Thursday, May 28, 2015

Executive Director Message June 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away (not really)

Despite the consistent rain showers each and every day, the month of May has proven to be a very busy time of year for the Utah Asphalt Pavement Association (UAPA).  And after the winter (or lack thereof) we had, the recent rain showers are certainly welcome, but it has made for an interesting start to the construction season nonetheless.  Regardless, rain or no rain, May has flown by; here are a few things the association worked on or was a part of this month:
·      Member Visits: I have made it a personal goal to personally visit with each and every UAPA member this year.  Special thanks to all of you who sat down or provided me with a tour this month.  I have learned so much.  The perspectives you offered during our visits help provide direction and future opportunities for the association.  Thank you!  If you have not heard from me yet, you soon will.  I mean it when I say I want to visit with every member on an individual basis.
·      May Lunch and Learn - The Maintenance Toolbox: In May we had another great and successful Lunch and Learn event to learn about some of the tools available to pavement managers and owners for pavement maintenance.  Special thanks to Dean Garrett with Morgan Pavement for presenting at this Lunch and Learn.
·      UDOT-UAPA Quarterly Meeting: The association met with representatives from UDOT to discuss current and future specification changes as well as to follow-up on recent changes UAPA and UDOT have made together.
·      First-Ever UAPA Local Government Advisory Council Meeting: Late in the month, UAPA held its first-ever Local Government Advisory Council meeting for cities and counties in Utah.  The meeting was a great success and provided an opportunity for cities and counties from across the state to discuss current needs, best practices, and possible changes in the industry moving forward.  The Council will meet again in late October or early November.
·      Standard Committee Meetings: All of our committees (Operations, Technical, Executive, Membership) are engaged and actively working on items to improve industry, performance, and business.  We’ve worked very hard on some important items this month and I am so grateful for the time and energy that has been put into committee work recently on behalf of UAPA.  I look forward to moving the work of these committees along through discussion and feedback from the Board of Directors in the months to come!
·      APWA Golf Tournament: UAPA was happy to once again support a marquee event for our friends at the APWA Utah Chapter.  This year they raised over $8,000 for their scholarship fund! Congratulations to all who made the event such a success!

June promises to be just as busy for the association with Roundtable Discussions scheduled for our Maintenance and Placement Contractors; our next Lunch and Learn on the 18th, Why Pavements Fail and What You Can Do About It (a panel discussion); additional meetings with UDOT on changes to the CIR Specification and IRI Specification; and our regular slate of committee and board meetings.

As you can see from all that is happening, this is an association on the move and one that is driven by its members and their willingness to act.  If you are not a part of UAPA, you should be.  There are membership categories available for each and every kind of entity from cities and counties (who join for free!) to design and engineering firms to contractors and equipment suppliers.   We need you!  Just like the rain, there will always be challenges, but I am confident as we continue to grow this association and keep it active that together we will continue to accomplish great things for our industry.

Thanks for all you give to UAPA and to our shared industry.  I have plenty of umbrellas if you need to borrow one.



Highway Extension Advances in Congress

Sign Highway Trust Fund Petition

Last night the House of Representatives approved HR 2353, a bill to extend the MAP-21 highway authorization through July 31, 2015.  The vote was 387 to 35.  A number of members had threatened to vote against the bill as a protest of how Congress has been handling (or mishandling) the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solvency crisis and in opposition to the continued use of short-term extensions.  The Senate is expected to vote to approve a similar extension sometime today or Thursday.   Letters NAPA sent to lawmakers can be found here.

While a July deadline helps to keep the pressure on Congress to find a long-term funding solution, the chances of solving the HTF crisis within the next two months (or 31 legislative days) is very unlikely.  Most likely, come July, Congress will once again have to extend the program.

The primary hope according to Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) for finding sufficient revenues to authorize a six-year program is as part of a comprehensive tax reform package.  Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has also raised the idea of funding the Highway Trust Fund while extending a series of business tax breaks that are renewed annually, known as tax extenders.

When NAPA’s Legislative Committee meets on July 13, 2015 during NAPA’s Midyear Meeting in Denver, members will discuss the Association’s position on future extensions and ways to push for a long-term transportation reauthorization bill with increased investments for highways.   In the meantime, NAPA members are urged to arrange meetings with their Member of Congress back in the District to press them to enact a viable, long-term revenue source for the Highway Trust Fund.  Information on Districts visits can be found here.

Lastly, NAPA members are urged to sign and spread the word on a petition calling on Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund.  To make sure congressional leaders hear us loud and clear, NAPA is striving to have thousands of transportation construction industry professionals sign the petition ASAP, which can be found here.

Editor's Note: NAPA's Director of Government Affairs, Michele Stanley, accepted a new position at the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association to be closer to her family.  NAPA is in the process of finding a replacement.  In the meantime, any questions about NAPA's government affairs or PAC programs should be directed to Jay Hansen at