The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or “FAST Act” is Signed Into Law

FASTAct2America has always been a nation on the move. But an aging and crumbling transportation system is not only slowing Americans down, it’s reducing productivity, undermining our ability to move products across the country and around the world, and increasing congestion and air pollution. It’s time to get America moving again! – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Last month, the first law providing long-term funding certainty for surface transportation in over a decade was signed into law. The implementation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act” States means that local governments should be able to move forward with critical transportation projects, like new highways and transit lines, more easily. “After hundreds of Congressional meetings, two bus tours, visits to 43 states, and so much uncertainty – and 36 short term extensions – it has been a long and bumpy ride to a long-term transportation bill,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “It’s not perfect, and there is still more left to do, but it reflects a bipartisan compromise I always knew was possible.”

The deteriorating condition of America’s roads, bridges and rail lines have been an area for concern for some time.  According to US Department of Transportation, sixty five percent of America’s major roads are rated “less than good” condition, while one in four bridges require significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic and 45 percent of Americans do not have access to transit.

The FAST Act is considered by many to be a good start, as it increases funding by 11 percent over five years. “This is far short of the amount needed to reduce congestion on our roads and meet the increasing demands on our transportation systems,” states the U.S. Department of Transportation. “In comparison, the Administration’s proposal, the GROW AMERICA Act, increases funding by 45 percent”.

The law also makes changes and reforms to many Federal transportation programs, including streamlining the approval processes for new transportation projects, providing new safety tools, and establishing new programs to advance critical freight projects.

For a more detailed summary of some FAST Act provisions, visit www.transportation.gov/fastact.

 

A Unique View of the Sawmilling Process from Start to Finish

Lumber

Image @ Vaagen Brothers Lumber

When you think about engineered wood, one doesn’t always consider the enormous impact it has on our daily lives. Chances are there is engineered wood all around you; in the construction of the building you are sitting in, the furniture you’re using and the floors you’re standing on.

Engineered wood products are used just about everywhere from home construction to commercial buildings to industrial products. It’s so commonly used, most of us take for granted! One rarely considers the amount of skill, planning and innovation it takes to produce these marvelous materials.

It was exciting to come across a series of videos recently produced by Vaagen Brothers Lumber that provide an up close and personal view of the complete manufacturing process from logging to saw-milling, all captured with drone footage.

The forestry company’s first video, Start To Finish Logging, demonstrates the complexities of the logging process. The first step is to decide on a selective harvesting plan with the land owner. Local contractors are then sent out to operate the Feller Buncher, Skidder, Processor, and Loader to safely finish the job.

The next phase of production process is demonstrated in the video, Biomass Removal – From Forest To Power Plant. Here, we see the remarkable process of slash piles from harvest and fuels reduction projects being ground and hauled to nearby biomass power plants.

The final video of the series, Logs to Lumber, the Vaagen Brothers Lumber gives us an exquisite ariel view of the full sawmilling process inside their Colville mill.

About Vaagen Brothers Lumber
Colville, WA based Vaagen Brothers Lumber Inc. has been working in the forests of northeast Washington for more than 50 years. The company takes the best of traditional logging and lumber milling practices and combine them with advanced production technologies and forward thinking, sustainable forest management practices to create a company that’s as vibrant and growing as the healthy forests and ecosystems necessary to its success. Learn more by visiting vaagenbros.com/