The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) presented Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) with the Asphalt Legislator of the Year Award for her bipartisan leadership in crafting the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).
“We commend Senator Boxer for her extraordinary leadership in advancing legislation that will truly modernize and reform the nation’s current transportation system to help create jobs, accelerate economic recovery and build the foundation for long-term prosperity,” said John Keating, president and COO East of Oldcastle Materials Inc. and chairman of the board of directors of NAPA.
Russell Snyder, executive director of the California Asphalt Pavement Association added, “Transportation policy and funding our nation’s surface transportation network should be a bipartisan issue that brings members of Congress together across party lines. Senator Boxer’s leadership and outstanding work ensured that a divided Congress could come together to pass this important legislation on behalf of Californians and all Americans.”
Boxer is being recognized for her single-minded pursuit of a bill to reauthorize the surface transportation programs. She ignored naysayers who said a bill would never pass. She overcame objections from stakeholders opposed to certain compromises. She stuck to a bipartisan path, and had the courage to set aside policy goals that were near and dear to her. Despite the bitter partisan division in Congress and the many distractions of a presidential campaign year, Boxer succeeded.
MAP-21 includes many reforms that transform how federally funded transportation projects are managed, including a consolidation of program categories; further environmental streamlining; performance measurement, monitoring and reporting; accelerated deployment of innovative pavement technologies; and expanded opportunities for leveraging existing dollars though a larger Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.
“Sen. Barbara Boxer produced the only bill that could have passed the Senate, the House and the White House,” said Keating. “We are grateful for her focus and dedication and NAPA will stand by the senator as she works to address the historic shortfall in revenues the Highway Trust Fund faces in fiscal year 2015.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Highway Trust Fund lacks sufficient funds to meet its obligations, which has resulted in steadily accumulating shortfalls. Under current projections, no federal funds will be available for state infrastructure or transportation projects in fiscal year 2015. Boxer has noted that this would jeopardize almost 3 million jobs nationwide.
The award was presented to Boxer during NAPA’s Asphalt Fly-In, which brought asphalt producers, paving contractors and road builders to Capitol Hill to discuss infrastructure funding with their members of Congress, as well as to educate them about sustainability efforts by the asphalt pavement industry that preserve natural resources and save taxpayers money. For example, the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement and recycled asphalt shingles in 2011 eliminated the need for more than 21 million barrels of asphalt cement, saving taxpayers some $2.2 billion.
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