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Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters
Remarks as prepared for delivery
National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association
"The Perfect Storm"
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Powerpoint Presentation, "The Perfect Storm" - NSSGA_with_notes.ppt. Notes accompany this presentation.

(Slide 1)

"The Perfect Storm"

National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Mary Peters, Administrator
Federal Highway Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Notes:

Over the years, many of our people at FHWA have had the pleasure of working with NSSGA on aggregate-related initiatives. It has truly been a win-win relationship.

We value our partnership with NSSGA and certainly look forward to working with you on issues of mutual interest in the year to come.


(Slide 2)

"The Perfect Storm"

National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Mary Peters, Administrator
Federal Highway Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Notes:

We've had some very promising news recently about the economy – record 8.2 percent growth in the third quarter and more than a quarter of a million new jobs added since last summer.

The President's message in his State of the Union address: Our economy is on the rebound. We want to keep on track for a more prosperous future.

Transportation is a large part of the economy.

The transportation sector accounts for more than 11.7 million jobs and contributes over $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy, generating more than 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

But the progress that Bush Administration has been making to revitalize the economy and put Americans back to work could be seriously hampered unless we, in transportation, do our jobs. You see, there's a storm brewing, a "Perfect Storm" that has its eye set on our transportation system.

A Perfect Storm is a tempest that may happen only once in a century. I want you to see what I'm talking about.


(Slide 3)

Slide 3, Showing the three forces: Cold Front, Cyclone, and Hurricane Grace, converging on a storm center over a map of the globe.

Notes:

Three killer storms came together in the Atlantic, one of them a hurricane, in October of 1991. Waves were 100 feet high; winds were 120 miles per hour. Out of tragedy for the six-man crew of a commercial fishing boat came a thrilling book in 1997 and a movie starring George Clooney in 2000.

The Perfect Storm of Transportation has been developing for a hundred years.

The transportation storm is marked by the convergence of at least three major storm systems, just as in the book.

All of these converging systems have serious implications for the growth of congestion and our future mobility.


(Slide 4)

Slide 4, Indicating that in 2020, the three transportation-related forces: Freight, Congestion, and Infrastructure, will converge, causing a storm center over a map of the globe.

Notes:

CONVERGING FORCES

We currently spend more than $130 billion each year to preserve and improve our highways and even more if you count the value of time lost while sitting in traffic.

Key factors driving this high cost are --

An aging infrastructure operating under ever increasing usage.


(Slide 5)

Slide 5, Chart showing that Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is projected to rise from approx. 1.5 trillion miles in year 1980 to approx. 4 trillion miles in year 2020 (with a figure of approx. 2.75 trillion miles in year 2000), while Lane Miles remains at approx 8 million miles for the same time period.

Notes:

Congestion is nearly unbearable in many metro areas.

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) may double in the next 20 years . . . lane miles are nearly static.

  • Population is rising, folks need dependable transportation to get to jobs.
  • At the same time, there is increasing public resistance to "sprawl" and highway expansion.
  • Americans are concerned about the environment, in their communities, as well as in the natural environment.
  • And freight. Virtually all of the freight that makes our society run moves over highways at some point.

(Slide 6)

Slide 6, Chart showing that Freight Tonnage is projected to rise from approx. 2.5 billion tons in year 1980 to approx. 20 billion tons in year 2020 (with a figure of approx. 12.5 billion tons in year 2000).

Notes:

Freight tonnage may nearly double by 2020.

Similar to the way the storm systems converged into the Perfect Storm, the three forces – infrastructure, congestion, and freight -- are converging on a surface transportation system that is already overloaded with traffic and that has a huge amount of aging infrastructure in need of replacement.

Transportation professionals alone cannot bail us out. To withstand this coming "storm", we need to get the public, business groups, private firms, universities, and state and local elected officials -- NSSGA -- engaged in confronting these looming storm systems, and understanding the tradeoffs necessary to stay afloat.


(Slide 7)

Slide 7, Chart showing that Freight Tonnage is projected to rise from approx. 2.5 billion tons in year 1980 to approx. 20 billion tons in year 2020 (with a figure of approx. 12.5 billion tons in year 2000).

Notes:

Through the transportation planning process, we must engage the public and forge a consensus.

We'll need to grapple with some big questions:

  • where and when to build new capacity (both highways and transit),
  • what kind of state/local land use policy is desired and needed,
  • what kind of operational strategies can be helpful, including road pricing strategies,
  • how to preserve open space and reduce pollution,
  • how to finance all of these strategies, along with other public sector responsibilities, like education and health care.

It will not be easy to engage the public and develop the answers to these questions.

But it must be done.


(Slide 8)

Slide 8, Picture: Conveyor for crushed stone and aggregate

Notes:

Let's look at aggregates.

As you know, NSSGA members produce more than 90 percent of the crushed stone and 70 percent of the sand and gravel consumed annually in the United States. There are 10,000 construction aggregate operations nationwide and your industry directly and indirectly supports more than 200,000 jobs.

FHWA has a long history of cooperation with NSSGA.

Looking forward, the service and structural life of many of our pavements is being used up faster than we anticipated, due to volume and traffic loads.

It seemed right to fix roads in the worst condition first. A twenty-year life seemed reasonable. After all, we thought we could simply come back, repair and rebuild.


(Slide 9)

Slide 9, Picture: Machine preparing for pavement

Notes:

Although it was never clearly stated, what we were doing on highways was: Go in . . . Stay in. . . and Keep Going Back.

Today's traffic has taught us to respond differently.

While we managed to keep our heads above water during the past 20 years, we have to be much more strategic and proactive if we are going to thrive in the future.

We have to build pavements that are designed to last 40 years or more.

We must perform pavement preservation work at the right time, basing decisions on long-range life cycle costs.

We need to act on our vision for where we want to be in 20 years.

When we do a better job, we can proclaim a new slogan:

Get In . . . Get Out . . . and Stay Out!


(Slide 10)

SAFETEA
Safely Moving America

  • Increased Safety Funding
  • Strong Infrastructure
  • Improved Operations
  • Long Range Planning
  • Environmental Stewardship

Notes:

SAFETEA IS A BLUEPRINT

Where do we want to be in 20 years -- in the midst of an endless storm or coming out of it?

The business community must be a major contributor . . . and the public sector needs a champion.

Secretary Mineta is our champion at U.S. DOT. Under his leadership, DOT is building on the successes of ISTEA and TEA-21.

We have placed our thinking on the table. It's our proposed bill, "The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act for 2003" (SAFETEA).

As the Secretary has said, "The reauthorization proposal is more than a simple spending plan -- it is a blueprint for the future that dramatically increases highway safety funding and will help grow the nation's economy without costly new taxes."


(Slide 11)

SAFETEA
Safely Moving America

  • Increased Safety Funding
  • Strong Infrastructure
  • Improved Operations
  • Long Range Planning
  • Environmental Stewardship

Notes:

SAFETEA meets the "Transportation Perfect Storm" head-on at several fronts, and certainly multiple approaches are imperative.

  • Continuation of a strong infrastructure program -- because part of the answer is expanding capacity in the traditional way (sometimes it is about "concrete, asphalt, and steel").
  • Every $1 billion in federal transportation investment supports 47,500 jobs.
  • Operational improvements such as ITS.
  • Planning process improvements to engage the public in the tough decisions -- mobility, environmental, and fiscal.
  • Environmental stewardship -- strong environmental programs and provisions to meet expectations for improved mobility and improved environment.
    • The Administration is focusing on projects stymied by procedural delays . . . bringing everyone to the table to resolve differences.

(Slide 12)

SAFETEA
Safely Moving America

  • Increased Safety Funding
  • Strong Infrastructure
  • Improved Operations
  • Long Range Planning
  • Environmental Stewardship

Notes:

SAFETEA – KEY POINTS

Let me explain some key aspects of our proposal.

  • SAFETEA provides a record level of investment in our nation's surface transportation infrastructure over the next six years.
    • It is a responsible approach, based on what the Highway Trust Fund can support, without burdening workers with costly new taxes.
  • SAFETEA proposes significant policy reforms.
    • It doubles the amount of funding for safety over TEA-21.
    • It would invest about $15 billion to reduce highway fatalities and prevent injuries through a comprehensive safety initiative.
  • Gives states more flexibility.
  • Expedites needed highway improvements.
    • The Infrastructure Performance and Maintenance Program targets $1 billion a year of Highway Trust Fund dollars to preserving existing highway facilities and alleviating traffic chokepoints.
    • SAFETEA includes the Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program and the Innovative Pavement Research and Deployment Program.

(Slide 13)

SAFETEA
Safely Moving America

  • Increased Safety Funding
  • Strong Infrastructure
  • Improved Operations
  • Long Range Planning
  • Environmental Stewardship

Notes:

  • Long-term federal surface transportation funding is the foundation for state planning.
  • The temporary stop-gap measure that expires February 29 should be followed by long-term legislation.
    • We are very hopeful for a 6-year bill.
  • Lack of certainty about reauthorization limits the ability of our state and local partners to plan and coordinate transportation investments.
  • Secretary Mineta and all of U.S. DOT urge Congress to act on promptly so that we can continue to provide this country with the transportation system it needs for a thriving economy.

(Slide 14)

Ongoing Efforts

  • Highways for LIFE
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Research
  • Work Zones

Notes:

HIGHWAYS FOR LIFE

  • The application of innovative technology to address localized issues has led us to create a new initiative-- Highways for LIFE -- L-I-F-E stands for Long Lasting, Innovative, Fast Construction, Efficient and Safe.
  • Highways for LIFE is an effort to fundamentally change the way we do business and serve our customers.
  • We propose to dedicate a portion of our overall federal surface transportation program to motivate states to embrace innovation and creativity at a faster pace.
  • Simply stated, we want to work with you and the entire transportation community -- again in partnership -- to build highways faster, make them last longer, and make them safer.

(Slide 15)

Ongoing Efforts

  • Highways for LIFE
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Research
  • Work Zones

Notes:

  • We've all seen examples of excellence -- things being done faster, things being done better.
    • Why can't we do that all the time, everywhere?
    • Why can't we make a great leap forward?
  • The Secretary is excited about this new initiative.
  • We feel that we can make it a reality only through a strong partnership with the highway industry.
  • It could be the most revolutionary development since the Interstate System.

(Slide 16)

Ongoing Efforts

  • Highways for LIFE
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Research
  • Work Zones

Notes:

  • Highways for LIFE is an integrated approach to the highway construction process with three strategic goals--
    • Improved safety
    • Reduced congestion due to construction
    • Work zones alone are estimated to account for nearly 24 percent of non-recurring congestion -- delays caused by temporary disruptions
    • Improved quality
  • Highways for LIFE goals will be achieved through:
    • Performance Standards
    • Demonstration projects
    • An extensive program of technology transfer, education and evaluation;

      and,

    • Industry partnership

(Slide 17)

Ongoing Efforts

  • Highways for LIFE
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Research
  • Work Zones

Notes:

ONGOING EFFORTS

Research

  • FHWA has been a leader in conducting research that is national in scope and aimed at improving safety and addressing significant gap areas.
  • It is research that leads to innovation, and it is innovation that leads to safer, simpler and smarter highways.
  • NSSGA members are a key stakeholder in keeping America on the move.

(Slide 18)

Ongoing Efforts

  • Highways for LIFE
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Research
  • Work Zones

Notes:

The real benefits of investing in RT&E ultimately depend on successful applications.

Work zones -- reducing delays, improving safety for both highway users and for road construction workers. In 2001, 1,079 people were killed in work zone-related crashes. Four out of five of them were motorists.

Accelerated Construction Technology - this cooperative program is designed to reduce construction time while enhancing quality and safety.

National traffic incident management organization -- goal is to reduce the time required to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents.

Deployment of 511 -- A 30-second slot on the radio just doesn't do it.

  • About 18 percent of the U.S. population has access to high quality 511 service.
  • FY 2004 goal is to reach a third of the population.

Regional transportation operations coordination -- Encouraging cooperation among transportation system operators and public safety agencies at all levels of government.


(Slide 19)

Presentation slide with the logo for HyperFix 65/70 showing a map of the project location in Indianapolis, Indiana

Notes:

URGENT NEED TO ACT

  • We haven't lost sight of the basics.
    • Maintaining mobility is essential to the nation's economic vitality and to our quality of life.
  • The "Perfect Storm" of transportation – infrastructure, congestion and freight – must be solved simultaneously.
  • We're not waiting on SAFETEA to help us relieve congestion.

(Slide 20)

7 Biggest Cost Items:

  • Pavements
  • Structures
  • Major Projects
  • Corridor Projects
  • Interchanges
  • Widening
  • New Highways

Notes:

We need to analyze our needs for our biggest cost items: pavement, bridges, major projects, corridor projects, interchanges, widening, new construction.

But we can avert our crisis.

IF we can set aside old practices that are no longer effective and do some serious preparation for the future, we can stay afloat.

Our Highways for LIFE proposal – making the best use of innovation -- will be very important as we move forward.


(Slide 21)

Building Blocks

  • Know the Impacts of Decisions
  • Plan Long Range
  • Collect the Right Data
  • Use Economic Tools
  • Focus on National Highway System
  • Prepare for Future Reauthorizations

Notes:

The broader plan is coming together. FHWA's approach is to promote Transportation Asset Management to our state partners and others in the transportation community. The building blocks are:

Knowing full impact of every decision made in managing the system.

Planning to have the necessary resources in place for needs 20, 30 or even 50 years into the future.

Collecting the right data to be able to really understand the big picture and its estimated needs.

Using long-term costs and return on investment as criteria for programming improvements, repairs, and replacements.

Focusing on the NHS.

Preparing the groundwork so that future reauthorizations – 2010 and beyond – keep us going in the right direction.


(Slide 22)

"CHARGE"

In order to deal with the PRESENT and provide for the FUTURE, we must turn the page of history and do some heavy lifting.

Notes:

CLOSE

We can face the Perfect Storm and keep America moving (not sinking).

I urge you to think beyond the day-to-day, to work on ways your company, your Association, our industry can improve the infrastructure, reduce congestion and keep freight moving.

The public and private sectors must be partners.

We are on the same team. We have to do better because America is counting on us.

-end-

 

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