Due to COVID-19’s negative impact on transportation revenues, states are delaying and even cancelling projects, making immediate federal highway funding crucial to protecting jobs and maintaining our roadways.
Greenbelt, Maryland — As jobless claims exceed 20 million amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the asphalt pavement industry, as part of the broader transportation infrastructure sector, has continued to work, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs and economic viability. Deemed essential by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers List (version 3.0), asphalt paving contractors, alongside state and local departments of transportation (DOTs), are maintaining our roadways, ensuring the safety and health of our workforce, and serving the traveling public by facilitating the reliable delivery of goods.
“The vast majority of goods are delivered by truck, including essential things like food, medical supplies, and fuel,” said NAPA’s Second Vice Chairman Christian Zimmermann, New England Group President of CRH Americas Materials Inc. “In addition, our industry is well-equipped to work safely due to our crews working outside and, usually, not in close proximity.” Even so, he added, it is absolutely critical the industry follows best practices to prevent the spread of the virus.
However, state projections are showing significant declines in transportation revenue as a result of a 50 percent vehicle traffic decline. In certain states, toll road traffic is down 67 percent. Specific impacts include individual state transportation revenue losses as high as 45 percent in the next 18 months. Without immediate federal funding for these projects, the threat of significant layoffs is mounting.
Today, the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) sent a letter to U.S. Senate and House leaders, urging quick action to enact financial relief, as proposed by the state departments of transportation (DOTs) through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Additionally, NAPA requests congressional leadership to enact – before the FAST Act expires this fall – a multi-year reauthorization bill of at least five years and significantly increase investments that will contribute to the nation’s economic recovery while improving the National Highway System. In tandem, NAPA has launched a grassroots effort to make it easy for industry leaders to send their own letter to their representatives and senators.
“Without a properly maintained roadway system, we as a society cannot get our goods to market, access our medical and emergency services, and sustain any type of modern and secure way of life,” said NAPA Chairman Jay Winford Jr., President of Prairie Contractors in Opelousas, La. “Our industry is the backbone of the economy, as we employ and support hundreds of thousands of workers, craft personnel, engineers, project managers, and accountants.”
About the National Asphalt Pavement Association
The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) is the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the asphalt producer/contractor on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities. The association provides technical, educational, and marketing materials and information to its members; supplies product information to users and specifiers of paving materials; and conducts training courses. The association, which counts more than 1,100 companies as members, was founded in 1955.