ARTBA urges government to repeal outdated road development rule

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The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) this week to repeal a rule adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1916.

The rule, with limited exceptions, prohibits state and local governments from using patented or proprietary products on highway and bridge projects that receive federal funding.

Repeal would drive innovation as well as spur the investment and the deployment of new technologies that advance safety, alleviate traffic congestion and improve highways, ARTBA said, and would allow states the flexibility to consider all products.

The rule forces states to use existing products over implementing innovative safety technology that is cost-effective and has meaningful benefits, ARTBA said.

“The status quo should never be an acceptable goal,” ARTBA President & CEO Dave Bauer said.  “The full repeal of an archaic rule will help open the marketplace to a wave of innovative products aimed at improving motorist safety and more efficiently delivering transportation improvements both the public and private sectors agree are necessary.”

Last March, ARTBA petitioned for the rule’s repeal.  USDOT issued in November a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” asking for public input on whether the rule should be amended or repealed. The deadline for commenting was Monday.