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PCA applauds life-cycle analysis provisions of new surface transportation bill

After weeks of negotiations, 1,003 days and nine extensions, a new surface transportation legislation, which was passed by Congress on June 29, was signed into law by President Barak Obama on July 6. The Portland Cement Association released a statement saying the organization was especially pleased with key provisions in the final bill—known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21—related to life-cycle analysis (LCCA) and pavement research, in addition to provisions to quickly bring the technologies to states.

“At a time when transportation officials are under more pressure than ever to make the most cost-effective decisions and communicate the reasons for those decisions to the public, LCCA creates a new model for decision-making that saves taxpayer money over the long-term life of a road,” Brian McCarthy, PCA CEO and president said. “I am pleased the Congress recognizes the importance of such a study.”

The LCCA provisions essentially mirror language contained in the Senate-passed bill, including asset management/state performance plans and value engineering for bridge projects that require states to use life-cycle cost analysis. The bill also requires the General Accountability Office Comptroller General to conduct a study on the best practices for calculating life-cycle costs and benefits for federally funded highway projects, which shall include, at a minimum, a thorough literature review and a survey of current life-cycle cost practices of state departments transportation. The Comptroller General is directed to consult with The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), appropriate life-cycle experts and appropriate industry experts and research centers.

In addition, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA) is amended to include the use life-cycle cost analysis as part of the criteria for determining financial assistance from TIFIA. The bill provides funding at current levels through FY 2014 (27 months). The original Senate-passed bill would have authorized funding just through FY 2013. However, although the House wanted a five-year bill, a financing agreement could not be reached, and the group agreed on funding through FY2014. “The extra year will provide states with more certainty to enter into contracts on larger projects rather than to simply focus on maintenance activities. Long-term planning of our infrastructure is vital to keeping it robust and able to serve the nation,” McCarthy added.