Transportation & Infrastructure Priorities

T&I (3)

Contact Information:
Katy Hartnett
Director, Infrastructure & Transportation

khartnett@cement.org

Background:

Our nation’s infrastructure continues to age to a point where much it is being used longer than its intended design life, and in many cases, the demand placed in the system far exceeds its capacity creating choke points throughout the system. This comes at the same time as the nation is facing an investment gap of more than $500 billion annually to not only address the backlog in maintenance but also address future needs.

Cement is the primary ingredient in concrete, an essential construction material and a basic component of our nation’s infrastructure. Portland cement is critical to the construction of highways, bridges, tunnels, mass transit systems, airports, runways, sidewalks, bike trails, dams, spillways, reservoirs, drinking and wastewater infrastructure, and commercial and residential buildings.  

Surface Transportation

Investment in our surface transportation system is critical to the country’s economic growth by ensuring the efficient movement of goods and people. A long-term reauthorization of the surface transportation program must increase investment in the nation’s transportation system as well as finally address the long-term revenue shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund. A long-term reauthorization that addresses the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund is needed provide states and communities the certainty needed to not only address the backlog in repair but also invest in larger projects to address greater challenges within the nation’s surface transportation network.

Cement is critical to the construction of roadways in communities across the country. Roadways built with concrete have a service life of 30 to 50 years without the need for repeated resurfacing, frequent repairs, or patching. This durability means concrete roadways have a low life-cycle cost, stretching scarce taxpayer dollars.

Greater use of life-cycle costs analysis (LCCA) will help states and communities stretch the investments made in our transportation system. LCCA is an economic analysis tool used to compare the true costs of different project design alternatives. LCCA identifies the most cost-effective means to accomplish a project’s objectives by comparing project implementation alternatives that would result in the same level of service and benefit to the user. Instead of simply evaluating the original construction costs, a LCCA considers all the costs that occur throughout the life of different alternatives. In  accessing these costs, a LCCA looks at the costs to both the agency and the user over the life of the project. The benefits of greater use of LCCA are long-term cost savings, better accountability, and environmental benefits associated with reduced maintenance and rehabilitation of a project.

Recent News in Surface Transportation:

Water Infrastructure

Cement is a critical to the construction of wide range of water infrastructure projects, ranging from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) projects to wastewater and drinking water projects across the country.

It is critical to continue the cycle of passing a Water Resources Development Act every two years to advance critical Corps projects to help communities invest in flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, navigation, hurricane and storm damage reduction, and water supply projects.

Additionally, as communities across the country confront the impacts of climate change, it is critical to invest in projects to help adapt their drinking and wastewater infrastructure to better withstand the growth in natural disasters.

As communities takes steps to improve the resiliency of their water infrastructure, it is important to recognize the role of cement in helping build water infrastructure that can better withstand the growth in natural disasters. In some cases, concrete structures are paired with natural or nature-based features to improve the resiliency of water infrastructure.

Recent News in Water Infrastructure:

Aviation Infrastructure

Concrete is critical to the construction of airports and runways. Airports are facing approximately $125 billion in infrastructure needs. To help airports meet these needs, the cement industry supports lifting the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) and continued funding for the Airport Improvement Program.

Continuing to deliver applied research and development of technologies for airfield pavements that provide high quality, durable, safe, and cost-effective airfield pavements is important. For these reasons, the cement industry supports the Airfield Pavement Technology Program.

Recent News in Aviation Infrastructure:

Resiliency

In 2020, there were just over 15 natural disasters, each with damages of over $1 billion. This compares to an annual average of 6.6 disasters of this magnitude between 1980 and 2019, demonstrating the significant increase that can be attributed in part to climate change.

Due to its durable nature, concrete is the most disaster-resilient construction material. Concrete construction reduces the building costs after natural disasters. Policy steps taken to improve the resiliency of the nation’s infrastructure should take into account the durability of construction materials. It is also important to recognize projects to improve resiliency frequently incorporate different components that work together to improve resiliency. For example, a roadway that experiences frequent flooding may be built with concrete and have a bioswale to help redirect and move the stormwater out of the roadway.

It is also important to recognize that building with concrete improves the resiliency of a building and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Roads and bridges built with concrete help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the use phase,  reducing excess fuel consumption.

Federal infrastructure policy should first take steps to improve the resiliency of the nation’s infrastructure and second recognize the role of concrete to do this.  

Recent News in Resiliency



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