Utah Roadie, Roadie, Roadie | Pavement Management

Well, it’s official!  Blair got the PURPLE HARLEY.  Now he and Jackie are tearing up Route 66.

Jack
Blair and I are hosting a special free webinar next Wednesday at 2pm.

He is presenting in Utah and wants to share the excitement with you in a LIVE webinar!

Click Here To Register
 
Webinar ID: 145-062-755

                     For information on the conference…

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 6.58.34 PM

We may have some special guests on and some Alums that will answer questions you may have.  (this is in addition to our PDH Power Hour Monthly Free Webinar Series).

At the very least, grab a copy of the Book on Better Roads for FREE!

Get Your FREE Copy - 2
Date and Time
 
Wed, Apr 20, 2016 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT
 
So Keep this email handy!

It’s that easy!  Please email lori@ipmaacademy.com if you
have a “HOT TOPIC” that you would like to discuss.

Send in your questions by Monday, April 18th at 5PM.

Lori Miles

lori@ipmaacademy.com 😃 404-594-8819
The International Pavement Management Association (IPMA)

Three-legged Stool™ System of Pavement Management

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 6.42.56 PMIf you’re going to set up a three-legged stool™ system of pavement management and
succeed with it, it’s basically three steps.

You’ve got:
• Pavement management as #1,
• Pavement preservation as #2,
• In-place recycling as #3.

When you marry all three of these together,you get the three-legged stool™ system of pavement management.

1. Pavement Management
First of all, many cities and counties typically have no idea how many miles of paved road they actually have. We see this firsthand.  I walk this walk and talk the talk every single day. When I’m not making new curriculum for IPMA Academy or for one of our books or one of our audio or DVD sets, my consulting firm is out there on
the ground doing pavement distress evaluation day in, day out, all across this great country.
Moreover, many cities and counties have no idea of the condition of these roadways. For $0.02 per square yard, they can have a pavement distress evaluation performed, whether they get their own folks to do it in their house or hire an expert consulting firm.
Now if you do hire an expert consulting firm, I highly recommend that the consultants are selected following the guidelines laid out in the APWA Red Book, the qualifications-based selection guide.  So go ahead and get that from Apwa.net if you don’t already have it.  The pavement distress evaluation will help to identify the pavement type, whether it’s chipseal or micro-surfacing, hot-mix asphalt pavement or otherwise, along with the pavement condition index, the all important PCI. Now typically, the PCI has zero as undriveable at the bottom end and 100 as brand new at the top end per ASTM 6433. Now other systems may be 1 to 10 or 0 to 60; we’re
talking in the book predominantly and throughout IPMA Academy about ASTM 6433 or 0 to 100 scale with 100 being brand new.  Once the PCI is in the computer software, three different types of budgets can be run.
These three scenarios are as follows:
1.  A needs-based budget in the scenario the algorithms and the software will compute precisely how much money your city, your county needs each year to get your pavement network at optimum level. That’s an average network level of PCI of maybe 84 to 86. It never gets to 100; 84/86 is optimal. That is like winning the lottery, is what I usually say when we print that binder off and give it to our clients.
We say, “Unless you win the lottery, you’re never going to have enough money to go around to do everything that the software wants you to do.”
2.  Next, we have target-driven scenario, and the target-driven scenario is where you go back to city council or the county commission meeting, and you say, “We’re at a network level of PCI equals 57 that we’d like to get to a 70.” So now knowing that you aspire to get to a PCI of 70, the software will actually go out and tell you how much money it will take to do that and how long it will take to do it. So again, that is a target-driven scenario.
A 30,000-foot Overview of Pavement Management:
3.  Now the third is generally the budget scenario that we set up. It is where you come to us or you go to your pavement manager, and you say, “I have $5 million a year to spend, and by the way, there is a detailed little analysis in your book that will tell you how much you should be spending each year on your roads. So make sure you refer to that from time to time.”  So, in the budget case scenario, you tell the program you’ve $5 million to spend; it will go out there and tell you if you’re under
funded and if your network PCI is going to drop or stay the same or go out. Based on that amount per year, you can tweak it so you can spend various amounts per year. If you have a sudden influx of money, you can run another budget scenario and add that.  At this point, I must stress the importance of having a qualified staff to set up your decision tree within a computerized pavement management software platform. There’s two software programs that are used most frequently for cities and counties, and those two are MicroPAVER and StreetSaver. Both programs allow the user to spend just $1,000 or $2,000, and you’re up and running, whether you do it in-house or you hire someone to do it. They’re not expensive, very robust programs, and they can be cloud-based. In the case of MicroPAVER, it can also be on your server.
But most of the industry is heading more towards a cloud-based system with automatic updates, so you never have to worry about automatic backups; you never have to worry about a thing other than putting your data in and managing it. Both programs follow ASTM 6433 and are fully capable of doing all the aforementioned
scenarios and the decision tree setup.
Now remember, a real person has to sit down and put in all the unit prices for the decision tree setup. I will reiterate, many pavement management software programs are very sophisticated and robust, and can run multiple scenarios on multiple different types of pavement and functional class codes, but they are all only being fed thin overlay, medium overlay, and thick overlay. That in itself is a recipe for disaster as there are so many tools in the preservation and rehabilitation toolbox to repair your infrastructure.
Pavement Management Primer
6
The most common question I get is, “How much does it cost me to set all this up, Blair, and pay for the program?” So again, MicroPAVER or StreetSaver is going to cost you between $1,000 to $2,000, really depending on whether you get your GIS integrated and so forth. Typically, you’re going to spend $0.2 per sq. yard to set up your pavement management network. That’s including having a consultant to come out and rate everything with boots on the ground.
It’s going to save you, with qualified expertise setup, upwards of $10 per sq. yard. Now that’s a net savings of $9.98 no matter how you slice it. It doesn’t really cost you money, therefore, to manage your pavements; it’s actually costing you money not to manage them.
There’s training available through IPMA Academy should you choose to train your team in pavement management, thanks to the partnership between Auburn University and the International Pavement Management Association. Again, IPMA Academy’s 70 hours of the most comprehensive online training available to mankind ever created, you get your Accredited Pavement Manager certification. Now with the partnership with Auburn University, you also get the Continuing Education Credits (CEUs).
We have broken out the three modules, so you can now take one module at a time. If you so choose to put all three together, you get your APM (Accredited Pavement Manager) designation. If you’d only take one module or two modules, you get a certificate for taking that module and the requisite CEUs.
So that is #1. You’ve got your pavement management system set up. Now let’s start going in and plugging in some of the stuff into the decision tree.

2. Pavement Preservation
The second part of the three-legged stool pavement management system is pavement preservation. Now there is a multitude of preservation treatments available across this country to preserve and protect our pavement structure, so that they never fall into a state where they need to be removed and rebuilt completely.  The timing of these treatments is critical, however, but the
good news is this that with the properly designed pavement management software system, your team will have the scientific proof of the proper treatments at the proper time.
Now one of the keys of the entire three-legged stool system is applying the right treatment on the right road at the right time with the right contractor and for all the right reasons, and not just because it’s an election year. An example of this might be as the PCI drops from 100 down to 77, a simple slurry, micro-surfacing or high density mineral bond treatment might be triggered for installation at that time.
This preservation type and timing is set up in the decision tree in the MicroPaver or the StreetSaver software or whatever software you’re using or you’ve selected, which we discussed earlier. Worth noting is that some of the preservation treatments also double as wearing surfaces for the in-place recycled roadways, and I’ll talk about that next.
But before we go any further, I have to reiterate the importance of what preservation is in the eyes of federal highways (FHWA) and the ADA (American Disabilities Act).
What is preservation, and what is an alteration?  You see, the most recent clarifications that have been made by the U.S. Department of Justice concerns the difference between doing a job with a slurry seal
Or micro-surfacing, which could mean you spend $300,000 or $900,000. The reason for that is not just that micro costs a bit more than the slurry, but, more significantly,
choosing micro forces the hand of the city or the county official to also upgrade all of the ADA ramps and sidewalks among other ADA related improvements.
Wondering how significant this is? Well, I do Google Alerts on all of the stuff we talk about in The Book On Better Roads, and just about every week I read about
some city or county that just had their paving project double in cost because of this very subject we just discussed.  One county engineer told me that one of her bucket truck drivers accidentally left the boom up on his truck at an intersection and slightly bent one of the crossbars in the signalized intersection. It cost her county half a million bucks in ADA upgrades to meet the construction compliance laws set up by the Department of Justice.

Now following is a list of some preservation products you may put into play with your city or county. Most of all the products have been used for a decade or more, some for several decades. Again, this is not meant to be an all encompassing list. A little disclaimer here: this is not meant to be an endorsement of any type of product, service, software or otherwise. We don’t roll that way here.
From the top of the curve down, we’ve got, remember, this being 100 and down to 0, and these would all fall up in the upper range of the curve, hence “top of the curve.”
We’ve got rejuvenating agents like the PASS products from Western Emulsions: rejuvenating fog seals, rejuvenating scrub seals. Then we’ve got chip seals: single, double and triple chip seals; tar and chip you may call them, other names along the way.  I’ve got to point this out: Chip seals are not seal coats. Now some state DOTs refer to chip sealing as a seal coat, but a chip seal is a chip seal. A chip seal is a surface treatment; a chip seal is not a seal coat.
Then we’ve got the high density mineral bonds (HA5). We’ve
Got slurry seals; we’ve got micro-surfacing which at one time was referred to as Polymer Modified Slurry (PMs). We’ve got ultra-thin bonded wearing courses. Thin overlays, now we’re talking about the hot-mix family here, and thin overlays with RAS (Recycled Asphalt Shingles) and RAP (Recycled Asphalt Product).  Mr. Gerry Huber talked about this. We were at Purdue together a couple years back, and he had a great discussion about RAS/RAP mixtures with upwards of 57% recycled product. I think there was like 18% Recycled Asphalt Shingles and 39% Recycled Asphalt Product. Also, I want to point out that Dr. Mike Heitzman from NCAT
also did a really good IPMA Academy live session for us just a while back on hot-mix asphalt thin overlays in pavement management.  Again, this list above is not meant to be all inclusive. If I missed something during the recording of the session, know that there are maybe a few others out there that you are considering or your agency already currently uses. So here is where the biggest bang for your buck comes for your city or county and the third leg in the three-legged stool system of pavement management:  in-place recycling.

Since the majority of our four million miles of paved roads in the USA are hot-mix asphalt pavements, we focus on the three main disciplines for hot-mix asphalt pavements, namely Hot In-place Recycling (HIR), Cold In-place Recycling (CIR), and Full-Depth Reclamation (FDR).

However, on the concrete pavement side of the rehabilitation and preservation fence, there are plenty of requisite treatments for PCC as well. One of those we discuss quite often for rehabilitation of PCC is rubblization.
3. In-Place Recycling Treatments
Following are the in-place asphalt recycling disciplines and the respective sub-disciplines.  We’ve got Hot In-place Recycling with the sub-disciplines being:
surface recycling; remixing and repaving. And we’ve got the hybrid combo called Re-HEAT.  Now simply speaking, the surface recycling technique involves a series of sequential heaters that heat up the old asphalt surface in-place. The train moves down the roadway one lane at a time, heating the pavement upwards of 300 degrees, adding polymer modified rejuvenating agent, then scarifying the surface to a nominal depth between one and two inches. The rejuvenated mix is then laid out with an attached screed, just like a conventional paving screed, which is attached to the back-end of the last sequential heater. The mix is compacted with a conventional hot-mix asphalt type pavement equipment.  You could think about this process, the surface recycling, or scarification, as giving you a new leveling course, where wearing surfaces from the pavement preservation list, could be added.

Next, we have the remixing sub-discipline heats up the old in-situ asphalt pavements, similar to the former method I just discussed, but this time, having the ability to add upwards of 30% of new version hot-mix asphalt at the same time. Now imagine, if you will, using that 57% super-duper RAP/RAS combo that I mentioned
earlier in the session as your supplemental admixture for this remixing technique.
In this technique, the crew can do two to three inches in depth by doing sequential heating, milling, and mixing. This technique is used on all types of roads, including the Oklahoma turnpike which I think I just drove over a week ago in the Better Roads bus. In the case of the turnpike, they applied an ultra-thin bonded wearing
course as the top course or the final asphalt layer.

Now the third sub-discipline of Hot In-place Recycling (HIR) is the
repaving method. When we talk about this in class, I use the peanut butter and jelly sandwich analogy. So picture this: Take the old asphalt that gets heated and scarified, much like the first sub- discipline, with the jelly being into new pavement placed on the top of the peanut butter or the one inch of heated old pavement. Both
layers are laid out with a double screed and compacted as one new homogenous mixture.  The Re-HEAT process is kind of a hybrid between the remixing and the surface recycling. It heats up about two inches of the in-situ asphalt mix and scrapes it off the road bed, picks it up and puts it into an onboard batch plant. The batch plant runs right up inside the heater unit, and the asphalt mix gets polymer modified
rejuvenating oil added to it. Nothing else is being added, per se, just the recycling agent and the old asphalt mix, but it’s getting mixed inside of a barrel which results in a really nice homogenous mixture. It now comes out behind the heater in the final preheating and heating stages, and gets put down with basically the exact same paver. It’s integral; it’s attached to the machine itself. It’s as good or better than a standard paver that you would see on a conventional hot-mix asphalt job. The mix goes down through the paver and gets laid out and compacted with conventional compaction equipment. What makes the Re-Heat a bit different is that it does not require an additional wearing surface.

With Cold In-place Recycling (CIR)you can have single unit trains, dual unit trains, and multi unit trains. The contractors are still performing partial depth reclamation and rely on you as the agency to have at least four inches of pavement depth. The contractors can strip off the entire pavement section and recycle it in-place with engineered emulsion or foamed asphalt, provided there is a good structure underneath.  The CIR contractors coin this phrase “following the rock.” It’s
worth noting here that as we go through this list of in-place recycling techniques, we are also following the declining PCI ratings.
We’re following “the curve” as we go down through these treatments. While a Hot In-Place candidate pavement may have a PCI of 62, a CIR candidate may present itself as a PCI 52 and have a thicker pavement section for the contractor to deal with.
_________________________________________

That brings us to FDR (Full-Depth Reclamation) where a typical candidate selection may be a PCI 21 or less.  Now the good news is whether it’s a 21 or an 11 or a 1, it’s still going to require FDR with some sort of wearing course. So don’t struggle once the pavements get down below 30 and think you have to do everything all at once, worst first. No. In fact, you should take two or three years to budget for those types of roads and make sure you have enough money in the budget to cover those costs.

Know that, with in-place options, you can do these FDR projects for a third of the cost of conventional dig out and reconstruction.  There will never likely be a time when you’ll have to ever, ever, ever dig up your old road and haul it away to a landfill site. In fact, for those of you who have seen me do a live conference event, I’ve been known to get the entire audience to stand up and make that pledge with me.

FDR (Full-Depth Reclamation) can be done with mechanical stabilization, chemical stabilization. or bituminous stabilization.  The pavement structure — it can be of any combination of pavement, thickness, granular or dirt — as a requisite treatment will take care of most every situation you may have.  Again, experts know to go out in the field and get proper mixed designs and soil samples, so they can align the right treatment with the right road at the right time for the right reason with the right contractor. At times, soil stabilization can be used in conjunction with the FDR to take care of the very worst case scenarios. I think back to the 30 miles in Natchez Trace Parkway that we did for Federal Highways. We took a full advantage of all the treatments that we talked about today with FDR and soil stabilization.

Note, this in-place method is a fraction of the cost of conventional undercut and provides the same or better surface life, probably the biggest no-brainer of all time.
For more information on any of the above, please refer to your copy of “The Book On Better Roads”.
Wherever you go, thanks for reading the Pavement Management Primer. Hope to see you real soon.

Blair Barnhardt, signing off.

High-volume pavement preservation: Untapped potential for contractors

Re-Blogging from Better Roads Magazine

BY:  Chris Hill

|  February 15, 2016 |

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 7.17.10 PMAsphalt pavement preservation is a tactic used primarily in the realm of low-volume roadways. It has helped municipalities expand road life, keep overall highway maintenance costs down, and keep residents relatively happy during their commutes to and from work and home.

The success of these programs, along with interest from the Federal Highway Administration, is now pushing the paving industry to focus on pavement preservation for high-volume roadways.

The National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University is leading the way, implementing pavement preservation test plots on U.S. 280 in central Alabama. The highway is a major artery into the metro Birmingham area. (See sidebar below, “High-volume preservation method testing.”)

NCAT directed placement of these plots last summer, collecting performance data such as roughness, rutting and cracking. In addition to collecting this data weekly, they are also studying more long-term performance metrics (such as field permeability) on a quarterly basis.

The test is designed to be a “rational starting point,” in order to narrow down which pavement preservation techniques are the optimal combination of life-cycle costs and performance. The secondary goal is to use the data gathered to create guide specifications, and to recommend guidelines for pavement quality assurance testing and inspection.

NCAT’s partner in road research, Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Minnesota Road Research Facility (MnROAD), is also testing some of the same pavement preservation treatments on high volume roadways in Minnesota’s cold-weather climate.

“Our goal is to execute a single experiment with nationwide impact through the MnROAD partnership,” says Buzz Powell, NCAT assistant director and test track manager. “This involves experiment design, construction planning, installation, performance testing, dissemination of findings, and (most importantly) implementation. It would be ideal for guidelines/specifications to be universal; however, best practices could vary as a function of climate, materials, etc.”

 

Municipal experience

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 7.17.00 PMThe Charleston County (South Carolina) Transportation Development department has been a model example of a municipality continually improving and expanding a preservation program. In honor of those achievements, For Pavement Preservation (FP2) awarded the agency its 2014 James B. Sorenson Award. FP2 lauded the agency for its work testing and implementing multiple preservation techniques, and for its communication efforts explaining the preservation work to the public.

Though more than 80 percent of the county’s preservation work takes place on low-volume roadways, according to Richard Turner, project and preservation program manager, one method stands out for its effectiveness on high-volume roadways: microsurfacing.

“We continue to run pilot projects trying different applications, and probably the most used is microsurfacing,” Turner says. “I’ve seen that successfully placed on high-volume roads here in Charleston, by us or by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), assuming it’s put on the right road at the right time. If you put a microsurfacing treatment down on a road that’s a little bit further into its life, the microsurfacing lifecyle won’t be as good as it would be if you applied the treatment earlier in its life.”

This technique is fairly new in the market for high-volume roads in South Carolina, with SCDOT using the technique for the first time seven years ago (on U.S. 17 in Charleston County). Turner says his agency’s first use of the technique was in 2011.

“We’re looking at a market that’s five to seven years old,” he says, adding that he hasn’t been able to work with contractors in South Carolina because there aren’t any doing the work. Instead, contractors from adjacent states are winning the contracts.

“The two or three companies that are bidding on projects throughout South Carolina are able to have a nomad crew that comes and spends 30 to 60 days in each county, get the work done and report back. I don’t know if there’s anyone in the state ready to invest yet or not.”

From Turner’s perspective, microsurfacing is a far better application for high-volume settings (compared to low-volume roads), a viewpoint that comes as a direct result of his agency’s communication efforts. It boils down to look and feel.

“When it’s placed on roads that are higher volume, we’ve gotten no complaints,” he says. “When we’ve placed it on lower volume roads, that’s when we get the questions. It’s mostly because you have folks walking on these roads and they’re looking at every little detail of that road. They can tell that it’s not the same as a hot mix or dense graded asphalt. That’s when they notice it. When you’re driving down the road you can’t see it or feel it. You can’t tell that it’s any different.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 7.17.22 PMPlacing a microsurface treatment on high-volume roads changes the esthetics of the mat, Turner explains, with more traffic improving its appearance within the first month of use. “The effectiveness of it doesn’t change one way or another, but from a public perception standpoint, I think it looks better on a high volume road,” he adds.

Public perception of microsurfacing has taken a hit from instances of improper placement, and also from the application being used as more of a temporary bandage. “Those roads needed much more than a microsurfacing or some other preservation treatment,” Turner says.

Turner’s point touches on a major concept of pavement preservation. A roadway in need of major work, or one that is failing, is not a good candidate for preservation work and requires more extensive rehabilitation. To paraphrase Marty Comer, the president of Comer Contracting in Connecticut, even in lieu of public opinion, preservation is a difficult concept for some municipalities to grasp.

“It’s a real tough sell,” he says. “Pavement preservation is for ‘good’ pavement, and to get people to spend money on good pavement is sometimes a challenge. In dealing with municipalities, it’s a tough sell when they have bad roads that need work and then they try and spend money on preservation work. That’s what the whole industry has been promoting for quite a number of years, but it’s still a tough sell.”

 

Contractor perspective

As in South Carolina, microsurfacing has emerged as the high-volume preservation of choice in Connecticut. And just like its southern counterpart, Connecticut faces a shortage of contractors to perform the task. Even as a pavement preservation specialist, most of Comer’s work is chip seal.

But, much of the preservation work in the state has been handled a different way. Connecticut has seen a strong run of resurfacing work over the past few years, with the state’s Department of Transportation recently reporting 2015 as the fourth straight year of increased two-lane road resurfacing.

“There was a lot of bituminous concrete (asphalt) put down last year as far as historical amounts, and they plan to do a fair amount this year,” Comer says. “ConnDOT has a tendency to call that pavement preservation, especially if it’s thin lift, because the paving industry has tried to make that the pavement preservation of choice.“

“The public will, to a certain extent, accept cape seal in this area with chip seal and microsurfacing over it,” he adds. “They still turn their nose up at it a little bit, but it’s perceived as more acceptable because it’s smoother. “

“The name of the game in any surfacing project is to avoid having loose stone. For instance, if you’re going to chip seal, it needs to be swept practically the same day. That’s where I think it’s going, at least where I’m working. The motoring public doesn’t accept chip seal well, but if you can make it smoother, if you can sweep it up real quick, then the pavement maintenance industry can have more success. You certainly have to be neat and produce a good looking product.”

 

– See more at: http://www.equipmentworld.com/high-volume-pavement-preservation-untapped-potential-for-contractors/#sthash.N4fGzf4Z.dpuf

Pavement Management | Secret Weapons | IPMA

These 5 things have made the biggest difference in my career …ever.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Literally, they have helped more than any discovery in the past 28 straight years of surveying pavement and implementing pavement management plans.

Here is YOUR “SECOND CHANCE” bundle.

Get it…here.

I’ll be giving it to you using the same process-map and I walk clients through when they come for a $3,000.00 day of consulting on Pavement Management Software and Surveying Techniques 😉

(Except you don’t have to pay $3,000.00 or even leave the house).

Yours for the taking, here 🙂

Blair

P.S.  Literally. I think this is the coolest thing I could possibly offer you.

About three weeks ago, I presented this to a diverse group of City and County Staff Members ranging from a Road Tech all the way to a Director of Public Works for a County with 1457 Center Lane Miles (and the Commissioners, LOL) …and they all flipped out over this information.

You’re a Public Works Professional or Pavement Professional so you’ll “get it” fast, and I think you’ll be able to implement it even faster.  Enjoy!

P.P.S. I’m giving this to you because I can 🙂

I am offering IPMA Academy (CLICK HERE FOR SYLLABUS), 8 DVD Box set, The Book on Better Roads and The Unreleased Black Album for…..$$$$$$$$$$$

CLICK HERE TO SEE RIDICULOUSLY LOW PRICE!

Now GO GET THIS DEAL HERE!

Blair

IPMA | SECRET SALE REVEALED | BARNHARDT

The doors to the Secret Sale open tomorrow but you’re going to miss out if you’re not on the Insider’s List.

Go here and get on the list ASAP!

The reason you want to do that is you’re about to have access to the craziest offer in the HISTORY of Pavement Management.

Seriously …you’re going to flip out over this 🙂

Get on the list here so you don’t miss out!

Blair Barnhardt, APM
The International Pavement Management Association

Author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller,
‘The Book on Better Roads’

click here

We need to fix our crumbling infrastructure

FROM THE HILL

There’s an old song that aptly describes Congress today when it comes to our nation’s infrastructure. It’s called “You don’t miss your water (’til the well runs dry).”  Our “well” hasn’t run dry — yet — but it’s just a matter of time, and it would be foolish to wait until it does before we start building its replacement.

Much of our nation’s infrastructure — including many of our roads and bridges, locks and dams, and water and sewer systems — is outdated and crumbling. It’s desperately in need of repair or replacement — and yet, Congress keeps short-changing the federal government’s investment in maintaining and improving this essential foundation of our economy.

The numbers are mind-boggling. A quarter of our major roads are in poor condition, and one out of every nine bridges are structurally deficient. Nearly 800 cities have outdated wastewater collection systems that discharge raw sewage into rivers and streams when it rains. Many locks and dams on our nation’s waterways are decades past their design lives and at risk of catastrophic failures that could devastate regional economies.

There’s a heavy economic cost to such a shortsighted policy. The burden falls on households and businesses alike through higher costs, lower productivity, fewer jobs, lost time and weakened international competitiveness. The Council of Economic Advisers reported last year, for example, that Americans spend 5 billion hours stuck in traffic each year. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently estimated that the annual cost of traffic congestion on freight transportation alone is approaching $200 billion, most of which is passed along to consumers through higher prices. The American Society of Civil Engineers has calculated that the cumulative cost to the U.S. economy of failing to adequately invest in our infrastructure would be more than $3 trillion between 2012 and 2020. Those are significant costs, and they don’t include the economic impact of any catastrophic failures.

We’re paying a heavy price today for allowing our nation’s infrastructure to crumble, and that price will rise dramatically if we continue on our current course. On the other hand, there would be a substantial economic benefit from increasing our investment in the country’s infrastructure.

For starters, that increased investment would reduce the burden imposed on us by our crumbling infrastructure in the form of lost fuel, wasted time, higher costs and fewer jobs. Investing more in our nation’s infrastructure now would actually save us money over the long run.

In addition, increased investments in our nation’s infrastructure would provide the added benefit of stimulating both short- and long-term economic growth. Private sector analysts  Standard & Poor’s projected that investing an additional 1 percent of U.S. GDP ($160 billion) in infrastructure construction in 2015 would increase our GDP by $270 billion between 2015 and 2017 — and promote future economic growth by “allowing goods and services to be transported more quickly and at lower costs.” That’s a pretty decent return on our investment.

Increased investment in infrastructure would create new jobs as well — from the long-term economic growth it would produce as well as the near-term construction it would require. While the official unemployment rate is now 5 percent, the labor participation rate is also unusually low; millions of Americans would re-enter the workforce if additional opportunities arose — including many construction workers. The number of people working in construction jobs hit 6.4 million in October, the highest since 1999 — but still far below the 2006 level of more than 7.7 million. Estimates vary substantially, but there’s widespread consensus that each $1 billion invested in infrastructure construction creates at least 10,000 jobs. Standard & Poor’s estimated that investing an additional 1 percent of GDP would create more than 700,000 new jobs.

Unfortunately, while investing in our nation’s infrastructure is a proven and productive way to stimulate economic growth and create new jobs, we’ve been cutting back in recent years — and struggling pitifully just to maintain the current inadequate level of investment. The Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that, adjusted for inflation, federal investments in transportation and water resources had fallen by 20 percent since 2003. Congress isn’t investing enough to properly maintain the infrastructure we’ve got — and certainly not enough to build the infrastructure our economy will need in the coming years.

We can’t keep taking our nation’s infrastructure needs for granted. We’re going to have to pay for them at some point. We can make the smart choice — sacrifice now to make productive investments, and get a substantial return on those investments in the near future — or we can stick our heads in the sand, choose the status quo and impose rapidly rising burdens on American households and businesses. That might be the politically popular choice today, but there’ll be hell to pay when that well runs dry.

Doyle represents Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District and has served in the House since 1995. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Pavement Management | Secret Sale | Blair Barnhardt

THIS IS BIG.


 

 

Looks like you’re not on the Insider’s List for the Secret Sale.

 

You need to act now.

 

The reason why is because this is the most generous, outlandish, and fun offer in the history of Pavement Management.

 

You’re getting a 76% discount on …HMMMMMM?

 

What is it? Why am I doing this? 76% off of what??

 

Well, you’ll just have to see here 😉

 

One thing I’ll tell you is that you won’t know unless you get on the Insider’s List here.

 

So …go here and get on it! Otherwise you’ll never know the answer (and you’ll miss out on the most awesome sale ever, period 🙂

Blair

 

P.S. Seriously. You’re going to enjoy this a lot. Get the full scoop here.