Sustainability mantra

At the recent 55th Annual National Asphalt Pavement Meeting, sustainability and/or "green" seemed to be the mantra industry participants have endorsed as the key to their future success. It's a powerful message the asphalt industry has in arguing the benefits of asphalt over concrete for both customers and taxpayers. More importantly, the stewardship role of using resources wisely and reducing the carbon footprint in the delivery of quality surface structures exhibits a strong commitment of preserving what we've all enjoyed for future generations. Asphalt has always been a leading recycled product, with over 90 million tons of old pavements being recycled into new pavements annually. The Asphalt Pavement Alliance will continue to foster that responsibility by promoting recycling, warm mix, perpetual pavements, porous pavements and open-graded friction course designs as the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions to building quality pavements. And for preserving the quality pavements already in place, APA will continue to promote thin-lift overlays as the appropriate solution. Delay of Congress to reauthorize a federal surface transportation bill will continue to plague state governments' and the surface transportation industry's ability to move forward in building and maintaining the vital road network we all rely on, but the asphalt industry continues to research and develop new solutions that maximize the investments made, while limiting waste and emissions produced. Warm mix asphalt mix designs, for example, could very well be the new standard specified by road agencies within five years. And with new Environmental Protection Agency requirements and Clean Energy Bill regulations governing greenhouse gases, it will become increasingly difficult to construct and maintain roads without being environmentally responsible. Going green will become the new reality for asphalt producers and contractors, and industry participants who lead the charge will ultimately lead the industry.