Rock Products

AUG 2019

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Page 98 of 159 ROCK products • August 2019 • 97 into good repair over a six-year period. Congress could set a goal for repairing all roads in poor con- dition and write a bill that clearly moves the ball forward toward that goal. If it can't be done in the next six-year autho- rization bill then Congress should make clear what is feasible – such as reducing the percentage by half so that no more than 10% of the nation's roads will be in poor condition by 2026. These are the kinds of concrete, tangible goals that have been sorely missing from federal transportation policy for far too long. Require states to repair their existing systems before expanding. Congress should require that states dedicate available highway formula funding to repairing and main- taining the existing system first. Historically, states have used this formula funding for new road construction. Con- tinually expanding the system while neglecting regular repair has created this current backlog of costly repair needs. It's also encouraged sprawling, car-oriented development that increases the length and number of car trips. As a result, states return to the federal government every few years requesting more funds to address unmet "needs," when those needs could have been prevented or delayed with more responsible spending practices. Congress could also grant states additional flexibility with their funds if they are able to demonstrate that they are keeping their roads in good con- dition above a certain percentage threshold. Require project sponsors to demonstrate they can afford to maintain new roadway capacity projects. In the transit program, major new projects are stringently evaluated before receiving federal funding to ensure that: 1) they support fed- eral goals, 2) the project sponsor has the funding to operate and maintain the new asset, and 3) the project sponsor can manage the new asset without shortchanging the rest of their system. These same commonsense principles are not applied to the highway program. In other words, under our current federal program, a proj- ect sponsor can build a new road that they cannot afford to maintain, even as they are failing to maintain the rest of their system in a good state of repair. It is time to require a higher level of asset management in the highway program. The new transportation program should focus on getting greater efficiency from the roads we have already built and ensuring that we have a plan for operating and maintaining what we build. Taking another cue from the transit program, to supple- ment the funding distributed by formula to states dedicated to highway repair and maintenance, Congress should also create a competitive program to fund new highway capacity expansion projects. Project sponsors should demonstrate that they can operate and maintain the asset throughout its useful life, and projects should be evaluated for funding based on clear performance criteria to ensure that funded projects produce substan- tial benefits for the cost. This could include demonstrating improvement in access to jobs and services, reducing vehi- cle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, improving safety, reducing the cost of managing the transportation system, providing better outcomes for disadvantaged pop- ulations, or accomplishing other policy goals. Track Progress and Require That FHWA Publish Results The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP- 21) Act in 2012 established new requirements that state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations set performance targets for the pavement con- ditions of the interstate and non-interstate highways they maintain, and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 reaffirmed this requirement. As of 2017, all states reported their roadway pavement con- ditions targets to FHWA. But for some perplexing reason, it took until spring of 2019 for those targets to be available to the public, and they are difficult to digest in their current form. FHWA also has not reported a baseline of current condi- tions for many states, which makes it impossible to tell if any state's target would represent an improvement over current conditions or a deterioration. Further, the highway spending data reported by FHWA is unacceptably out of date – the most recent publicly available data on state highway capital spending used in this analysis is from 2014. This delay is an unacceptable failure that Con- gress and the president should require FHWA to fix before asking taxpayers to provide more funding for transportation. How can the public have any idea whether or not federal spending is accomplishing what has been promised without better data? The new transportation bill should establish stronger reporting requirements to ensure that our invest- ments produce the needed results. Congress should also require that FHWA publish up-to-date information on state highway expenditures. Source: Transportation for America and Taxpayers for Common Sense. Aggregates Industry Almanac Review of Road Conditions

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