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Date: January 1999
The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) was conceived, managed, and funded by State departments of transportation (DOTs). When the DOTs realized that the implementation of SHRP products and the future of the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) studies were threatened by a lack of designated funding in TEA-21 this year, they came out strongly in support of the need for continued funding. This support led to a series of resolutions drafted by several AASHTO committees (see November 1998 Focus).
Those resolutions bore fruit. At the AASHTO annual meeting in November, the AASHTO Board of Directors passed a resolution that provides $5.6 million for Superpave implementation and $4.7 million for the LTPP studies in fiscal year (FY) 1999. Funding will be provided through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP).
The Board of Directors also recommended that the percentage of State Planning and Research funds allocated to NCHRP be increased beginning in FY 2000 from its present 5.5 percent to a level to be determined by AASHTO's Standing Committee on Research (SCOR). The additional funding would be used to support SHRP and LTPP research and implementation activities, as well as additional research needs. SCOR is to forward its recommendation to the Standing Committee on Highways and the Board of Directors in April, and the resolution stipulates that, once the percentage is approved, it will remain at that level through FY 2003, "or until the Congress acts to restore adequate funding for the support of SHRP implementation and the LTPP Program, or the AASHTO Board of Directors decides otherwise."
"We're very pleased that the board passed the resolution," says John Conrad, chairman of the AASHTO Task Force on SHRP Implementation and assistant secretary for the Washington State Department of Transportation. "We worked really hard at finding a solution that was acceptable and that would address people's concerns about continuing SHRP implementation and LTPP research, as well as funding other research needs."
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