State and Province News November 2010
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
By Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief
State highway officials say that bids on transportation projects are lower than expected — allowing the state to stretch federal stimulus funds. Arkansas received $31 million in stimulus funds. Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Glenn Bolick told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette the state expected to fund 99 projects, but, so far, has funded 132. He said that the lack of private projects has led contractors to bid more fiercely on public ones, with bids coming in 10 to 12 percent under estimates.
The Associated General Contractors of America and the staff of the California Air Resources Board reached an agreement on proposed changes to the state’s off-road diesel rule designed to give the construction industry time to recover from the recession while protecting air quality. According to Mike Kennedy, the association’s general counsel, the proposed changes are based on new and far lower estimates of the emissions from off-road diesel equipment in the construction industry. The proposed changes call for the Board to delay its emissions standards for off-road diesel equipment until 2014, to ease the annual burden employers have to bear, and to give contractors greater flexibility in determining how to comply. Contractors would also receive credit for efforts they have already made to reduce emissions and would be rewarded for voluntarily reducing emissions before 2014. The Board is expected to vote on the proposed changes at its December meeting.
Vulcan Materials Co., Western Division announced that the wildlife habitat at its Sacramento Aggregate Plant has received official recertification from the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). The plant is one of 41 Vulcan sites with WHC-certified wildlife habitats. Certification requirements are stringent, and sites must be recertified every two years. “I applaud our employees’ efforts to create and maintain wildlife habitats,” said Alan Wessel, president of Vulcan’s Western Division. “Through these and other activities, we demonstrate our continuing commitment to environmental stewardship while providing essential infrastructure materials that are required by the U.S. economy.”
An editorial in the Colorado Independent underscores the lack of meaningful dialogue on transportation, while gubernatorial candidates debate issues such as improving skier traffic between Denver and mountain resorts. Writer David O. Williams points out that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reported that more than half of the state’s 9,000-plus miles of roads and 128 bridges are currently rated in “poor” condition. CDOT officials say they need another $500 million a year just to maintain current conditions, and the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery bill passed in 2009 hasn’t made a dent in that need as collections have lagged.
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