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NAPA Meets with Members of 114th Congress on Regulatory Over-reach

anric2014-1croppedOn Dec. 4, NAPA Vice President for Environment, Health & Safety Dr. Howard Marks, as a member of the Regulatory Improvement Council, met with a group of senators and congressmen who will serve in the 114th Congress. The briefing focused on identifying upcoming legislative efforts to limit regulatory agency overreach. OSHA and EPA representatives presented agency views. The members of Congress and members-elect noted that overregulation stands to damage long-term U.S. global competitiveness, citing a study that identified an average of $15,000 per household in regulatory manufacturing costs.

“This is a real issue that the new Congress appears ready to approach. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) provided the greatest level of detail about how to roll back some of these EH&S regulations, including revising existing laws,” said Marks. “Johnson also indicated an interest in speaking in front of industry audiences to garner support for this type of legislation.” Pictured are (clockwise from top left) Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.), a congressional staffer, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine.).

While You Were

Asphalt pavements are quick to construct, fast to repair, and easy to maintain. That’s why only asphalt pavements can the consistently high level of smoothness, drivability, and performance that the traveling public demands with a minimum of inconvenience. Check out the latest Asphalt Pavement Alliance video While You Were

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Kentucky Finalizes Long-Term Transportation Plan

KYTCThe Kentucky Department of Highways announced the finalization of its “Long-Range Transportation Plan: Planning to Make A Difference in America’s Tomorrow: 2014-2035.” The plan was conceived as a mode of assistance in planning for the future of the state’s transportation system.

In 2013, a transportation survey saw public response in excess of 16,000 people, in which the populous was polled as to what it desired in transportation improvements and maintenance, and also what it saw as immediate problems needing redress. Following the survey, and in part based on its results, a plan was drafted, after which a second survey was sent to nearly 1,000 people. The results of that survey was likewise integrated into the plan’s redraft.

The last time the state laid out a long-range transportation plan was in 2006, but according to Jeff Moore, transportation planner for the state’s DOH, “ a lot of things have happened in the world since 2006, and [the new 2014 plan] grasps a lot of that.”

The new plan is primarily intended to be an educational tool that unpacks the current state of the transportation system and anticipates some challenges the system will likely experience in the years to come, including a drop in funding for road projects, which is one of the more imminent issues not only for Kentucky but the nation at large.

The results of the public surveys showed that Kentuckians are less concerned with road growth than in vast and immediate improvement in the state’s present roads and bridges system. An aging populous remains mobile, which also means investment in public transit systems, which statewide is approximately one-quarter the ridership as seen on average nationwide. These systems are expected to grow in the coming years, in response to what the DOW now recognizes as public demand.

Motor Fuels Tax Rate to Decline by 4.3 Cents Per Gallon on Jan. 1

KYTCKentucky’s “gas tax” on sales of gasoline, diesel and ethanol motor fuels will drop by 4.3 cents per gallon on New Year’s Day, resulting in a loss to the Kentucky Road Fund of about $129 million on an annualized basis.

The decrease reflects a drop in the calculated average wholesale price (AWP) of motor fuels, as provided under Kentucky law.

“The gas tax accounts for more than half of the revenue in the Kentucky Road Fund,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “A loss of revenue is always concerning, but a revenue impact of this magnitude is crippling. It means less money for building, improving, maintaining and repairing our roads, streets and bridges.”

A loss of $129 million would amount to about 6 percent of Kentucky’s highway program, which was forecast to have $2.25 billion in the current fiscal year from all sources, including state and federal motor-fuels taxes and a state usage tax on motor vehicles.

The highway program is a classic example of a user fee system. Rather than being funded through general taxes on sales, income, payroll or property, Kentucky roads and bridges are paid for by those who use them.

The main user fee is the tax on motor fuels, which is paid at the pump and has two components:

  • Variable excise tax.
  • Fixed, supplemental user fee of 5 cents per gallon for gasoline and 2 cents per gallon for diesel and other “special fuels.”

There also is a state fee that is paid at the pump – 1.4 cents per gallon – for cleanup of old underground fuel storage tanks. And there is a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel. The federal tax is not indexed for inflation and has not changed since 1993.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet relies on the Road Fund for its activities, and a dramatic decrease in motor fuels tax revenue could delay or require cancellation of planned projects. Local governments also would feel the pinch because nearly half of the motor-fuels tax – 48 percent – is returned to cities and counties in the form of revenue sharing for local streets and roads.

The state excise tax was enacted in 1920. But in the 1980s, the Kentucky Legislature provided for a variable excise tax as a percentage of AWP of gas, diesel and ethanol fuels.

The variable excise tax rate is 9 percent of AWP, so the tax rises, falls or stays unchanged from quarter to quarter on the basis of a survey of AWP of motor fuels. The survey is conducted by the Department of Revenue in the first month of each quarter (January, April, July and October) and the change in rate – if any – takes effect on the first day of the first month of the following quarter.

For purposes of the excise tax rate, the amount of any increase in the AWP is capped at 10 percent, per year. The Legislature imposed the cap to protect the public at a time when pump prices were skyrocketing. But the Road Fund was not accorded the same protection against dramatic declines in fuel prices. The only limit is a “statutory floor” – a minimum AWP for tax calculation purposes.

Since April 2009, that floor has been $1.786 per gallon – far below the actual AWP, which was surveyed at $2.354 per gallon in October, down from $2.837 in the July survey.

By virtue of the October 2014 survey, the state variable excise tax will decline by 4.3 cents per gallon on Jan. 1, 2014 – to 21.2 cents per gallon from 25.5 cents.

When the supplemental tax of 5 cents and underground petroleum tank fee of 1.4 cents are added, the total state tax and fee paid by motorists will be 27.6 cents per gallon, down from the current 31.9 cents per gallon.

The decline in the tax will be the fourth drop in the last five quarters. The decline will have been 4.9 cents – a $147 million annualized impact – since the fiscal year began on July 1.

In testimony this week to the Legislature’s Interim Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation, Russ Romine, Deputy Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, pointed out that the January 2015 survey will determine the tax rate for the final quarter of fiscal 2015. Any increase after that would be capped at 10 percent for all of fiscal 2016.

If the AWP declines even more in the January survey, as happened in January 2014, it will take years for the tax rate to recover to the July 2014 level.

Press Release Courtesy of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet –

Advancing Asphalt Roadways Into The Future

Solar Powered Asphalt PavementsSolar-powered, self-lighting roadways with induction lanes that charge electric cars as they drive. Asphalt pavement that stores solar energy, using it to melt ice when the temperature drops – or perhaps that energy can be used elsewhere to heat buildings. And if that’s not enough, how about harnessing the vibration energy created in a pavement by passing traffic to generate electricity? These are just some of the futuristic ideas for the asphalt roadway of tomorrow, under development today.

The incredibly ‘smart highway’

Back in the 1980s, the “Intelligent Highway” concept was all the rage. But the advances then being proposed focused on making cars more intelligent; the roads remained the same.

Fast forward to today: Designer Daan Roosegaarde and Dutch construction firm Heijmans have banded together to create the “Smart Highway” series of projects where the road (not the car) does more than just sit there.

The “glowing lines” concept employs light-emitting marker lines that are recharged by the sun during the day and emit light for up to 10 hours at night. This isn’t just theoretical. As of April 2014, two 500-meter (547 yards) stretches of the N329 provincial highway near Oss, Holland have been equipped with glowing lines.

Roosegarde has many other exciting highway ideas that he and Heijmans are developing into working prototypes. For instance, the “electric priority” will recharge the batteries of electric cars driving on it, by transferring energy wirelessly to the car through magnetic currents. Magnetic transmitter coils within the roadway will induce power generation in a magnetic receiver coil inside the vehicle, which will transfer this power back to the car’s battery.

Meanwhile, temperature-sensitive “dynamic paint” can be used to make illuminated warnings visible only when relevant. For instance, when the outside temperature gets close to a freezing point on a bridge, a dynamic paint warning about potential slippery conditions can appear on the asphalt.

Roosegaarde’s ideas for Smart Highways don’t end there. They include programmable “dynamic lines” that can be remotely triggered to show either solid or dotted lines depending on the amount of road traffic. Interactive street lamps can be installed that only come on when cars approach and can flash when cars are going too fast. As for all that wind generated by passing cars, Roosegaarde envisions using that moving air to spin small wind turbines along curbs to create power to illuminate shoulders at the same time.

Capturing roadway heat for good

There’s nothing like a mid-summer barefoot stroll across Las Vegas Boulevard at noon to reinforce the point that sunlight can make pavements hot. But making this heat actually do something beyond scorching your feet is a challenge.

A British firm called ICAX has developed a way to do just this. Specifically they can transfer the heat energy captured by sunlit roadways and then transfer it to thermal banks. This is done by installing a network of fluid-filled pipes under the asphalt road. The heat is transferred to the fluid, which is then pumped into tubes buried under insulating earth. The dirt retards the heat loss and provides a reservoir of heat that can be extracted by buildings equipped with heat pumps during times of cold weather. ICAX calls this concept “Interseasonal Heat Transfer” (IHT).

Beyond providing buildings with low cost heating, IHT can be used to rewarm roadways during winter, by pumping the thermal banked fluid back into the under-roadway pipes. The released heat can melt snow and ice on an ongoing basis, keeping roadways clear even during snowstorms.

“This concept is already in use at Heathrow Airport to keep the tarmac clear of ice and snow all year round,” said Dr. Heather Dylla; director of sustainable development at the National Asphalt Pavement Association. “It is a powerful demonstration of how much can be done with asphalt paved surfaces when a creative engineering approach is applied.”

The Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts has tested a similar concept. They placed a pipe network just below an asphalt pavement, and filled it with water. The asphalt transferred heat to the fluid, which was then available as a hot water source to generate electricity.

The astounding energy-generating roadway

Paved roadways vibrate as cars and trucks drive over them. What if that vibrational energy could be harnessed, perhaps to generate electricity?

This concept is not only possible – it has already been proven. A 2011 pilot study into roadway “vibration energy” generation by Holland’s University of Twente and the Dutch province of Overijssel used piezoelectric roadway materials to convert vibrations into measurable power. Basically, the ongoing compression and decompression of piezoelectric crystals in the roadway material generates electricity.

The University of Twente study, which used a piezoelectric embedded strip across the N34 provincial motorway near Hardenberg, showed that enough energy could be generated to power wireless motion detectors to trigger stoplights. The 2013 paper “Piezoelectric Roads in California” written by Stanford University’s student Rex Garling estimated that a 20 mpg car using $4/gallon gas on a one kilometer stretch of piezoelectric equipped roadway would generate about 0.19MJ of electricity. Based on current West Coast electricity charges, this would be about 1/20th of the gasoline cost burned to cross this length of roadway.

“At this rate, the road will generate a revenue of $33,565 per year,” Garling wrote.

A solar option that can work with asphalt

Imagine lining a roadway in part, or in full, with hexagon-shaped solar-powered road surface panels loaded with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Depending on how they were configured, these solar road panels allow sunlight through their textured glass surfaces and into their solar collectors by day, and then use it to light road markings at night. They can also heat themselves to remove ice and snow as needed (via built-in heating and drainage elements), and perform a number of other power-related tasks such as creating illuminated crosswalks around the clock.

This is the idea behind “solar roadways” spearheaded by electrical engineer Scott Brusaw and his wife Julie. The project has received funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for both its Phase I and Phase II prototypes. They are about to complete its Phase II project by paving a prototype parking lot with its solar road panels.

The beauty of solar road panels is that an entire road does not have to be paved with them. Instead, they can be integrated with existing asphalt pavement construction – providing cutting-edge capabilities in tandem with the proven durability and cost-effectiveness of asphalt pavement.

The roads of the future are coming

The ideas described above illustrate how much is being done today to advance the functionality of tomorrow’s roadways. Members of the asphalt industry are ideally placed to capitalize on these advances, and to marry them with the many improvements in asphalt paving that the industry has already pioneered.

“There is a lot of research being done to capture and store energy from roads,” said NAPA’s Dr. Dylla. “It will be interesting to watch them advance and to see how the science is put into practice.”


Article By James Careless, Asphalt Institute – http://www.asphaltmagazine.com/news/detail.dot?id=63c602bf-e3d9-43aa-a986-b96ec7e478ac

Speed of Construction – An Asphalt Benefit

Americans want well-maintained and functional roads, but they don’t want to waste time and money waiting in traffic for construction work to end. The ability to construct and maintain roads quickly gives asphalt pavements the drivability factor motorists need. Asphalt construction methods allow planners and managers to fix congestion hot spots and bottlenecks during off-peak hours, so commuters may never see an orange barrel or a construction-related traffic jam. http://www.paiky.org/why-asphalt/speed-construction/

Warm Mix Usage Nearing 1/3rd of U.S. Total Production

Warm Mix ProductionThe latest NAPA/FHWA survey of asphalt producers’ use of recycled materials and warm-mix asphalt finds that nearly a third of all asphalt produced during the 2013 construction season was produced using warm-mix asphalt technologies.

The survey, conducted by NAPA under contract to FHWA, found that 106.4 million tons of WMA was produced in 2013. This is a 23 percent increase in the use of warm mix from 2012 and a greater than 533 percent increase since the survey was first conducted in 2009. In the 2009 survey less than 5 percent of asphalt pavement mix tonnage was produced using warm-mix technologies; in 2013, it was more than 30 percent.

The survey also found that about 73.5 million tons of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and 1.7 million tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the United States during 2013.

Producers were also asked about ground tire rubber, steel and blast furnace slag, and other waste material repurposed into pavements. Although national estimates of usage were not calculated, survey respondents reported using nearly 1.2 million tons of these materials in 2013 in the production of more than 6.6 million tons of asphalt pavement mixes.

The tons of asphalt pavement mixtures produced using recycled and reclaimed materials was predominately flat from 2012 to 2013, despite a 2.5 percent drop in total tons of asphalt produced during 2013 compared to 2012. However, the percentage of tons produced using these materials was slightly greater in 2013 than 2012.

The survey was conducted in mid-2014. Results from 249 companies with 1,281 plants in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, along with data from State Asphalt Pavement Associations for 38 states, were used to compile the report. A full copy of the survey, including state-by-state appendixes, may be downloaded from http://www.paiky.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/WMA_Survey_Recycled_Materials.pdf

I-69 Contract Awarded to Hall Contracting of Kentucky

600px-I-69.svg_smFRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2014) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced award of a contract for improvements needed to bring a portion of the Julian M. Carroll Purchase Parkway up to interstate highway standards and eventual designation as Interstate 69.

The project involves reconstruction of 30 miles of the parkway from Exit 22 (mile point 22) in Graves County to U.S. 62 at Calvert City (mile point 52) in Marshall County. Hall Contracting of Kentucky Inc. was awarded the contract on a low bid of $8.08 million. The project has a completion date of Sept. 15, 2015.

“The completion of I-69 in western Kentucky is another important step closer with the awarding of this contract,” Gov. Beshear said. “An additional interstate route means additional opportunities for economic development in western Kentucky and, indeed, throughout the Commonwealth. The improvements being made in the I-69 corridor will result in safer, more efficient travel through the region.”

The contract was the third awarded this year for the I-69 corridor. The first, which has a completion date of August 2015, was for improvement of a 36.4-mile stretch of the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway in Hopkins, Webster and Henderson counties. The second involved reconstruction of the parkway’s KY 56 interchange near Sebree, in Webster County. It has a completion date of Oct. 1, 2015.

Once complete, I-69 in Kentucky will run north to south from the Ohio River at Henderson County to the Tennessee border at Fulton County. Completion of the corridor requires improvements to portions of three Kentucky parkways, all of which originally were toll roads – the Breathitt-Pennyrile, Ford-Western Kentucky and Carroll-Purchase parkways.

To date, 55 miles of the corridor are complete – from roughly Nortonville to the interchange of I-24 and the Carroll-Purchase Parkway near Gilbertsville – and bear the red, white and blue shields of I-69. The first shield was unveiled by Gov. Beshear and then-Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez in October 2011.

Gov. Beshear Announces Goal of Completely Six-Laning Interstate 65

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear announced today that Kentucky has taken a significant step toward realizing a long-held goal of a six-lane Interstate 65 from the Ohio River to the Tennessee line. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) awarded a $138.48 million contract on Wednesday to rebuild 17 miles of the interstate in Hart, LaRue and Hardin counties, widening it to six lanes – three in each direction – from four lanes. The project area stretches from mile point 64.9 in Hart County, near Munfordville, through LaRue County to mile point 82.2 in Hardin County, near Sonora. Once the project is completed, in 2017, less than 10 miles of I-65 – all in Hardin County, south of Elizabethtown – will remain to be six-laned. The highway is already six lanes from Elizabethtown to the Ohio River, at Louisville.

“This latest award gets us one giant step closer to completing the widening of I-65 in its entirety in Kentucky,” Gov Beshear said. “The project is badly needed because of I-65’s importance as a commercial and travel corridor, stretching from Chicago to Alabama. Kentucky is doing its part to keep the travel public safe and the interstate free of congestion.” Since 2000, KYTC has awarded multiple contracts totaling more than $600 million to widen I-65 from the Tennessee line to Elizabethtown. A section that ends near Munfordville is currently under construction. The project for which a contract was awarded Wednesday will pick up where the current project ends.

Scotty’s Contracting and Stone LLC won the contract awarded Wednesday on a low bid of $138,485,749. The contract has a completion date of May 2017.

Source: ky.gov

Road Age

The National Asphalt Pavement Association and the Asphalt Institute have released yet another clever video – Road Age. This energetic and clever video describes the greatest asset of the  asphalt industry has to offer – Smoothness! All roads require periodic maintenance to ensure a high level of performance and drivability. With asphalt, keeping things smooth, safe, and quiet is quick, easy and cost effective. Asphalt. It’s the answer to road age.

Road Age (Smoothness) from PAIKY on Vimeo

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