NAPA Applauds the U.S. Senate on Passage of the Infrastructure Investment andd Jobs Act (IIJA)
On August 10, the United States Senate forged a meaningful investment in the American economy, ensuring that roads, highways, and bridges continue to carry people and commerce safely and smoothly for years to come. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the nation’s road network will receive a necessary increase of $110 billion over five years, in addition to baseline expenditures.
In addition to predictable funding for paving projects, the bill successfully advances several of NAPA’s priorities, as stated in its December 2020 “Build Back Better with Asphalt” package to the incoming Biden administration. The bill also provides an exemption from Buy America, ensuring that U.S.-based pavement material producers can access high-quality asphalt binders and aggregates, safeguarding state-funded projects without supply chain disruptions or unnecessary additional costs to taxpayers.
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Industry Priorities Communicated to President Biden and the Administration
NAPA President and CEO Dr. Audrey Copeland, sent a letter to President Joseph Biden and his transition team outlining NAPA's key priorities. Dr. Copeland highlighted a desire to work with the incoming administration to stabilize the economy, create and sustain jobs in the highway construction industry, and build environmentally friendly, resilient pavements. The letter includes NAPA’s legislative priorities, chief among them, the passage of a long-term surface transportation authorization bill that increases highway funding and includes a permanent, dedicated, user-based revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund. The letter also emphasizes the fact that asphalt is America’s most recycled product. “There are many paths for NAPA to work in partnership with the Biden administration,” Dr. Copeland said, “and the letter provides the road map for partnership and we stand ready to work with the transition team and the Biden Administration to innovate, rebuild, and expand our nation's surface transportation infrastructure.”
Asphalt and Concrete Priorities for GHG Emissions Communicated to the Hill
Congress is readying provisions to be included in the next surface transportation bill, which will fund highway projects that use construction materials intended to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To maintain pavement neutrality in the bill and to avoid mandates, NAPA’s government affairs team worked with representatives of the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA), resulting in a major agreement on how the industries will work with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to achieve reductions in GHG emissions. The agreement focuses on the Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AIDPT) program and a proposed new grant program in the House INVEST Act to reduce GHG in pavement materials. The agreement, embodied on letters sent to House and Senate leaders drafting the infrastructure bill, is summarized below.
NAPA, ACPA, and PCA support the AIDPT program’s aim of reducing GHG emissions with the following changes:
- Strengthen language to ensure industry involvement in establishing priorities for the AIDPT program.
- Ensure that all stages of the pavement life cycle are considered for deployment of pavement technologies that reduce GHG emissions.
- Increase funding from $12 million to $14 million annually to support expanding the mission of the AIDPT program to include GHG emissions reduction.
NAPA, ACPA, and PCA support the new $2-4 million grant program to reduce GHG emissions in materials with the following changes:
- Strengthen the focus of the grant program on reducing GHG emissions.
- Ensure the program awards grants involving all stages of the pavement life cycle.
- Include “pavement performance” as a key metric on evaluating materials that reduce GHG emissions.
Making an Impact at Every Level
NAPA’s advocacy goals bring together the entire asphalt pavement industry – including suppliers and equipment manufacturers – to effectively advocate the need to grow investments in federally-funded highway and airport programs, secure federal funding for research and deployment of innovative pavement technologies, and defeat harmful pavement-type selection and pavement design mandates.
Federal Policy Priorities
Almost all (88 percent) of asphalt binder used in the United States is from U.S. refineries and manufacturers. However, there are areas of the country that lack refineries or refining capacity to produce the necessary amount and/or quality of asphalt binder and additives. If Buy America is amended to include "construction materials" like asphalt binder and aggregates, American companies and workers will be harmed. Review these documents to learn more:
The major inhibitor for expanding life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) use in transportation infrastructure is the lack of quality data – a critical input for LCCA. Real data based on local conditions, materials, and experiences are essential for an accurate and unbiased LCCA.
The Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) program, established under MAP-21, advances the latest innovations, best practices, and technologies for constructing and maintaining high-quality, long-lasting pavements. NAPA and the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) support the reauthorization of the AID-PT program.
There are several areas where Congress can act to further reduce the carbon footprint of pavements.
To help protect workers and motorists from injury and death during roadway construction projects the use of innovative contracting methods that enhance work zone safety is essential.
The current waste plastic crisis is a critical concern; however, there is equal concern about the state of the U.S.’s aging transportation infrastructure. Investment in maintenance, improvement, and expansion of transportation infrastructure in the U.S. must focus on delivering long-lasting, high-performing pavements as cost-effectively as possible. Any action taken to change the way an asphalt mixture is designed, produced, and constructed must demonstrate through independent, third-party research that there will be no negative impact on pavement performance or unintended consequences that could impact the health safety of plant operators or construction crews.