The Lake Charles I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River is rated as structurally deficient. It was built in 1952 and carries more than 65,000 vehicles a day.
Critical bridge report should be "wake-up call"
A national report that shows one in seven Louisiana's bridges should be repaired or replaced should be a wake-up call to state legislators who are considering several proposed laws to increase funding for transportation, Good Roads
President Kenneth Perret said.
A report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association shows that Louisiana has 1,827 bridges classified as structurally deficient. That represents 14 percent of Louisiana's bridges, ranking the state 10th on the list of bridges that need to be repaired or replaced. Structurally deficient bridges are not necessarily unsafe, but the classification means the bridges are in need of repair or replacement.
"Legislators need to give DOTD the tools they need to do the job, and the tool they need is more money to fix our bridges," Perret said in a news release from the Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association.
Perret said there are several pieces of legislation being considered this session that could give DOTD an immediate influx of cash without raising taxes. Some of those measures include protecting the Transportation Trust Fund from budget raids to balance the general fund and the immediate phase in of vehicle sales tax from the general fund to the TTF.
"We have been able to hide some of our transportation problems over the last few years by using surplus revenues and federal stimulus money,
but both of those funding sources are gone," Perret said. "Safe bridges are a non-negotiable item."
P.O. Box 3713
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
FHWA Admin.-Arkansas (Ret.)
LA DOTD Asst. Secy. (Ret.)
SR. VICE PRESIDENT
Executive Director, La. Asphalt Pavement Assn.
LA DOTD Secretary (Ret.)
KEN NAQUIN, CEO
Louisiana AGC, Inc.
Board of Directors
JOE ACCARDO, JR.
Executive Director - Ports Assn. of Louisiana
GEN. JOHN BASILICA
WILLIAM B. CONWAY
Mojeski and Masters, Inc.
JAN L. EVANS, P.E.
Vice Pres. - R.E. Heidt Construction
EnCon Resource Group, LLC
D & J Construction
DAVID S. HUVAL
Huval & Associates, Inc.
SHELBY P. LASALLE, JR.
LA DOTD District Administrator (Ret.)
DANIEL E. MOBLEY
Executive Director - ACEC of LA
DR. KAM MOVASSAGHI
Fenstermaker-LA DOTD Secretary (Ret.)
LA DOTD Deputy Secretary (Ret.)
Director of Operations - AECOM
LA FHWA Division Admin. (Ret.)
WILLIE T. TAYLOR
LA DOTD District Administrator (Ret.)
Executive Director - CAAL
LA DOTD Secretary (Ret.)
Executive Director, I-49 International Coalition
W.P. WRAY, JR.
Wray & Pierce, L.L.P.
Good Roads Lead to Good Jobs
Every year, Area Development magazine surveys the top business leaders in the United States on their plans for expansion, relocation and new start-up business. Among the myriad questions AD asks is, what factors are most important in your decision to locate or expand a business in a particular area?
Business leaders are given about 15 choices, including labor costs, tax rates and availability of technology.
The latest results show transportation continues to be the top factor businesses consider. Here are the top five results and the percentage of business leaders who said the factor was "very important."
1. Highway accessibility, 60.4%
2. Skilled labor, 58.3%
3. Low union profile, 56.4%
4. Right-to-work state, 50.4%
5. Technology services, 49.3%
The editors said, "A business won't go anywhere without easy access to well-maintained, high-capacity highways that connect to customers, distributors, and shippers."
Business experts agree: transportation is vital for the growth of business and the fostering of economic development in a community.
Do you enjoy reading the Good Roads newsletter online?
Good Roads is now distributing this electronic version of the printed newsletter we have published for many years. The e-newsletter has many advantages; You can link to other articles or websites by clicking on the words that are underlined and in blue. And, you can easily forward the newsletter to anyone who might be interested.
This newsletter is being emailed to all members who have provided Good Roads with a valid email address. If you would like to receive the newsletter, make sure Good Roads has an updated email address. You can send your email address to Debbie Husser at email@example.com to be included on the list.
We also would like to hear your opinions about the newsletter. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can write us at Good Roads, P.O. Box 3713, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.
"All gave some; some gave all."
Remember our true heroes this Memorial Day, May 26.
State Senator says Louisiana infrastructure "is falling apart"
|State Sen. Robert Adley|
While pushing legislation to commit revenues to transportation and education, State Sen. Robert Adley made an impassioned plea to his colleagues to address the issue of Louisiana's aging infrastructure and its effect on economic development.
Adley, who is chairman of the Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works committee, is the author of SB 463, a bill to create the Better Highways and Higher Education Fund. Money for the fund, which would be evenly split between higher education and transportation, would come from sales tax revenues paid by Louisiana consumers to out-of-state vendors through internet and catalogue sales. That tax is not collected now but could be if federal enabling legislation is passed.
Adley's bill easily passed the transportation committee but ran into resistance from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jim Fanin, who noted the legislation did nothing for health care. Adley agreed to delay action on the bill, but he gave a dire warning to his fellow Senators.
"The infrastructure in this state is what's going to build income for us in the future," said Adley, "You cannot grow, and we cannot create, income without infrastructure, and ours is falling apart."
A modern transportation infrastructure is vital to economic development. Federal studies show that every $1 billion invested in transportation yields about 31,000 jobs, and every dollar invested yields about $6.20 in taxes.
The Louisiana section of the American Society of Civil Engineers conducted an extensive study of Louisiana's infrastructure in 2012 and published the Report Card for Louisiana's Infrastructure. That report gave Louisiana's roads a "D" and its bridges a "D+."
On SB 463, half of the money from the Better Highways and Higher Education Fund would go to the Transportation Trust Fund "to be expended solely and exclusively for the costs of construction and/or maintenance in Highway Priority Program projects," the bill says. Half of the money in the fund would be split among all public postsecondary institutions.
DOTD appoints first female chief engineer
"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Janice as DOTD's chief engineer," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "Her leadership, administrative abilities and communication skills will be a great asset to the department as we continue to move Louisiana forward."
"I am proud to be able to serve in this capacity for such a great organization," Williams said. "As chief engineer, I will continue to work in partnership with all of our stakeholders to ensure the continued improvement of Louisiana's infrastructure."
Williams is replacing Richard Savoie, who retired last month after 34 years of service to the department. Savoie served as chief engineer since February 2010.
Williams began her career as an engineer in training for DOTD's Road Design Section in June of 1985, after earning her bachelor's degree in civil engineering from LSU. During her 28 years with DOTD, she has served as project and program manager for more than 1,000 projects. In June 2010, she was named chief of the Project Development Division. Prior to that appointment, Williams served as the chief of the Systems Engineering Division for four years.
In 2011, Williams received the Charles E. Dunbar, Jr. Career Service Award, the highest honor classified state employees can receive for their service to the citizens of Louisiana. Dunbar recipients are selected for their commitment to classified service, contributions toward workplace improvement, personal initiative and volunteer community service.
Williams also has served on the Federal Highway Administration's Pavement and Bridge Preservation Expert Task Groups. These national teams were created to promote pavement and bridge preservation, acceptance and implementation through the development of technical guidelines with the identification of related training and research needs. She also has served as one of the vice chairs of the Bridge Technical Working Group for the AASHTO Subcommittee on Maintenance.
As the engineering leader of DOTD, the chief engineer provides guidance to a staff of more than 500 engineers, engineering technicians and support staff, while promoting innovation, continuous improvement and efficient use of resources. The chief engineer is responsible for establishing engineering standards, policies and procedures that guide project delivery, construction, and preservation of all transportation-related projects and systems. In addition, the chief engineer is accountable for the on-time and on-budget delivery of the DOTD Highway Priority Program.
|MAP-21 reauthorization bill goes to U.S. Senate committee on May 15|
The bill to give states federal transportation dollars for the next six years heads to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on May 15.
U.S. Capitol Dome
The Senate committee released the text for the Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century (MAP-21) Reauthorization Act (S. 2322), a long-term bipartisan legislation to fund and improve the nation's federal-aid highway programs for six years at current funding plus inflation. The bill will be marked up in the EPW Committee on May 15th at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Click here to see the text of the bill. Click here to see a summary of the bill.
The new bill would maintain current levels of funding for the next six years, an approach that U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said was unacceptable.
"We cannot meet the needs of a growing country and a growing economy by simply maintaining our current level of effort," Foxx said in a White House briefing. "We must do more."
Meanwhile, the Highway Trust Fund is on track to run out of money long before September 30, when the current transportation bill expires and a new bill would go into effect. Foxx already has begun to prepare states for a possible Highway Trust Fund insolvency, which could delay reimbursements to states for funds already committed.
Foxx told state DOTs that if the Highway Account of the HTF drops below $4 billion in July or August, USDOT will likely take steps to keep the account solvent, such as delaying reimbursements to states, if Congress does not address the depleting balance.
"While we will take every step possible to continue to fully reimburse your state for as long as possible, these measures will effectively require us to delay reimbursements that are owed to your agency and the transit agencies in your state," Foxx said. "In the coming months, I will continue to keep you apprised of our specific cash management plans and when they are likely to go into effect."
According to a committee news release, the proposed reauthorization legislation builds on the success of the comprehensive reforms and performance-based approach to transportation investment in MAP-21. It provides long-term funding, giving state and local governments the certainty and stability they need to improve and develop their transportation infrastructure. These investments will create new jobs, provide a boost to the economy, "and keep us competitive in the global marketplace."
Committee chairwoman Sen. Senator Boxer, D-CA, said: "This job-creating legislation provides the long-term funding certainty that states, cities, and businesses need while maintaining and improving the efficiency of the successful TIFIA program and establishing a formula-based freight program to improve the movement of goods on our surface transportation system."
Ranking member Sen. David Vitter, R-LA, said: "It's time to restore trust in the Highway Trust Fund and to build and fix our nation's roads and bridges so people can carry out their daily routines. We'll remain focused on a long-term reauthorization bill that invests in rural areas, expands flexibility for state and local governments, and improves safety. And it's incredibly important that we get projects streamlined and cut long bureaucratic waits."
Infrastructure Awareness Day at the Capitol
Jeffrey Duplantis of MWH, State Rep. and Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger III, and Dr. Kam Movassaghi of Fenstermaker participated in Infrastructure Awareness Day.
Good Roads teamed up with the Louisiana Section of ASCE, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana and the Louisiana Engineering Society to host Infrastructure Awareness Day at the state capitol on April 3. The purpose of IAD was to make lawmakers aware of the serious problems facing Louisiana's vital infrastructure, most of which were outlined in LASCE's 2012 Report Card for Louisiana's Infrastructure
From left, Bryant Hammett of Bryant Hammett & Associates; State Rep. Karen St. Germain; Ann Forte Trappey of Forte & Tablada, and Leslie Nolen of ASCE discuss infrastructure issues.
About 20 engineers and supporters gathered at thePentagon Barracks to hear a briefing by Leslie Nolen of ASCE's national office. The group then welcomed members of the House and Senate transportation committees to a luncheon, which was attended by several legislators and staff members.
The main message the group gave to lawmakers was:
1. Louisiana's infrastructure is in poor condition.
2. We must protect the Transportation Trust Fund.
3. We must dedicate transportation-related taxes, such as vehicle sales tax revenues, to transportation projects.
4. There is support among the public and other legislators to dedicate more money to transportation.
LASCE Government Relations Committee Chairman Jeffrey Duplantis said the group hopes to make Infrastructure Awareness Day an annual event.