WASHINGTON-Supporters of the federal mandate for use of rubberized asphalt are delighted with a compromise measure included in the House version of the National Highway System Designation Act. The compromise delays by one year the implementation of Section 1038 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which requires states to use a percentage of crumb-rubber-modified paving material in all federally funded highway projects.
Under the new bill, ISTEA asphalt rubber requirements begin next year, with 5 percent usage of the material in highway projects, which increases to 10 percent in 1996 and 15 percent in 1997.
Also, states may fulfill up to half their recycled rubber usage requirements with ``alternative applications''-but only if they can certify the alternative uses pose no threat to safety, human health or the environment, and provide engineering benefits at least equal to the products they replace.
Advocates of rubberized asphalt consider the compromise a victory over conventional asphalt manufacturers and state highway officials, who sought the repeal of Section 1038.
Some 120 companies and organizations-including Michelin North America, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and 18 state tire dealer associations-formed a coalition to fight for asphalt rubber.
The House Public Works and Transportation Committee approved the National Highway System bill May 17. A vote by the full House is expected soon.
Final passage through National Highway System legislation is unlikely, however, due to lack of desire to take up that issue in the Senate, where asphalt rubber advocates are considering other options.