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The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission’s report to Congress - Transportation for Tomorrow - has been called “bold and visionary” by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) for providing a thorough and comprehensive vision and framework for the future of surface transportation policy in the United States.

“The nation is at a crossroads, and Americans know that our transportation system is aging, over-crowded, and in some cases literally crumbling,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive officer. “For nearly two years the Commission tackled these tough issues and weighed disparate views and, by placing the national interest above parochial concerns, carefully developed a bold vision for the future of our nation’s surface transportation network.

“This report links the future growth in the system to achieving measurable national goals by scrapping the current system to advance areas of clear national interest, such as system maintenance, congestion relief, rural connectivity, freight transportation, safety, energy security and environmental stewardship,” Sandherr continues.

The Commission outlines a plan that will accommodate and enhance future economic growth. The plan addresses inefficiencies in the federal system, and it focuses on an evolving user fee that better represents the actual cost of planning, building and maintaining the nation’s transportation system.

The report recommends reforming and refocusing the system to maximize the impact of future investments. The reformed program would focus on national interests, holding funding recipients accountable for strict standards of performance, requiring cost benefit analysis, removal of wasteful bureaucratic steps in the process, and ensuring that transportation partners at the local, state and national level continue and increase their support for transportation.

One of the major recommendations is to put in place a more consolidated program to advance areas of clear national interest. The Commission recommends comprehensive local, state, and national planning efforts to identify and prioritize investment needs, estimated to be in the range of $225-$340 billion annually. This number is consistent with the investment needs for highways, transit, freight and passenger rail as identified by AASHTO in its comprehensive transportation document, “A Vision for the 21st Century,” released in July 2007.

Following reforms to the program, the Commission recommends that the federal government significantly increase its financial support for surface transportation and contribute approximately 40 percent of the capital. It also proposes the creation of an independent, non-political commission - titled the National Surface Transportation Commission - to make recommendations to Congress on specific revenue adjustments to implement the national surface transportation strategic plan.

The report also identifies waste and delay due to burdensome and lengthy project delivery requirements, such as the environmental review and permitting processes, as an area to be addressed.

“The U.S. faces daunting surface transportation challenges that increasingly detract from the quality of life of all Americans and the ability of the business community to compete in the global marketplace. The Commission’s report clearly recognizes this reality and the need for bold new action to deliver a 21st century transportation network.

“Today’s release of the Commission report should be the official starting point for the debate over the reauthorization of the federal surface program in 2009,” says Pete Ruane, president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). “Twelve highly qualified individuals from diverse professional backgrounds have spent almost two years thoroughly evaluating this situation. Their recommendations deserve serious consideration by all federal policymakers.

“The nation needs a thoughtful dialogue and specific solutions for how best to meet our transportation needs,” he continues. “The Commission has provided the empirical tools and policy analysis necessary for that discussion to begin.”

A copy of the Commission report is available at


Asphalt Institute publishes new edition

The Asphalt Institute has published the seventh edition of MS-4 The Asphalt Handbook. MS-4 is a comprehensive manual on the use of asphalt. For 70 years, it has served the asphalt industry as the primary reference manual for contractors, engineers, consultants, specifiers and user agencies. This new, expanded edition of over 800 pages of test and illustrations showcases the advances in asphalt technology that have evolved since the 1989 edtion of MS-4.

The new handbook offers chapters on types of asphalts, mix designs, mixing facilities, paving, compaction, surface treatments, recycling technologies, maintenance methods, rehabilitation and structural design. New topics include:

  • Superpave asphalt binder and mix design
  • Stone Matrix Asphalt
  • Open Graded Friction Courses
  • Quality control and acceptance
  • Pavement management
  • Rehabilitation of concrete pavements with HMA
  • Petroleum asphalt
  • Mineral aggregates
  • Thickness design

The seventh edition of MS-4 retails for $120 and is available at or by calling (859) 288-4960.


Technology will enhance product support, equipment uptime

VT LeeBoy, manufacturer of road construction equipment, has selected SmartEquip to enhance its aftermarket product support.

SmartEquip technology will enhance product support and improve equipment uptime on critical projects such as road construction.

“Our commercial paving and road maintenance products are often in critical environments with the clock ticking on tons of hot asphalt,” says Dave Carey, vice president of sales & marketing. “Proper maintenance, service information and parts delivery are essential.”

Parts and service personnel at VT LeeBoy’s authorized dealers will appreciate SmartEquip’s Parts & Service application. Serial number information, part numbers and technical information will all be in one easy-to-use environment, creating a marked improvement in transaction and operational efficiency.

“Through the years we’ve invested heavily in product development and improvements,” says Kelly Majeskie, president and CEO. “We now need a technology platform that will bring those improvements to our customers. SmartEquip was a natural choice for us as we strive to provide excellent service to our loyal customers.”


New additions also focus on workforce initiatives

New additions to the the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2008 exhibition, the triennial show to be held March 11-15 in Las Vegas, will focus on industry safety training and the need for a qualified industry workforce.

A special Safety Zone exhibit area will feature live demonstrations and information resources focused on jobsite safety. Exhibiting groups in this area will include U.S. federal government organizations, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) will also hold the finals of its first-ever teen-oriented Construction Challenge, with the goal of spurring interest in construction industry careers and spotlighting industry contributions to quality of life, such as good roads and clean water.

For more information, visit


Launches “How Bobcat Unleashed Me” contest

Fifty years ago, Bobcat Co. unleashed a way to work better, smarter, faster. During 2008, the company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bobcat compact equipment.

The How Bobcat Unleashed Me Contest asks users to share how Bobcat equipment has helped them in performing work better, smarter and faster. To enter, equipment users need to write a brief essay about their experiences with Bobcat equipment and fill out an entry form at the Bobcat 50 Years Unleashed website, The grand prize winner will receive a $75,000 Bobcat gift certificate.

Selected winning entries will be posted on the website. The How Bobcat Unleashed Me Contest concludes May 30, 2008.


FMI’s book helps contractors with organizational management

FMI’s 3rd edition of Strategic Planning for Contractors: The Guide to Superior Management Performance is now available to the building and construction industry.

Written by Hank Harris, president and managing director of FMI, the book offers advice and tips on applying strategy and strategic thinking to the management of a construction organization. Covering various business management topics, the 209-page book also offers examples of strategic planning models, real case summaries and a Sample Situational Analysis Checklist.

For more information, contact Candace Robertson at FMI Corporation at (919) 785-9359 or [email protected].

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