FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HANCOR SEES STRONG PUBLIC BENEFIT IN HIGHWAY PIPE REGULATORY CHANGE
Hilliard, Ohio - December 15, 2006: Hancor, Inc, one of the nation's largest producers of corrugated high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe used in the public highway storm water drainage market, applauds recent action by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to change its national "construction and maintenance" regulation applying to the use of alternative types of pipe on Federal-aid highway projects. The regulatory change, which becomes effective today – December 15, 2006 was made to ensure that state departments of transportation (DOTs) provide for competition in their specifications of types of storm water drainage pipe, thus promoting greater efficiencies and cost-saving in the use of transportation tax dollars.
"We commend the FHWA for bringing its pipe regulatory policy up-to-date," said Hancor's President and CEO Joe Chlapaty. "The old regulation only served to limit choices and did not reflect the realities of today's competitive pipe marketplace. By promoting greater competition, the new rule should lead to significant savings for taxpayers on increasingly expensive public infrastructure projects. We believe the Federal government's renewed attention to competition in this area can also bring greater focus on the many benefits offered by HDPE pipe products."
The government's regulatory change is being made in the context of the need to find additional ways to stretch limited taxpayer dollars devoted to highway and bridge improvements around the country. While federal highway investments have increased over the years, the recent spikes in the prices of steel, cement and other commodities have seriously decreased the purchasing power of those dollars. Requiring robust competition among alternative construction products and materials – including those in drainage – is seen by government agencies like the FHWA as one of the best ways to create efficiencies and reduce costs.
Therefore, it was seen as an anomaly of the modern highway regulatory landscape for there to remain on the books a wholly outdated 32-year-old provision – exclusive to pipe – that set out arbitrary limits on acceptable choices of types of pipe to be used on various aspects of highway projects. By eliminating this provision (Appendix A to subpart D of 23 CFR 635 – "Summary of Acceptable Criteria for Specifying Types of Culvert Pipes") the FHWA said that pipe competition requirements will now become equal to the much broader competition requirements applying to all highway construction materials.
As the FHWA noted, the old regulation was codified in 1974 at a time when the culvert materials market consisted of only two materials-reinforced concrete pipe and corrugated steel pipe. At that time, state DOTs were constrained because national materials specifications were limited to these two materials and it was difficult for new pipe manufacturers to enter the public transportation marketplace. Today the marketplace is drastically different, and national materials specifications are now available for numerous additional products and materials like HDPE, PVC, and corrugated aluminum among many others. FHWA clearly did the right thing by acknowledging these changes in bringing its competition requirements for pipe in line with the same requirements for all other construction materials.
Hancor applauds this change and welcomes the federal government's enhanced focus on competition among drainage materials in the context of promoting efficiencies in highway construction. The company has worked hard over the years to introduce its cost-efficient HDPE products into the highway construction arena – meeting with considerable success in some states, but also with arbitrary resistance in others. Too often, it has seemed, outdated perspectives on approaching highway drainage solutions, epitomized by the old regulation, had become entrenched in the thinking and actions of many state and local public works officials.
"We believe the new regulation will make an important difference," Chlapaty said. "It clearly has the potential, if implemented properly, to bring a new burst of dynamic energy into the highway drainage market, especially in those states that have been more resistant to such competition in the past. We look forward to working with federal and state officials to assist in any way in the implementation of the new rule, thus ensuring that fair and level competition among alternative drainage materials becomes the norm in all states."
Notice about the new Federal highway pipe regulation was published in the Federal Register on November 15. It noted that the change was being made pursuant to the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the federal surface transportation law passed by Congress in August 2005. A provision of the law required the Secretary of Transportation to take steps to ensure that States provide for competition in the specification of alternative types of culvert pipe used on Federal-aid highway projects. A notice of proposed rulemaking seeking public comment was published by the FHWA in April 2006 and Hancor was among several entities in the drainage industry endorsing the regulatory change.
Hancor is a solutions provider. One of the nation's largest suppliers of storm water management systems, Hancor manufactures a wide variety of plastic drainage products for the commercial, residential, construction and agricultural markets. Hancor was founded in 1887 in Findlay, Ohio and operates manufacturing facilities and service centers across the country.
For more information call 1-888-FOR PIPE (367-7473).
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Tori L. Durliat, Hancor, Inc.
Corporate Manager of Marketing and Communications
401 Olive St.
Findlay, OH 45840