Better Roads

September 2013

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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Lattatudes Editorial Editor-in-Chief: John Latta Editorial Director: Marcia Gruver Doyle Production Editor: Lauren Heartsill Dowdle Online Editor : Wayne Grayson Online Managing Editor : Amanda Bayhi Editor Emeritus: Kirk Landers The Sandlot System Truck Editor: Jack Roberts Construction Editors: Tom Jackson, Tom Kuennen, Dan Brown Design & Production Art Director: Sandy Turner, Jr. Production Designer: Timothy Smith Advertising Production Manager: Linda Hapner Construction Media Senior VP of Market Development, Construction Media: Dan Tidwell VP of Sales, Construction Media: Joe Donald Corporate Chairman/CEO: Mike Reilly President: Brent Reilly Chief Process Officer: Shane Elmore Chief Administration Officer: David Wright Senior Vice President, Sales: Scott Miller Senior Vice President, Editorial and Research: Linda Longton Vice President of Events: Alan Sims Vice President, Audience Development: Stacy McCants Vice President, Digital Services: Nick Reid Director of Marketing: Julie Arsenault 3200 Rice Mine Rd NE Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 800-633-5953 For change of address and other subscription inquiries, please contact: Better RoadsTM magazine, (ISSN 0006-0208) founded in 1931 by Alden F. Perrin, is published monthly by Randall-Reilly Publishing Company, LLC.© 2013. Executive and Administrative offices, 3200 Rice Mine Rd. N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406. Qualified subscriptions solicited exclusively from governmental road agencies, contractors, consultants, research organizations, and equipment and materials suppliers. Single copy price $5.00 in U.S. and Canada. Subscription rate for individuals qualified in U.S. and Canada $24.95. Foreign $105.00. Special group rates to companies qualified in quantities over five names. We assume no responsibility for the validity of claims of manufacturers in any advertisement or editorial product information or literature offered by them. Publisher reserves the right to refuse non-qualified subscriptions. Periodical circulation postage paid at Tuscaloosa, Alabama and additional entries. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner. For quality custom reprints, e-prints, and editorial copyright and licensing services please contact: Linda Hapner, (224) 723-5372 or POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to Better Roads, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E.,  Tuscaloosa, AL  35406. I wonder if we are on the verge of a sea change in the way our transportation system is built and cared for. One of the reasons I have put reauthorization front and center of much of our focus is because it has such a major trickle-down effect. (I never thought I'd use that phrase again.) The amount of transportation infrastructure funding coming out of Washington in a surface transportation bill, and the reforms or recalibrations in its text, can be felt all the way down to the jobsite. But if the funding levels freeze, as essentially they have, and no thaw is forthcoming (the jury is still out, but the bookmakers are fairly sure it won't be) then some significant change is a possibility. There must be some sort of law, much like a Parkinson's or a Murphy's, that says if you set up a system and fund it to a certain degree then keep the same system but cut the funding, you won't be able to entirely predict how (or if) it will function. The first obvious consequence is less gets done because there is less money. And we have seen that. But now, we are seeing states beginning to take more charge over raising funds for their transportation infrastructure, largely because they have to or decay and need will become overwhelming. MAP-21 included some major reforms that gave states more say over how federal funds were employed. How those reforms work will become a major factor in how the future of the management of our major roads is done. The bottom line seems to be Washington politicians feel they have a right to be the final arbiters of our surface transportation system – even if they do a woefully inept job. And, as they dither or flat out don't do their job, they seem to feel states should wait for them. Delusion upon delusion. States are making moves. Agencies and contractors have the opportunity through MAP-21 to work a little more closely on how things are done. States can also make other independent moves as Oregon has in its trialing of a vehicle miles travelled (VT) system. Agencies and contactors may be in a place where they can get together and find the roadblocks, traffic jams, sinkholes and washouts in the processes they have been using and find they have the wherewithal now to fix them without asking D.C. if its OK. If Washington politicians are holding on to the ball and refusing to play, states will do what kids in sandlots do. They will take the ball away and play their way with their rules. by John Latta, Editor-in-Chief Better Roads September 2013 3 Lattatudes_BR0913.indd 3 8/28/13 2:08 PM

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