When you hear DOT talk about approaches to transportation that are environmentally friendly, you might think about fuel-efficient cars, public transit, or even the new solar panels at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. But, you probably don't think about road work. Well, last week, I met a group of people who would like to change your mind, the Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association.
At DOT we support many different ways of moving goods and people--even commercial space transportation. But, no matter what, America needs its roadways. And our roads must be maintained, preserved, and rehabilitated. Keeping our roads and bridges in a state of good repair is critical to our ability to provide the safest, most efficient roadway system possible.
So, to help protect our environment as we build and maintain our roadways, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) encourages contractors to use recycled highway materials in pavement construction.
Using recycled materials has another key benefit to highway agencies and taxpayers: reclaimed asphalt offers a cost-saving, long-lasting alternative. That's great for stretching scarce dollars. In fact, the economic benefits from the re-use of highway materials can provide a great boost to highway departments in cities, counties, and states, allowing them to get a bigger bang for their buck.
Significant advances in technology have also increased the types of recycled materials we use and the range of their applications.
The folks I met from the Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association are understandably proud of their role in protecting the environment, preserving resources, and cutting the costs involved in road work. I am happy to have had the opportunity to thank them for the important service they provide, and I am happy to congratulate FHWA for continuing to encourage the use of recycled materials.
Building an America that lasts is a terrific goal; building that America with recycled materials is even better.