A federal committee formed to explore how to restore the 50+-year-old national highway system to its original glory recommends increasing federal funding from $20 billion to $25 billion to $45 billion to $70 billion, raising federal cost-sharing to 90%, indexing the federal fuel tax to inflation in addition to raising the tax, and implementing tolling. While this would be a windfall for the nation’s state transportation departments, more than 30 have stopped waiting for federal support and raised the state fuel tax to fund desperately needed road and bridge reconstruction and renewal.
The American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) is helping roadbuilders help project owners stretch these funds further with Concrete Competes, a program that encourages states to implement separate asphalt and concrete programs. Research by the Concrete Sustainability Hub at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that states that consider both materials save 14% on projects compared to 3% for states that encourage competition only between contractors.
As of Jan. 2, ACPA is seeking a vice president of promotion to help its 20 chapters work with their state contacts to change procurement policies. One free tool for making a case, developed with the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, was introduced at last year’s World of Concrete. Since then, 11,000 designs have been completed by www.pavementdesigner.org users in 50 states and all continents except Antarctica.
Concrete Pavement Use Rebounds
The software, along with ACPA’s efforts to align marketing outreach with PCA, must be working. In 2019, 56.2 million square yards of concrete pavement is expected to be placed, a 7% increase compared to 2018. The increase also marks the largest market volume in the last six years.
Overlay use also remains strong, accounting for about 12% of the concrete pavement market since 2010. Technology development and education by ACPA and the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center via Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technology program in the last two federal surface transportation legislation packages have encouraged adoption.