 2003 without a new highway authorization law having been put in place. Since then, money has continued to flow to the program thanks to a series of short-term extensions, the most recent of which expires at the end of May. The Senate is currently working on its version of the highway bill.
Information provided by the Associated Equipment Distributors.
Astec expands sales force
Astec's Competitive Parts Department has expanded its sales force. According to Landon Hartman, parts director, "We have increased sales tremendously. In response to this growth, we've added Mike Nix to our outside sales team."
As a Competitive Parts Sales Manager, Nix will travel California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. His experience with almost every aspect of manufacturing during his 24 years at Astec makes him an invaluable resource for parts customers.
Nix will travel his territory by truck, carrying a full supply of parts with him. He can perform a variety of tests such as density testing on silo cones and drum shells. Like all Astec parts representatives, he will work with owners of any brand of asphalt plant.
Speed enforcement key to cutting construction zone deaths and injuries
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) urges state and local police departments to step up their enforcement of speed limits in roadway construction zones to help reduce deaths and injuries.
Rich Wagman, 2005 chairman of ARTBA, notes that a highway worker or motorist is killed in a roadway construction zone every eight hours. He says more than 50,000 Americans are also injured in road construction zone accidents each year.
"Getting motorists to obey posted speed limits is a key to enable them to recognize and respond to changes in traffic patterns in work zones," said Wagman. "If motorists heed work zone warnings, we can significantly cut the high number of worker and motorist deaths."
Wagman says ARTBA is seeking a provision in the pending federal highway and transit program reauthorization bill that would increase funding for speed enforcement activities at roadway construction projects receiving federal aid. The provision, he says, was included in the highway bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 2, 2005.
Crafco acquires PaveTech
Crafco Inc. has acquired substantially all the assets of PaveTech International, located in Cincinnati, OH.
PaveTech's purchase brings to Crafco a product line consisting of PavePrep brand Geo-Composites, a broad line of bridge joint systems, mastics and high friction surface treatments.
Crafco will be offering these products through its worldwide network of distribution as well as previous distributors of PaveTech.
Paladin acquires Sweepster LLC
Paladin, a manufacturer of construction equipment attachments, has acquired Sweepster LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of two brands of light construction equipment attachments, Sweepster and FFC. This marks Paladin's fifth acquisition since October 2003 and reflects the company's aggressive expansion strategy and goal to become the industry's largest independent manufacturer of full-line attachment products.