ICPI, Louisiana Industry Demonstrate Permeable Pavers for U.S Senator David Vitter

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On May 3, the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) and many of its members in the Louisiana concrete paver industry hosted U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) for a special product demonstration and briefing session.

The event was held at a high-profile paver installation at the Wilson Charter School in New Orleans, and was attended by more than 30 leading concrete paver executives in Louisiana representing all elements of the concrete paver industry.

“ICPI hosted the event for Senator Vitter in large part to thank the Senator for his crucial work in adding a permeable pavements provision in the Senate version of the Transportation Reauthorization Bill” notes ICPI Chairman-elect, David Pitre. The bill is currently working its way through Congress.

Senator Vitter is a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the key Senate Committee developing the Senate version of the Transportation Bill.

Charles B. Montgomery, AIA, ASLA, Principal, HMS Architects and lead architect for the Wilson Charter School project, responded to Senator Vitter’s questions regarding why HMS chose permeable pavers based on the sustainability focus which was recognized as LEED Gold.

In holding the event for Senator Vitter, ICPI performed a simulated ASTM surface infiltration test, demonstrating the tremendous utility of permeable pavements in allowing stormwater infiltration, an important benefit in most locations but especially in New Orleans.

ICPI also briefed the Senator on other public policy benefits offered by concrete pavers, including the rapid ability to conduct repairs, and to dovetail with green construction/landscaping.

The event also carried an intensive political message: there is a growing, vocal, and focused concrete paver constituency and industry. That constituency merits his attention, protection and advancement as ICPI seeks to integrate the use of concrete pavers into federal public policy.

“Through events such as the Vitter briefing in New Orleans ICPI is working diligently to bring concrete pavers and their industry representatives to top-of-mind among key policy players in Washington DC. ICPI is doing so with a highly efficient, targeted strategy”, said Charles A. McGrath, CAE, and ICPI Executive Director.

ICPI is developing a close working relationship with Senator Vitter due to his Committee influence over both U.S. DOT and EPA.

Senator Vitter was generous with his time and engaged the industry attendees with probing questions. The Senator came away with a much clearer understanding of how concrete pavers can play an important role in the evolving public policy integrating stormwater management and green infrastructure in federal, state and local policy.

In closing, the Senator pledged to do all he can to advance and retain the permeable pavements provision in the final House-Senate version of the Transportation Reauthorization. His commitment is critical given his appointment as a conferee to negotiate the final House-Senate bill for delivery to the White House for signing into law.

The permeable pavements provision was drafted by ICPI and offered to Members of Congress for inclusion in the bill. The provision would authorize the Secretary of Transportation to conduct technology transfer programs that overcome institutional barriers to adoption and encourage state and municipal governments to adopt permeable pavements.

Congress has reconvened this week to undertake the House-Senate conference on the Transportation Reauthorization. Whereas many trade associations are experiencing stagnation in their initiatives due to the contentious environment in Congress, ICPI foresaw that the Transportation Reauthorization could be a notable exception and targeted its legislative effort in that direction. ICPI has positioned its language to be included in one of the few bills likely to become law prior to the 2012 elections.

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About ICPI
The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) represents producers, suppliers, contractors, design professionals and consultants and supports its members in assuring segmental concrete pavement systems are the preferred choice for sustainable and environmentally friendly pavements in North America. ICPI aims to increase the application of segmental concrete pavement systems in North American commercial, institutional, governmental, industrial and residential markets through the development of marketing and technical resources for design professionals, contractors and homeowners. To learn more about ICPI, visit http://www.icpi.org.

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