Next month, voters across the country will decide the fate of state and local efforts to invest more in transportation. For example, California voters will decide whether to repeal or retain the 2017 gas tax increase; Connecticut voters will decide whether to put the state's Special Transportation Fund in a lockbox. Colorado voters face two competing ballot measures – one that raises new money for all transportation modes and one that would require funding of road improvements with existing revenue. Join NAPA’s government affairs team on Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. EST for a post-election analysis. Experts will discuss the outcome of certain ballot initiatives, and explain what the election results mean for Congress and the asphalt pavement market. Click here to register today.
On Oct. 5, President Trump signed into law H.R. 302, a $96.7 billion five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).The bill represents the longest funding period for FAA programs since 1982. H.R. 302 includes a provision long sought by NAPA to reauthorize the Airfield Pavement Technology Program. While H.R. 302 does not lift the federal cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), which would have generated more revenue for airfield construction, it provides $3.35 billion in flat funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) over the next five years. Click here for a summary of the bill. Contact NAPA Director of Government Affairs Ashley Jackson for more information.
On Sept. 26, in a 398-23 vote, the House passed H.R. 302, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill representing the longest funding period for FAA programs since 1982. The Senate-bound bill authorizes $96.7 billion in funding from fiscal years 2019 to 2023, with $16.8 billion provided in the legislation through contract authority for airport grants via the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.
H.R. 302 includes a provision long sought by NAPA to reauthorize the Airfield Pavement Technology Program, which focuses on research and deployment of innovative technologies that extend the life of airfield pavements. In addition, the bill authorizes the use of state highway specifications for airfield pavement construction at non-primary airports serving aircrafts that do not exceed 60,000 pounds.
Unfortunately, H.R. 302 does not lift the federal cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), which would have generated more revenue for airfield construction. Instead, it provides $3.35 billion in flat funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Unless another budget agreement raises the PFC cap, there will be no new AIP funding after 2019 beyond what is authorized in the FAA bill. This could make it difficult for airports to address infrastructure needs.
Finally, the bill calls on the FAA Administrator to encourage the use of durable, resilient, and sustainable materials. Click here for a summary of the bill. Pictured: United Companies, A CRH Co., of Grand Junction, Col., rehabilitated a runway and taxiway at Gunnison Crested Butte Regional Airport last September.
On Aug. 2, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Reps. Elizabeth Esty (Conn.-5) and Barbara Comstock (Va.-10) introduced the Innovative Materials in American Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act. The bipartisan bill would direct pavement technology research and encourage innovative use of construction materials to enhance the durability and extend the service life of pavements. A section-by-section summary of the bill is available here.
"While great strides have been made in developing pavement technologies that increase the use of recycled asphalt pavements and deploying warm-mix asphalt, the IMAGINE Act will lead the way in developing the next generation of pavements that will be even more safe, more sustainable, and more economical," said NAPA Chairman Craig Parker.
The legislation also requires the Secretary of Transportation to designate, through a competitive selection process, innovative material hubs (e.g., the National Center for Asphalt Technology) to further drive research and development of innovative materials. According to NAPA Executive Vice President Jay Hansen, NAPA worked very closely with the sponsors of this legislation. "We see this as the starting point for discussions on the research title of the FAST Act, which will have to be reauthorized in the next Congress," Hansen said.
A companion bill was filed the same day in the Senate by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).