Foxx talks economy, modernization, innovation during Ohio visit
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited three cities in Ohio on Monday for the first stop on his “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour.
Foxx will visit various cities in the U.S. throughout the five-day tour, which aims to promote infrastructure investment.
His first three stops were in Pickaway County, Dayton and Norwood, Ohio.
While in Pickaway County, Foxx visited the Pickaway East West Connector project, which will connect US 23 and the Rickenbacker intermodal Facility.
Foxx notes on the DOT’s Fast Lane blog that the project received $16 million in TIGER grants. He says the project will help boost the economy by creating a way for “hundreds of commercial trucks to bring their goods to market more affordably and efficiently.”
“Already, a quarter-million shipping containers pass through this freight corridor every year. Now, even more will,” Foxx writes. “And that’s a good thing, since we need to find a way to move 14 billion more tons of freight by 2050.”
Foxx’s trip to Dayton took him to the city’s I-75 modernization project. The $168 million project aims to improve safety, decrease congestion and update a portion of the Interstate.
In another Fast Lane blog post, Foxx says he met project workers who “aren’t just repairing this highway, they’re also increasing its capacity, so that tens of thousands more vehicles will be able to travel this road every day.” He notes that the completed project will feature a third lane.
Foxx also points to an area on I-75 that was previously dubbed “Malfunction Junction.” Crews are improving the area with tasks including removing left-hand ramps.
The project received $162 million in federal funding, Foxx notes. He says the DOT is proud to have given the project that money because it has created numerous jobs.
“It’s clear that projects like this one are helping Americans build and live better lives, and why we need a long-term transportation bill to ensure they continue to be funded in the future,” Foxx writes.
For his final stop of the day, Foxx visited Siemens’ Norwood Motors Manufacturing Facility, where he met workers who build motors and gears for trains.
Foxx wrote in blog post that rail investment creates those manufacturing jobs as well as other jobs.
“When we invest in rail in this country, DOT’s Buy America program ensures that everything we build is built with American parts and by American workers,” Foxx writes. “This is something we’ve always understood in this country – investing in transportation is a tried and true way to create jobs, and to grow business.”
Congress could allocate $44 million in federal transportation funds to Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier
The Golden Gate Bridge may soon feature a suicide barrier funded in part by federal transportation dollars.
Members of the bridge board last week requested $11 million from the California Legislature for the $66 million project, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The report also notes that lobbyists from the bridge board returned to California from Washington D.C. earlier this month with high hopes that Congress could allocate $44 million in federal transportation funds for the project.
San Francisco board member Janet Reilly told the Contra Costa Times that the project “was ineligible for any federal funds whatsoever” two years ago. However, a transportation bill that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) pushed was passed in 2012 and contained phrasing that allows funds to be used for items such as safety rails and nets on bridges.
The Golden Gate Bridge plan includes a stainless steel cable net that extends that extends 20 feet below and 20 feet from the side of the bridge and would collapse slightly if someone jumped in it. It would also include a “snooper” truck that has an elongated arm to help people get out of the net. The net, which is expected to deter people from jumping, would take three years to build.
VIDEO: Watch these crews slide a half-mile, 30 million-pound bridge into place over the Ohio River
Construction crews have completed a record-breaking bridge slide over the Ohio River.
At nearly a half-mile in length and weighing in at more than 30 million pounds, the Milton-Madison bridge is a new steel truss bridge that replaces a span originally built in 1929.
It is now the largest bridge in North America (perhaps the world) to be slid laterally into place.
Walsh Construction, the company building the new $131 million bridge, slid the bridge 55 feet laterally from temporary piers into place over April 9 and 10 last week. The task likely could have been completed on April 9 but high winds on the river caused a halt in work.
The workers completed the task by placing polished steel plates on top of the permanent piers to create a slippery surface. They then pulled the bridge from the temporary piers using steel cables and eight computer-controlled hydraulic jacks.
In total, workers slid the bridge for 12 1/2 hours.
The bridge spans the Ohio River and connects the towns of Madison, Indiana and Milton, Kentucky. At 40 feet wide, the new bridge is twice as wide as the old bridge and has two 12-foot lanes and 8-foot shoulders.
The remaining work on the bridge includes inspections and road connections. That work should be completed in about a week before the new bridge is opened to traffic.
To see the workers slide the bridge into place, watch the video below.
Editor’s note: Wayne Grayson is online editor for sister site Equipment World.
U.S. DOT predicts August shortfall in latest Highway Trust Fund Ticker update
In its latest update of the Highway Trust Fund Ticker, the U.S. Department of Transportation predicts the HTF to shortfall as early as the end of August.
The HTF provides funding to the majority of projects in the U.S., and the DOT could slow reimbursements to state and local agencies to prevent the shortfall. Additionally, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently said that if the HTF, along with other problems with the nation’s transportation system, isn’t fixed, it could cost 700,000 jobs.
In the ticker update, the DOT notes that the Highway Account started fiscal year 2014 with about $1.6 billion, and $9.7 billion was transferred from the General Fund.
Since then, the account’s cash balance has dropped by nearly $3.5 billion to $8.4 billion.
For more details, see the DOT’s Highway Trust Fund Ticker here.
Caterpillar adds new resources for state, local agencies to GovBidSpec.com
.Caterpillar has announced that it has added new tools and resources to GovBidSpec.com with a goal of aiding state and local governmental buyers make equipment purchasing decisions.
The company added RFP Builder to the site, allowing users to quickly create RFPs for vendors. Agencies can select exactly what they want to include in their request for proposal, including questions about product features, pricing, financing options and more. Then, based on the selected questions, users can generate a Word document that can be further edited and customized.
Also new to the site is the Resource Center, a library of guides, tips and other materials. Topics include total cost procurement, cooperative purchasing, safety and financing alternatives for governmental entities.
Additionally, the company added a “Why Caterpillar?” section that includes links to information about Cat support, safety and training resources, financing options and more.
For more details, visit GovBidSpec.com.
Science behind how tires make sound could improve fuel economy
.Yokohama has announced that through work with the Japanese equivalent of NASA, the company for the first time has an understanding of how tires make sound.
The company sent a team of researchers to work with those at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science to create a 3D simulation of how a tire makes sound while traveling on a road.
And for the first time they were able to do it. The model, shown in the colorful second picture in this blog, displays both the airflow field around the tire and the resulting sounds it creates as it travels over the road.
In the process, the researchers learned that the noise tires create is caused not only by the air turbulence around a tire but also by the air constantly being compressed by the tire as it moves forward and makes contact with the road. That compressed air is also circulated around the tire creating more noise.
By better understanding this connection between airflow and tire noise, Yokohama says the findings will help them make quieter tires and more aerodynamic ones that could increase a vehicle’s fuel economy.
Editor’s note: Wayne Grayson is online editor for sister site Equipment World.
Illinois governor unveils 6-year, $8.6 billion transportation investment plan
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Wednesday unveiled a six-year $8.6 billion construction program that aims to improve highways, infrastructure and public transportation throughout the state.
“A booming economy requires a 21st century infrastructure,” Quinn said. “Our infrastructure plan will create thousands of construction jobs now while paving the way for more jobs and economic development in the future.”
The program builds on Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program.
The highway improvement program includes hundreds of projects that will improve 1,845 miles of highway and replace or rehabilitate 384 bridges from 2015-2020.
Some of those highway and bridge funds include:
$308.6 million for construction of a new I-74/US 6 bridge in Moline
$107.9 million for bridge replacements on the Stevenson Expressway in Chicago
$110 million for the Alton-Godfrey Expressway
$204.4 million for US 150 improvements including a bridge replacement in Peoria
$76.4 million for bridge replacements along I-80 in Will County
$71 million for a new I-64 bridge over the Wabash River in White County
$29 million to reconstruct IL Rt. 2/North Main in Rockford
$52 million for work on I-74 near Champaign and Danville
$65.2 million for work on IL Rt. 47 in Kendall County
$27.8 million for resurfacing and bridge work on I-72/US 51 in Decatur
$27.7 million for improvements to I-72 between New Berlin and Chatham Road in Sangamon County
$73.9 million for I-70 resurfacing and bridge repair in the Effingham area
$36.2 million for I-57 road and bridge work around Kankakee
$65 million for improvements to Route 104 in Morgan and Pike Counties
In addition to road and bridge improvements, the projects allocates $1.85 billion for public transportation and $800 million for airports with $161 million for fiscal year 2015.
Public transportation and airport funds include:
$60 million to re-establish passenger rail service, which includes a new station in South Elgin for the Chicago-Rockford-Dubuque Corridor in Cook, DuPage and Kane Counties
$585.1 million to purchase up to 160 Electric Highliner Metra Commuter Cars
$222 million to provide new intercity passenger rail service between Chicago and Moline for the Chicago-Quad Cities-Iowa City Corridor in Cook and DuPage Counties
$132.6 million for the Englewood Flyover to reduce Amtrak, Metra and freight passenger rail congestion
Funding to continue land acquisition and pursue final approval of the South Suburban Airport with the Federal Aviation Administration
$2.45 million to purchase four 35-foot diesel buses, three super medium duty diesel buses, eight medium duty diesel buses and one minivan for replacement for the Southeastern Illinois RIDES Mass Transit District
Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said the program is important to support jobs in the coming years, especially because the Highway Trust Fund may not be able to help pay for state projects after this summer.
“We have made tremendous progress the past few years toward improving the state’s transportation infrastructure,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “However, with federal revenue sources dwindling and the end in sight for Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program, I look forward to supporting the Governor’s call for a bipartisan working group to find ways to continue this progress.”
Illinois’ fiscal year 2015 begins July 1, 2014. Funds allocated for fiscal year 2015 through the new program include $1.88 billion for road projects, $1.85 billion for public transportation, $2.7 million for rail and $161 million for airports.
The entire six-year plan provides a total of $5.82 billion to state highway system improvements and $2.77 billion to local transportation needs.
Additionally, the plan includes $6.99 billion in anticipated federal funds, $1.16 billion in state funds and the remaining $450 million from local and other sources, plus $158 million for road and bridge projects from the Illinois Jobs Now! program.
Foxx: Insolvent transportation system could cost 700k jobs
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Thursday that if lawmakers don’t fix the nation’s transportation system that is “teetering on the edge of insolvency,” 700,000 people could lose their jobs, The Christian Post reports.
Foxx’s warning came during the national convention of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in New York City, just days before his infrastructure investment promotional bus tour. At the convention, he discussed the connection between transportation infrastructure and economic growth.
Foxx pointed to the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is expected to go bankrupt as early as this summer. The HTF funds the majority of surface transportation projects in the U.S.
“As soon as August to September of this year, the major funding source for our highway systems, our transit systems, the Highway Trust Fund is going to go belly-up,” Foxx said. “And the reason for that is because it’s gas tax dependent and people are riding more fuel-efficient cars and there’s not enough money.”
He also noted that transportation lacks about $18 billion each year.
Foxx said President Barack Obama’s proposed $302 billion, 4-year reauthorization bill is a potential solution, though he noted that the bill still needs more support.
“We’re going to have 100 million more people in this country by 2050 and we’re gonna need to move 14 billion more tons of freight around this country,” Foxx said. “That means jobs, it means opportunities to construct those projects, but also the jobs they facilitate.”
REACH Part 2: Avoiding an equipment supply chain backlog
Construction equipment could go the way of the Sony PlayStation if equipment manufacturers don’t put the framework in place to deal with customs issues that could arise from enforcement from the European Union’s REACH (the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisiation [sic] and Restriction of Chemicals). REACH regulates the use of chemicals in manufacturing, including construction equipment.
In the January 2014 Transportation Talk, I discussed what REACH was and how under the protocols for it, existing chemicals are identified as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). (See “The EU’s REACH regs have implications for U.S. equipment market” at betterroads.com/reach-regs.) There are substances always being added, and the list has been predicted to reach 1,000 by 2020.
That being said, just knowing about the regulations and being able to identify any substances on the list that are used in equipment – whether it’s an additive, paint, sealant or something else – isn’t enough. Back in 2002, the children anxiously awaiting a Sony PlayStation for Christmas were disappointed when 1.3 million of these gaming consoles and 800,000 accessory packs were held up at customs in the Netherlands because they were not in compliance with the cadmium laws. They were bundled with cables found to contain up to 20 times as much cadmium as is deemed safe. It’s not immediately toxic but can lead to kidney damage throughout time. However, it raises the point that this could very well happen to equipment and disrupt the current supply chain.
Michael Wurzman, president of RSJ Technical Consulting and a REACH expert, says he doesn’t expect any major effort to be lobbied against the industry, but “will be surprised” if there isn’t some enforcement coming up within the next few years and subsequent lawsuits. This means manufacturers need to not only be aware of these regulations but to have a standard data format “that allows us to address data that needs to be exchanged while protecting confidentiality but enables us with ways to trace through the supply chain,” Wurzman says.
We need to put a structural framework in place to address the REACH issues and have customs paperwork ready. “This is the only way we can cost effectively allow for our companies to become compliant and also get a financial advantage.”
It is essentially risk management for the supply chains and customers. You have to decide. Is it worth the risk not to prepare? The regulations aren’t new; they aren’t going away. More and more restrictions are a ticking time bomb, and you need to be prepared.
“There is no reason to believe they are [substances] toxic in Europe but not here,” Wurzman says. “We are essentially being forced to do what we should anyway.”
Are you ready?
New Road Products
Special ConExpo-Con/Agg coverage. Please see betterroads.com for additional products and press event coverage.
Unveiled at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014, Hyundai’s HR120C-9 is the first compaction roller the company has sold in the North American market. Powered by a 130-horsepower Duetz Tier 4 Final water-cooled diesel engine, the 26,455-pound machine features Teflon bearings to eliminate the need for greasing, as well as a front and rear scraper-equipped drum that can remove cohesive soils.
Sany introduced its SY16C and SY35U compact excavators – the first compact models the company has brought to North America – at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014. The short-tail-swing SY16C has an operating weight of 3,858 pounds; a maximum dig depth of 7 feet, 8 inches and a bucket breakout force of 8,333 pounds. The zero-tail-swing SY35U weighs 8,333 pounds and has a maximum dig depth of 10 feet, 2 inches.
Volvo launched its Tier 4 Final technology – which includes its D4, D6, D8, D11, D13 and D16 diesel engines – at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014. The engines, which deliver 5-percent fuel savings compared to previous models, feature selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology cooled external exhaust gas recirculation (CEGR) that are designed to reduce NOx levels by 80 percent compared to Tier 4 Interim. The new engines power the company’s G Series articulated haulers, G946C motor grader and H Series wheel loader.
Komatsu rolled out nine new machines at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014: the PC228USLC-10, PC88MR-10, PC490LC-11, PC240LC-11 and third-generation hybrid HB215LC-2 hydraulic excavators; PC55MR compact hydraulic excavator; D65-18 and D155AX-8 crawler dozers; and HM300 articulated dump truck. A Tier 4 Final engine powers the all new models except the PC228USLC-10, which has a Tier 4 Interim engine, and the HB215LC-2, which runs on the Komatsu Hybrid System. All Tier 4 models include Komatsu Care.
Topcon Positioning Systems displayed its new Enterprise Solutions workflow management system at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014. The system connects all parts of a project, allowing different crews – such as jobsite, office and management – to communicate, share data, set up tasks and more, all in real time and from nearly anywhere.
John Deere Construction and Forestry Equipment previewed its Tier 4 Interim retrofit kit at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014. Slated for availability in 2015, the kit would allow Tier 4 Interim machines to be sold in countries that have no ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. The retrofit kit can be used on John Deere-powered crawler dozers, wheel loaders, articulated dump trucks, motor graders, excavators and backhoes.
MTU America’s Power Drive Unit, introduced at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014, houses all engine parts for a variety machines and can be mounted onto a trailer or other equipment for easy transport to the jobsite. The unit can also be integrated with the equipment.
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