The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to include a permeable pavements provision in the committee report to accompany the Senate version of the "THUD" Appropriations Bill.
The language was drafted and offered to the Senate by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, ICPI.
"THUD" is the key appropriation to fund all activities by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, and is of paramount interest to all transportation business stakeholders.
David Pitre, ICPI’s board chairman-elect, hailed the action taken by the Senate Committee 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."
The permeable pavements appropriation language is the first action by ICPI in the appropriations element of transportation issues on Capitol Hill.
Charles McGrath, ICPI’s executive director, added 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 provision offered by ICPI is included in Senate Report 113-45, and 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 committee 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.”
At least one Senate staff member called the ICPI action “a bold move” on the heels of ICPI securing permeable pavements language on MAP-21 a short time ago — the first appearance of permeable pavements policy sought by ICPI. Nonetheless, ICPI was able to convince members of the Senate that permeable pavements should share the future of the U.S. transportation infrastructure.
Pitre, McGrath and Pence jointly praised the leadership and foresight of the Senate Appropriations Committee, particularly Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), for their bipartisan work on the THUD subcommittee. Collins is particularly interested in how permeable pavements can provide environmentally-friendly stormwater reduction enhancements to the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
In addition, ICPI thanked Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), a key player in passing MAP-21, who signed a letter to the appropriations committee supporting the inclusion of the permeable pavements language.
Floor action was expected on both the Senate and House versions of the THUD Appropriations Bill during the week of July 22. ICPI is lobbying the House Committee on Appropriations with respect to ICPI’s support for the Senate language. ICPI has asked the House Committee to accept the Senate language during the upcoming House-Senate conference to consolidate all proposals into a final bill to be signed into law.
For more information, visit www.icpi.org.