Making Transportation Progress in the 21st Century
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After three years and nine extensions, the House and Senate both pass a 27-month, $105 billion surface transportation bill. Now the clock is ticking to 2014.
The House and Senate on June 29 passed a new bipartisan, bicameral 27-month, $105 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
The measure, H.R. 4348, passed the House 373-52, just before the June 30 expiration of the ninth extension of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The Senate passed the bill 74-19. The legislation authorizes federal highway and transit investment through the end of September 2014 with the current funding level, plus a slight bump for inflation. President Obama signed the bill on July 6.
Ron Summers, senior vice president, Materials Division, CalPortland Co., lauded the bill, saying that it assures the employment of 3 million Americans in the construction industry, where unemployment has outpaced the national rate.
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) President and CEO Joy Pinniger says the bill will help put the aggregate industry back on the road to economic growth. “Every $1 million in aggregates sales creates 19.5 jobs, and every dollar of industry output returns $1.58 to the economy,” Pinniger said in a written statement. She noted that the bill includes reforms that consolidate programs and eliminate program redundancies, as well as expediting the project approval process.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls the transportation bill “a good, bipartisan bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system, and grow our economy.” LaHood notes in an official press statement that the bill “provides states and communities with two years of steady funding to build the roads, bridges, and transit systems they need.”
Lisa Carson, marketing manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, which heads up The Road Connection, a nationwide initiative to highlight the need for increased road and infrastructure funding, noted that the “measure is far from perfect,” [but] it gives our contractors and dealers the stability they need to continue their operations and provide jobs to millions of Americans.”
Despite this progress after three years of short-term extensions, Congress still has to worry about the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which will be depleted in 2015.
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) at a Glance
• MAP-21 reauthorizes the federal-aid highway program at the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline level — equal to current funding levels plus inflation — for two fiscal years.
• MAP-21 consolidates the number of federal programs by two-thirds, from about 90 programs down to less than 30.
• MAP-21 eliminates earmarks.
• Map-21 expedites project delivery while protecting the environment.
• MAP-21 creates a new title called “America Fast Forward,” which strengthens the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program (TIFIA) to leverage federal dollars further than they have been stretched before.
• MAP-21 consolidates certain programs into a focused freight program to improve the movement of goods.
Source: U.S. Senate; a downloadable PDF of “Summary of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” is available at
Aggregate Industries hosts rescue dog certification
Aggregate Industries US (AIUS) and the Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team (MA-TF 1 US&R) hosted Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Canine Certification at the Aggregate Industries K-9 Testing Facility in Littleton, Mass., during which rescue dogs and their handlers underwent rigorous testing, including a search for volunteer human “survivors” under piles of rubble.
AIUS employees helped to construct the two initial rubble piles used in the certification. This year, AIUS employees also modified and built up the piles, says Robin DeCarlo, a spokeswoman for AIUS.
The materials used in the rubble piles are mostly donated concrete, steel, and pallets. The piles are constructed in such a way that “victims” are placed within them. In addition to the “victims,” the organizers place other items to distract the dogs, such as food and clothes. MA-TF 1, one of 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces throughout the country, initially approached AIUS, a member of the Holcim Group, because of the aggregate company’s large quarry facilities in Massachusetts.
The rescue task force felt that AIUS might be better positioned than other private facilities in the area to construct and maintain the rubble piles that are needed in order for the search dog teams to regularly train and test, DeCarlo says. The piece of property used in the certification has now been dedicated as a training site, with trainers always onsite. The highly realistic course is crucial to prepare the teams for emergencies where recovery is often a matter of life and death.
“AIUS cares about the communities in which we operate and is proud to support this activity,” DeCarlo tells Aggregates Manager. “What takes place at the Littleton Quarry has an impact not only locally, but nationally and worldwide in times of disaster.”
Graniterock president/CEO dies in apparent boat accident
Graniterock President, CEO, and Chairman Bruce Woolpert was known in the aggregate industry for his enthusiasm for education, his innovative ideas, his focus on quality people and products, and his commitment to customer service.
On June 24, 2012, Woolpert died in an apparent boating accident. Woolpert is survived by his wife Rose Ann, his children, Marianne and Arthur, and his brother, Steve.
Mark Kaminski, a long-time member of Graniterock’s Board of Directors, is now chairman of the board and acting CEO, which is in accordance with the succession plan developed by the company.
In a corporate statement, the company notes: “The Woolpert family has complete confidence in the current management team and Graniterock team members and plans to continue operating the company for another 112 successful years.”
Therese Dunphy, editor-in-chief of Aggregates Manager, had the opportunity to interview Woolpert several times. She says he brought “innovative ideas to the aggregate industry, and Graniterock thrived as a result. His focus on quality products and people helped differentiate the company and transformed it into one of Fortune magazine’s best companies to work for.”
Dunphy recalls her last interview with Woolpert, which she says centered on customer service. During that interview he shared his company’s simple philosophy: Yes, we will, as its response to serving its customers.
“It was this type of innovation that led Graniterock, under Bruce’s leadership, to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Dunphy says. “Bruce [Woolpert] had a knack for bringing out the best in his company, his industry, and his community. Will we miss his passion for improving each? Yes, we will.”
Services were held for Woolpert on June 30 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Saratoga, Calif. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions to the Woolpert Family Foundation, to continue Woolpert’s legacy in educational programs. Contributions may be sent to P.O. Box 50001, c/o Janice Shaffer, Watsonville, CA 95077.
To view Graniterock’s “Memories of Bruce” page, or to give a memory, go to www.graniterock.com/blogs/rock/2012/06/memories-of-bruce/.
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