“We will have to do the same when it comes to road preservation and creating dedicated funds,” Gaetz continues, “so that they can’t be swiped away and put into general fund, which is the common practice of every legislature in the country.” The effort’s packaging, says Gaetz, will include educating the public on the difference between capital improvement projects and preservation projects, the latter having “clearly come to the top of the need list.”
Agencies in his state, operating on a solid pavement management program across the board, says Gaetz, “know where to spend the money. It’s just that they don’t have the money to spend.”
“The point would be, coming from the asphalt industry, that there are strategies that will help them retain a good roadway – a fair roadway anyway – and keep them in an asphalt program,” says Kvach, the former APAI executive now working at the national level with NAPA, “so that as the economy does return, there’s a good foundation that they can work from.
“Asphalt – and this is what I like about this industry – is a product that allows us to have all these strategies. When we say asphalt is flexible, sometimes we talk not just about the physical nature of asphalt, but its economic flexibility. We can take these various strategies, these various levels of implementation, and work with an agency to help them get to a certain goal . . . and find a long-term strategy that might work within a strained budget.”
Albeit from a different perspective, Skorseth has a similar objective. “Think big. We’ll survive, just not in the way we did from 1950 to about 2007,” he says.
“I’m not down on the asphalt industry. I’m just trying to help all of my local customers who just don’t have the money to build the strength on the surface anymore,” says Skorseth. “We have to recognize the fact that if we are going to help our customers, we’ve got to meet them where they are . . . and they don’t have an extra $3, $5 or $10 million to go out and rehab a lot of pavement.
“We’ve got to meet them where they are and see what kind of solutions we can come up with,” he says, “and that’s what we’re working on here.”
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