WASHINGTON-The National Highway System designation bill passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee May 11 has a provision repealing a federal requirement that state highway departments use crumb-rubber-modified asphalt for federally funded highway projects. That provision does not, however, rescind regulations on technology transfer or cooperative research projects concerning rubberized asphalt, so representatives of the asphalt rubber industry are less alarmed at this than at previous repeal efforts.
Section 1038 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 requires the states to use an ever increasing percentage of rubberized asphalt in federally funded projects as a condition of keeping those funds.
But amendments to the last two Transportation Department appropriation bills have prevented Section 1038 from ever taking effect. The provision ends in 1997.
The retreading industry and its allies are more concerned about provisions in the Senate bill which allow Congress to open the Highway Trust Fund and use motor fuel and other highway taxes for AMTRAK and other mass transit projects. This, they feel, is harmful to the interests of the trucking industry and other highway users.
``We want to make sure that highway funds are designated for the use Congress originally intended,'' said Roy E. Littlefield III, American Retreaders Association government relations director.
The Senate is not expected to take up the National Highway System bill at least until after the Memorial Day recess, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has no current plans to write an NHS bill.