Washington, DC (PRWEB) January 24, 2014
The Omnibus bill supplants the Sequester Budget plan and now funds the federal government – including USDOT/FHWA actions that are the subject of ICPI’s request – through the end of FY 2014.
In late summer of 2013, ICPI lobbied the House and the Senate to add the permeable pavements language to the “T-HUD” Appropriations Bill. “T-HUD” is of paramount interest to all transportation business stakeholders, including ICPI. Both Houses agreed to ICPI’s request, but the “T-HUD” bill stalled at the last minute due to partisan wrangling. In response, ICPI altered its request to target a future Omnibus bill, noting a growing desire on Capitol Hill to supplant the Sequester with a more detailed funding plan.
That congressional desire bloomed and became reality during the week of January 13. The final permeable pavements language signed into law by President Obama is identical to the ICPI proposal that was included in “T-HUD”, as ICPI requested.
When Congress accepted the “T-HUD” language, David Pitre, ICPI’s Board Chairman-Elect, hailed the action as an, “extension and expansion of the language that ICPI secured on the MAP-21 Transportation Authorization law. ICPI is helping government institutions at all levels overcome outmoded barriers to adoption and increase the use of pavers to obtain their public policy benefits in transportation.”
Charles McGrath, ICPI’s Executive Director, said that, “ICPI’s activities on this effort reflect the association’s commitment to grow paver penetration into the huge U.S. transportation network as a mainstream technology to expand and upgrade the transportation infrastructure.”
The permeable pavements provision offered by ICPI urges the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to expend discretionary funds to address the purposes set forth in MAP-21. However, the appropriations provision expands USDOT/FHWA activities to include testing of high-traffic permeable pavements using infiltration concrete or asphalt bases, validation of hydrologic/hydraulic/pollutant removal performance data and modeling, and data collection and reporting on permeable pavements, installation, maintenance and life cycle costs.
The permeable pavements provision further directs USDOT to issue reports on its findings to State and municipal transportation agencies. “ICPI staff are working closely with USDOT/FHWA officials to implement the new policy and encourage the agencies to allocate discretionary funds to these tasks,” said McGrath.
Randall Pence of Capitol Hill Advocates, ICPI’s Government Affairs Counsel, commented that, “the ICPI appropriations provision was made possible in large part by the prior placement of the permeable pavements language in MAP-21. Procedurally, the provisions are designed to work in tandem, and also to lay the foundation for the successor bill to MAP-21.”
Pitre, McGrath and Pence jointly praised the leadership and foresight of the Senate Appropriations Committee, particularly Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), for their bipartisan work on the T-HUD Subcommittee. Senator Collins is particularly interested in how permeable pavements can provide environmentally-friendly stormwater reduction enhancements to the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
In addition, Pence thanked Senator David Vitter (R-LA), a key player in passing MAP-21, who signed a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee supporting the inclusion of the permeable pavements language.
In the U.S. House, Pence thanked Cong. Harold Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations for his crucial assistance in securing House approval of the permeable pavements provision. He noted that Cong. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Cong. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) have been supportive of paver funding issues as well.
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 awareness, use and acceptance of segmental concrete pavement systems in North America through the development of marketing and technical resources for design professionals, contractors and homeowners. To learn more about ICPI, visit http://www.icpi.org.