California Asphalt Pavement Association
Vol. 14, Issue 45 || Nov. 8, 2021
This weekly report contains news and information of interest to the asphalt pavement industry, customers and agency partners in California. Please feel free to distribute this newsletter to others who may be interested in asphalt pavements. To provide feedback or story ideas click HERE. Having difficulty viewing this newsletter? View as Webpage
Special Report: Congress passes 5-year, $1 trillion infrastructure bill; CA could receive $5.8 billion annually, including $1 billion for roads and bridges
After months of wrangling, Congress late Friday passed at $1 trillion infrastructure bill to make good on promises to address the nation’s long-neglected transportation network, including roads and bridges that are vital link to the economy and the efficient movement of people, goods and services.

The passage of the five-year bill will ensure stability in federal funding and assist state and local agencies with developing improvement projects that will be the centerpiece of the legislation. It is estimated that California will receive approximately $5.8 billion over five years. Based on existing formulas, that could mean an additional $1 billion per year in funding for roads and bridges in the state. Added on top of SB1, plus local sources of funding, California is expected to see a surge of highway work in the months and years ahead.

At CalAPA’s Fall Asphalt Pavement Conference held Oct. 13 in Sacramento, Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans officials spoke positively of the impact the bill would have on federal and state programs. During a conference call with construction industry leaders last week, Caltrans Acting Chief Engineer Nabila Abi-Rached echoed a similar optimistic tone with regard to a surge of transportation improvement projects that could flow from the bill in addition to state and local sources of funding, including from SB1, that have already produced a flurry of construction activity across the state.

Thirteen Republicans joined majority Democrats to approve the historic measure on a 228-206 vote. Of California’s 53-member Congressional Delegation – the nation’s largest – the vote was strictly along party lines. All 41 Democratic members voted for the bill and all 11 Republican members voted against it. A breakdown of how every member of California’s congressional delegation voted is HERE.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper on Saturday published the following statement from CalAPA about the bill: "This will greatly accelerate this much-needed road work in a way that will be noticed by every Californian in the form of smoother and safer roadways. Helping reduce bottlenecks in our goods-movement network will also increase efficiency and provide a big boost to the state’s economy." The article also cited the National Asphalt Pavement Association, a CalAPA partner.

The vote culminated months of furious grass-roots advocacy among construction industry interests nationwide, and the asphalt pavement industry played a prominent role. In recent weeks the fate of the infrastructure bill hung in the balance when progressive Democrats insisted that it be linked to another multi-trillion social spending bill that did not have the same level of bipartisan support. Ultimately, faced with pressure from the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought the infrastructure bill to the floor separate from the other bill, which is undergoing additional fiscal analysis.On Saturday, President Joe Biden called the passage of the bill, perhaps the most significant accomplishment of his year-old administration, as "a monumental step forward as a nation."

The infrastructure bill passed Friday includes $110 billion in new funding for roads and bridges. According to U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-CA, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, bill includes $23.3 billion for California in new funding for federal-aid highway programs, and $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs. California will also receive $85 million to prevent wildfires, $9.45 billion to improve public transportation, and $384 million to build a network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the state. Additionally, the legislation will provide $100 million to help improve rural broadband access and $3.5 billion to improve water infrastructure. Garamendi said the vote culminated “months of hard work and negotiations.”

“This is a historic piece of legislation, and a strong investment in our infrastructure and the middle class,” said Garamendi, whose 3rd District covers urban and rural areas in between San Francisco and Sacramento. “The legislation includes much-needed support for America’s roads and bridges, water infrastructure, rural broadband, and more. It will also create new middle-class jobs by rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure using American materials and workers.”

U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-CA, another member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee whose district includes and abuts the sprawling Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex that has gained unwanted attention for shipping bottlenecks, posted the following statement on social media on Saturday:

“Last night, I joined with my House colleagues in passing the historic and bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the largest investment in roads, bridges, freight, ports, clean water and broadband infrastructure in a generation. We must not delay investment in roads, bridges, or the freight infrastructure which forms the backbone of our economy—especially in the 47th District. The bill will improve the movement of goods, and invest in our ports, helping to make our economy more efficient and productive. Under this legislation the Department of Transportation will rightly place more emphasis on environmental and equity impacts of freight movement, which will help the economy and health of our community. These investments will touch virtually every community in America and will lay the foundation for robust economic growth. It will promote good, middle-class jobs and guide our path forward.”
A White House Fact Sheet about the infrastructure bill is HERE. Previous Asphalt Insider newsletter coverage of this topic is HERE.As additional details become available on how the funding will be used, CalAPA will provide updates via various member-communication channels.
Technical focus: WMA benefits for cool-weather paving detailed
The first rains of Fall remind the construction industry that winter is around the corner and that the 2021 construction season will end (or at least slow down).

The weather change results in contractors incorporating Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) to mitigate the increase mix temperature reduction during lay-down. WMA has proven effective since the first pilot projects were constructed nearly 15 years ago. As was noted in last week’s CalAPA Statewide Technical Committee Webinar, WMA is perfect for cold weather paving during the fall and winter months. WMA also provides the industry with another tool to reduce emissions and to efficiently incorporate recycled materials (like RAP) into asphalt mixes. For CalAPA members and agency personnel that would like to learn more about WMA, please contact Brandon Milar, CalAPA’s Technical Director, for access to the webinar recording. He can be reached at (916) 791-5044. Our thanks go to session presenters Cameron Richardson and Trey Wurst from Ingevity (pictured).

Many agencies are interested in using WMA on their projects. Two items need to be addressed in these project specifications, which WMA technologies can a contractor use and what are the revised production and placement temperatures allowed which will provide the contractor with the ability to maximize the WMA benefits. Agencies can address the former by utilizing the WMA Approved Product List (APL) that can be found by following this LINK.

The APL criteria was developed over ten years ago as a way to ensure that the WMA technologies are compatible with asphalt mixes in California. As the use of WMA expanded and the knowledge increased, agencies like Caltrans recognized a need to update their specifications and procedures. Caltrans has released a revision to their authorization requirements / approval process for the various warm mix asphalt technologies.

All WMA technologies will need to follow these revised requirements to remain (or for inclusion) on the authorized list. The current authorized WMA technologies will expire in September of 2022. The revisions will now require a technology evaluation through the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP). In addition to the standard NTPEP evaluation process, Caltrans will also require an evaluation of a sample of asphalt mix with and without the WMA technology using the IDEAL-CT. The IDEAL-CT test evaluates the cracking resistance of a mix. The mix with WMA must be equal to or better than the control mix. CalAPA encourages agencies and owners to consider the use of the IDEAL-CT for mixture evaluation and in the development of a Balanced Mix Design (BMD) procedure.

CalAPA members and agency personnel who want to receive notifications of upcoming technical presentations should contact CalAPA and request to be added to the notification list. An e-mail box to submit requests for this or any other topic can be found HERE.
Time to take our annual 'Better-Worse' survey
It's that time of year again -- time to take CalAPA's annual "Better-Worse" survey. Now in its 12th year, the annual survey gauges the mood of Asphalt Insider readers about the upcoming year, and also asks readers to share thoughts on challenges they face. The survey takes about 1 minute to complete and can be accessed HERE. The deadline to participate is Nov. 12.

A story on the results of last year's "Better-Worse" survey appeared on Page 16 of the association's annual forecast issue of California Asphalt magazine HERE. A year ago impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic were clearly weighing on readers, with a sharp drop in optimism from the prior year. Results from this survey will be included in a future issue of Asphalt Insider.

Data from the survey will also be included in an upcoming issue of California's official magazine, California Asphalt, as well as the member-only 2022 Asphalt Market Forecast for California.
Tech Term of the Week
Each week we highlight a word, acronym or other term commonly used in the asphalt pavement industry in California.

FREE WATER (GROUNDWATER): Water that is free to move through a soil mass under the influence of gravity.

Paving Pointer of the Week
Each week we highlight a key point or best practice of interest to asphalt paving crews, inspectors and others working in the field. We welcome suggestions. More tips can be found in our Asphalt Parking Lot Construction Checklist HERE.

TONNAGE CALCULATION: Ask yourself: Are there enough trucks on the run to haul the mix needed to complete the job? If you have five trucks on the round each carrying 25 tons = 125 tons per round. If each round takes one hour to make, then the production rate is 125 tons per hour. If the job requires 1,000 tons at 125 tons per hour = eight hours to get the mix to the job.

Quote of the Week
"We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions."

-- Aristotle
We hope you enjoy CalAPA's Asphalt Insider newsletter. We are committed to providing you with the most up-to-date information on technical issues, regulation, news, analysis, events and trends in California that is of interest to the asphalt pavement industry and our various agency partners. Click HERE to contact us with any comments or suggestions.


Russell W. Snyder, CAE
Executive Director
California Asphalt Pavement Association (CalAPA)®
The "Asphalt Insider" is an official publication of the California Asphalt Pavement Association. For more information or to inquire about membership, call (916) 791-5044, or click HERE to contact us. Copyright © 2021 California Asphalt Pavement Association -- All Rights Reserved. The CalAPA name (No. 5,621,794) and logo (No. 5,621,795) are registered trademarks with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
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