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Funding, Sustainability, and Safety Top Themes at Annual NAPA Meeting

The National Asphalt Pavement Association held their annual meeting in Orlando, FL last week, where hundreds of industry leaders gathered to discuss key challenges and opportunities in the industry. 

The packed annual event sought to provide a space for business owners and asphalt executives to discuss the topics more pressing in the industry today. Of the many topics discussed at the event, the major recurring themes at the event were sustainability, safety, and funding today as well as post the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).




While DOT numbers show strong growth in the industry, such as 13% growth in bridge and highway capital spending and a record backlog of business, these numbers only tell one side of the story. Inflation and other challenges cut into actual felt growth. Many attendees noted that IIJA funding is not impacting business yet as much as it could, and is even used for related projects in some states.

While optimism for the future prevailed, disappointment in the IIJA along with concerns for funding post 2026 were prominent conversation topics across sessions. Working together to drive state funding and support was a recurring theme, with each state facing its own challenges as well as opportunities.

NAPA and sibling organizations continue to work to influence both federal and state legislation. Members of NAPA are at the forefront of the multifaceted work to increase funding for transportation projects that both benefit the many fast-growing communities in the country and support future growth in the industry. 

Hill Days, the organization’s annual event in Washington DC, is one of the many programs NAPA and its members work together to influence federal policy. Challenges remain, as many legislators involved with the initial IIJA bill have been replaced, and continued education and advocacy on the benefits of asphalt to policymakers remains a priority across the industry.


In addition to funding, sustainability was the other prominent theme at the event. Many asphalt businesses are working to increase the percentage of RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement) in their asphalt mixtures. As these projects can be more costly, public projects in many states still do not prioritize sustainability in bids. Some states and private projects do prioritize sustainability and seek to purchase RAP for their projects, but federal and most state governments are still prioritizing cost over sustainability in project bids.

Additionally, today, many inspectors require mixes to be hot when a warm mix would be better for the environment and work as well as the required temperature, according to multiple attendees at the event. Requirements like this often limit the potential for environmental improvements in the industry, and require further education for policymakers and those who set criteria for such inspections.



While asphalt businesses continue to focus on ensuring workers are safe, there continue to be injuries and fatalities. NAPA focuses not only on helping families impacted by such incidents, but also reducing the number of future incidents through its Health & Safety Committee, one of the many groups that met during last week’s event.

In addition to on-the-job accidents, employee mental health and a high rate of suicide within the industry was a prominent topic at the event. Guest speaker Andrew Zimmen of “Bizarre Foods” gave a heartfelt, inspirational talk about the importance of supporting mental health in the workplace, detailing his own story of hitting rock bottom, attempting to end his own life, achieving sobriety and turning his life around to now producing numerous TV shows and running multiple businesses.


In addition to discussing many serious topics to support the growth of the asphalt industry in 2024 and beyond, the NAPA event included many opportunities for industry leaders to connect, including a golf tournament, reception with live music, optional off site excursions, and a NAPA PAC reception which raised a record-breaking $75k to support the fundraising arm of NAPA.


We enjoyed getting to hear the challenges and opportunities in the industry first hand, and continue to support these through offering construction materials businesses the world’s most powerful and simple-to-use transportation management system (TMS). With an end-to-end platform from order to dispatch and fleet management to driver payment, Tread supports asphalt leaders by making their lives easier and freeing up time to build their businesses, educate legislators, and grow the industry.

For information on Tread, request a demo here.