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From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short

From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - August 25, 2023

HB 8, Clean Construction Preferences for Public Works, was introduced by Representative Osienski during this past session. I had a number of meetings with the sponsor and House leadership regarding amendments as well as testifying at the House Environmental Committee hearing when the bill was considered. I believe most of those in the construction industry would agree that increasing use of clean construction materials is where things are headed.

The legislation defines clean construction preferences as meaning, “guidelines and targets for embodied emissions and pollutants associated with physical materials commonly used in public works. The legislation goes on to define embodied emissions as, “the amount of greenhouse gases associated with the extraction, production, transport, and manufacturing material.”

This week, the Delaware Department of Transportation recognized the industry’s move toward the increased use of clean construction materials by holding a meeting between its staff, highway contractors, suppliers and the Federal Highway Administration. Several weeks ago, DelDOT contacted DCA in an effort to gain input from our highway contractor membership on the issue via a survey whose results were referenced during the meeting. I appreciate the effort DelDOT is making to involve DCA’s members and other stakeholders in the development of a program for its projects.

During the Q&A, the Department stated it’s in the early stages of exploring this effort. My notes from the meeting reflect that the department believes it could establish benchmarks for current products used during 2024, develop initial embodied emissions reduction goals in 2025 while looking to create incentives and disincentives in 2026. It is most likely that initial projects will be the Department’s paving and rehab work. When asked how this would work in a low-bid environment the Department shared some possible approaches but did recognize that there is still a lot they need to figure out.

The FHWA made the bulk of the meeting’s presentation with an accompanying Power Point presentation. The presentation was not approved by FHWA for distribution so I do not have it to share with our impacted members but I did locate the FHWA’s website for its Sustainable Pavements Program which has a lot of information. As this effort moves forward, I will keep DCA’s contractors informed.

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