WHAYNE: This is Laura Whayne, L-a-u-r-a W-h-a-y-n-e, and Mardi Miller.
MILLER: M-a-r-d-i, Miller, M-i-l-l-e-r.
WHAYNE: Interviewing Paul Toussaint at his home on Friday, April 30.It's about 10:30 AM. This is for the UK Kentucky Transportation Center Oral History Project. Would you please state your name and spell it in full?
TOUSSAINT: Paul Toussaint, P-a-u-l T-o-u-s-s-a-i-n-t.
WHAYNE: Um, can you tell us what your most recent position was and your--and the organization's name?
TOUSSAINT: Uh, most recently and prior to my retirement I was thedirector of the Kentucky Transportation Center, um, for twelve years. 1:00
WHAYNE: Um, can you tell us when you first became involved withtransportation?
TOUSSAINT: Um, I started my involvement in transportation actually rightout of college, uh, working for the construction, for a construction company, uh, and then after a short tour in the United States Army Corps of Engineers I began work for the Federal Highway Administration in 1968. And I progressed through their organization until I retired in 1997. [phone rings]
WHAYNE: Um, let's see. And what about when you became involved in, uh,transportation in Kentucky? How did, what was--?
TOUSSAINT: I was, um, I came to Kentucky in 1989, and at that time I was2:00working for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, and I was transferred from the state of Kentucky--or state of Connecticut, um, to Kentucky as a division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration. And in that capacity, I was responsible for all the federal aid programs and working very closely with the Transportation Cabinet in administrating the highway program.
WHAYNE: Are those, um, construction/maintenance programs? Was it thosekinds of--
TOUSSAINT: It, uh, encompassed primarily, uh, the planning, designand construction of highways, not so much the maintenance. That is primarily a state responsibility, not the federal government's.
WHAYNE: Um, and then, um, can you tell us when you first became involvedwith the Kentucky Transportation Center then?
TOUSSAINT: We were, um, we were involved with the Transportation Center3:00in a modest way for the first--well, all the time since there's federal funding associated with the center, but our, the federal highway's major involvement with, uh, the Transportation Center began sometime early in 1990 when we started, um, dealing with the Intelligent Highway System program on the Advantage I-75 program. We were the first state in the country, really, to undertake activities in that area, and we were able to get some grants, federal grants for Kentucky and for the Transportation Center to do some pretty ground-, groundbreaking work.
MILLER: Can you tell us more about that program?
TOUSSAINT: Yeah. It was, um, there was a big push on a--the nationallevel to try to get some more efficient uses of the highway system, particularly with commercial vehicles because they were becoming 4:00a more, having a much greater influence on the highway system than probably was anticipated. Initially, the, the interstate system was designed for something like five to ten percent trucks, and over time those numbers had increased. They were up to twenty-five/thirty, in some cases, fifty percent trucks running on highways, and so they felt, um, the federal government had put some requirements on the size and weights of vehicles and they felt that they could, um, streamline the flow of vehicles on the highway, um, that they could, uh, make things go better. And using Intelligent Transportation Systems and devices was one way to do that, um, trying to recognize trucks while they're on the move rather than bringing them over and stopping them and causing congestion and whatnot. And in Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation 5:00Center was doing some things in this area, um, but they probably didn't have the resources to really get into it. And so the, the merge of the two, the federal needs and Kentucky's interests seemed to come, come together, and Kentucky was also a good platform because it was a very high-use state for trucks.
WHAYNE: Um, let's see. Can you tell us about some, um, events orchanges in transportation that you've been a part of or have witnessed that has made an impression on you?
TOUSSAINT: Um, yeah. There, there's been a lot. I think probably thebiggest part of transportation, um, from when I started until, up until 6:00this time was, in my capacity with the Federal Highway Administration, the people across the country perceived the need for--in transportation, and they were very highly supportive of new construction and of those kinds of things. But as time progressed--this was back in the 1960s- -as time progressed, um, people became less enthusiastic and probably more prone to sue than to, uh, to, to let things go in an easy format. So because of that, the transportation facilities took much longer to construct, and they were typically done at a much higher cost. And, um, I think that was something that changed, evolved over time, maybe some of it for the good because the environmental things that took 7:00place probably were helpful, um, but some may not have been so helpful. Um, the other thing was--I've already touched on it--was the fact that, um, the trucks, the commercial vehicles on the facilities was far and away, um, greater than what was anticipated, and that caused, uh, two things to happen. It, it caused the, um, the congestion to build up faster, and it caused the, the system to deteriorate faster because the trucks were so much, uh, heavier than the cars. And the deterioration resulted in the states having to assume--they were always responsible for the maintenance of the facilities, but it started to be a much greater burden on them. And I think the federal government specifically stated way back when that the maintenance was the state's 8:00responsibility, but I think they became, uh, somewhat tuned into the fact that that was not going to be the case, that the state's we're going to need some assistance. And so the federal program actually evolved, too, that--rather than just design and build new facilities, they, uh, started to provide resources for maintaining and constructing--reconstructing facilities.
WHAYNE: When you say providing resources, is that money or are thereother things?
TOUSSAINT: Money. The, uh--well, that's another interesting thing.The federal government, when the interstate system primarily started, that's where the federal government became more involved. Um, they provided resources to the Highway Trust Fund, and that was set up primarily to build the interstate system. And, um, when that started, the federal government probably had the higher level of expertise: the 9:00design experts, construction experts, um, to do the work. So they were actually, at the state level, helping do a lot of things, but as time evolved, um, the states became the ones that had the design experts and the construction experts and the federal government had less and less of those people. So the roles reversed. The states became the experts, and the federal government became, uh, less so of the experts. Um, I think that was, I think answered your question.
MILLER: Um, you mentioned Kentucky was sort of at the forefront of, um,the ITS--
TOUSSAINT: Yeah. I think--and that came about because, uh, well, asI mentioned Kentucky had some major interstate routes running north 10:00and south: I-65 and I-75. They crossed several states starting up in Michigan--well, actually starting near the Canadian border and going all the way to Florida, so it became a really good test bed, and that's where the Advantage 75 project, uh, first came into being is because we got cooperation from all those states and Canada to, to run a pilot project sort of. Um, and there was a lot of willingness on Kentucky to do that, and there was a willingness on a lot of the carriers to experiment with that. And they were able to bring all the states together, so it was kind of a unique thing. Um, and it held together for a long time until the, I guess, the research end of it was done and proven. The concept worked. It was just a matter of someone having the will to bring it forward.
WHAYNE: Has that spread across the nation now, um, as far as the--or11:00applying those concepts?
TOUSSAINT: No. Actually what--maybe, yes. It has. Um, there were acouple people that, um, moved to privatize this, and one major player- -and I think they're still in the, uh, the business and, and maybe have grown considerably--actually has taken over that same role and they're doing all this monitoring for a small fee. They're charging the trucks and, um, to do what the states used to do. Kentucky hasn't bought into that system, yet. They're still doing it with their own resources. Um, and has it spread all across the country? I would say no, but there's probably half or more of the states that are involved in this either through private involvement or through the states doing it themselves, but they all see the value. It's just they haven't bitten the bullet, yet. 12:00
WHAYNE: Um-hm. (laughs)
MILLER: So you transferred to Kentucky right about the time then that,um, uh, the Advantage I-75 program was beginning. Is that right?
TOUSSAINT: That's correct. I transferred here in December of 1989 andthen I think it was 1991 that the Advantage 75 program started to move forward, and, and it started because, you know, Federal Highways was looking for somebody to start getting involved in this intelligent vehicle stuff. And we saw the connection, so we asked for the money and were able to get it. And so I think that's why Kentucky was able to, uh, move forward with our program that lasted a long time and a lot of resources.
WHAYNE: How did you go about getting the cooperation of those states?What was involved in that?
TOUSSAINT: Um, well, with numerous meetings and, um, Calvin Graysonwas the director at the time and he had a very high level of interest 13:00in this. And, um, the secretary of, uh, Kentucky, Milo Bryant, and the state highway engineer, Gilbert Newman, were both interested in the concept, and actually the Deputy Secretary, Jerry Lentz, I think his name was, was very interested. And my boss, Leon Larson, in, um, Atlanta was interested, so between those characters, um, they were able to bring in the other states in the corridor: Ohio and Tennessee and Georgia and Florida. And eventually they, they expanded that to include Canada because Canada actually had some of this stuff ahead of us, and they were using it, uh, on a day-to-day basis. Uh, so that was good to have them involved, and we didn't want to do something that was so far apart from what they were doing that trucks crossing the border 14:00would have problems doing that.
TOUSSAINT: So I think it was the interest of the high-level officials,uh, within Federal Highways in each of the states, and there was a, a will to bring those people together. And, and--after several meetings. A lot of meetings. (Whayne laughs) Um, do we need anything else on--
WHAYNE: Unh-uh. That's fine.
MILLER: Was the, um, Motor Carriers, um, Association sort of, uh, asimilar in format then as it was now to represent the, the trucking interests or how did--
TOUSSAINT: They--it was similar, and Motor Carriers in each state,uh, once the, the concept was established the Motor Carriers were heavily involved both at the Washington level and at each of the state levels. And the state organizations that had motor carrier safety, um, responsibilities, uh, were also involved. It, it had to be a 15:00lot of people involved and a lot of buy-in because if it wasn't then somebody would just, um--it was a volunteer program, and if we didn't get volunteers, it wasn't going to work. So if the private sector said, "No. We're not going to do this, then we would pack our bags and go home." But they, they saw the value of it. Even though they didn't want government influencing them or watching them real close, uh, eventually, I think, we sold them on it. We were not there to monitor or control them. It was just to expedite flow, and, uh, they bought into that up to a point. (laughs)
WHAYNE: Um, could you tell me again when, when did you start working atthe Kentucky Transportation Center? When did you get that position?
TOUSSAINT: I started in April of 1997.
WHAYNE: What interested you in that position?16:00
TOUSSAINT: Well, it just seemed like, um, I had spent, uh, thirty-oneyears with the Federal Highway Administration and, um, sometimes a change in jobs is good, and this seemed like a, a real interesting, um, position to sort of end a career, not that I was thinking about the end at the time. But, um, I, I was getting close to the point where I would be thinking about retirement, and I said, "Well, I could go to work for the center, and, uh, you know, in five years I could retire and that'd be it." But it turned out to be twelve years, and it seemed like twelve weeks, it went by so fast. Um, and it's--the functions that the center did actually, at the time, I thought was where the transportation program was going; that, uh, there had to be 17:00more research involved, uh, because the resources were dwindling and the states needed to make sure that the facilities they built lasted a long time or longer time and that the, uh, resources were being spent in a proper way. And the, the Transportation Center, I think, provided that platform for Kentucky, and it was a unique, uh, arrangement, too, that, um, to my knowledge at, at that time it was the only, uh, transportation center that was being, um, operated out of a university and, uh, it probably still is. I know a lot of people had talked to me about that when I was at, uh, the center about how we functioned as an organization and, and dealing with the Transportation Cabinet, and they were very envious of the fact that, uh, Kentucky had that relationship 18:00that was so close with the Transportation Cabinet. In many cases, the other universities didn't have that, and they had maybe even antagonistic relationships. So they were always looking at the state as a funding source, and we had that built in. And so they really wanted to know how that happened.
WHAYNE: Can you talk a little bit about that as far as the funding andhow that was built in and elaborate on that?
TOUSSAINT: Yeah, um, back in the early eighties when the center was,well, when the center--the research function was brought into the center, um, that entailed bringing in the federal end of the research program to the Transportation Center, and the Transportation Cabinet effectively, um, gave up their research role to the center. And there was an exchange of personnel back then, and people could remain with 19:00the Transportation Cabinet if they elected to do so or people could come to the center. And there was a big--I don't know what was the exact split--but probably it was a fifty/fifty split where people stayed at the center and people went to the Transportation Cabinet, and they assumed the role of that, uh, research function for the Transportation Cabinet. And the resulting research funds that came from the Federal Highway Administration would, would come through the Transportation Cabinet to the center, and that amounted to a little over one million dollars when it first started and was up to around three, three and a half million when I left. And while we got the money, it wasn't for our own use in the sense that, uh, we needed to 20:00work very closely with the Transportation Cabinet to define the needs, the projects that they wanted, uh, to have done on an annual basis and then, um, there was mechanisms put into place to make sure that we had the staff. And we provided, uh, the research and then developed the documents and reports for them in a timely and, uh, cost-effective manner. And I think we have done that. Uh, sometimes, uh, things drag out a little bit, um, but I think the strength of the center, uh, the personnel that they had internally plus the addition of, uh, faculty and students, uh, that could be brought to the table on an as-needed basis was a very strong factor. And plus we had administrative processes that we could do things in a much faster way than the 21:00Transportation Cabinet could do. If an emergency came up, we could have people out in the field overnight, and the Cabinet might have taken three weeks to get that thing done. And, uh, we could do it with a phone call knowing that they would pay up later on. (laughs)
MILLER: Were there any such emergencies that come to mind, uh, thingsthat you were involved with?
TOUSSAINT: Oh, there were little ones all over the place. I know that,uh, probably the biggest one and the most recent one is, um, the, uh, Kentucky was responsible, along with Tennessee, for building a tunnel between, uh, in the Cumberland Gap, and that was completed probably in 1996 or '97. And, uh, it went along fine until they detected some 22:00cracking in the pavements, and so they asked us to go down there and do some testing with some, uh, equipment that we had. Uh, and we went down and monitored those cracks for a period of time and found out that they were growing and it was a, it was a real problem. The pavement actually started to settle, and something was going to happen. You could tell that because they were progressing at a very high rate, and based on that, they eventually had to go in and dig some of those sections out and found out there was a huge void underneath the pavement. And, uh, and I believe that the guys at the center are still monitoring that. They fixed that patch, one area in the tunnel. It was the worst, but there are still other areas that are happening, so we're still, I think they're still going down there and monitoring that 23:00periodically. Um, it was those kinds of things that we could do--I mean, other people could do it, too, but we could go down overnight and get it done.
WHAYNE: Would that lead to, um, a published report or was it justreporting back to the Cabinet on the issue or the problem or--
TOUSSAINT: Something like that would probably have not resulted in aformal report but there was, we would, uh, gather the data, and there would be meetings and we would present all the findings to them with a series of conclusions. And it wasn't necessary putting out a formal report. Uh, it might eventually be, um, because we had to bring in other people. We brought in people from Kentucky Geological Survey to help identify some of the issues, and, um, I can't recall if there was anybody else. But, I mean, there was others involved, and, um, there were some strange things that happened and probably people would 24:00publish something eventually.
TOUSSAINT: But there, the end result was not to publish a report. Itwas to find the problem and address it.
MILLER: How did the center change or grow, um, during the time that youwere there as director, whether personnel-wise or, uh, you mentioned it went from one to three million dollars in programs--
TOUSSAINT: Yeah. Well, uh, the money continued to grow, and that wassomewhat because of the federal legislation. So the federal funds grew up to three, three and a half million dollars. Um, when I first got to the university, um, the Transportation Center was not able to seek outside funding, and it had to do with some liability issues that the university had that, uh, they could not, they could not pass the test 25:00with NCHRP-type projects because Kentucky had some liability rules that precluded them from doing it which didn't make any sense because many other universities were doing NCHRP-type studies. And, um, I'm trying to think of the individual's name--Jim something--who used to be the vice-president of research. I can't remember his name, but anyways, we had meetings, I had meetings with him and tried to explain to him the value of getting outside research for the center and he was willing for, for us to do this on a case-by-case basis. So we went ahead and applied, and we talked to the people in the NCHRP about the liability 26:00constraints and they lightened up on some of the language and, uh, it was good enough that the university bought into that. So they kind of allowed us to address NCHRP studies, and so we started seeking some of those. And some of the first ones we got dealt with the intelligent vehicle systems, and, um, and also we, we got involved, uh, with context sensitive design. Um, Kentucky was one of the leaders in that whole issue, and we, we got some NCHRP studies dealing with that. Um, so that provided a resource, um, that they hadn't previously been into, um, and those grants amounted to maybe, like, $500,000 a year. And we used those to supplement, um, the other resources we had in the 27:00center. As far as staffing goes over those years, we didn't increase our permanent staffing to any significant amount; maybe one or two people but not, not a permanent staff increase. We did allow that to fluctuate by bringing in more students and more faculty and temporary people. Um, so over the time, we might have had fifty permanent people and, uh, the temporaries would vary from thirty to fifty.
TOUSSAINT: Um, so we tried to keep that in balance. It would not havebeen a good thing to staff up permanent staff and then go through financial situations like we're facing now or you're facing now. Um, but we were very fortunate in getting some of those, those resources- 28:00-(clears throat)--and then, uh, we also talked with our congressional delegation and, um, received a grant for, um, what we called the Transportation Academy, uh, and that amounted to, uh, a little over four million dollars for a four or five-year period. And the purpose of that was to explore the whole idea of what transportation is going to be about in the future and, you know, how can we be prepared to address it. Um, what do we need to be doing now, uh, to put us into, uh, a better position? And it was, if nothing else, to make, uh, others aware, other transportation people. Those funds were not Kentucky- specific that--we were supposed to target the nation in total and, you 29:00know, provide some options or provide, um, activities that would address things on a national basis for the future of transportation needs.
WHAYNE: Can you talk a little bit more about that TransportationAcademy? When it came about? Um, who was involved perhaps? Um, you know, how it operated?
TOUSSAINT: Okay. I'm going to say it came out, came about around,uh, 2000, the year 2000. Um, we met, uh, early on with, uh, Bill Schweri and representatives from Congressman Rogers' office, um, and we explained to them what the concept was. Um, they liked it. They liked what we were approaching. Um, their only suggestion at the time was that we should involve, uh, the other university in, in Kentucky, 30:00U of L, and so we made contacts with U of L and wanted to know if they would be interested. And they were elated, so it was a joint project that we set up with them, um, twenty-five percent partner and we being a seventy-five percent partner. And the idea was to do--seventy-five percent of the resources would be used for research and twenty-five percent would be used for education, and the education was directed at, uh, the state DOTs and the public--private sector to bring them up to speed, I guess, on some of the new thinking in transportation. You know, the context sensitive design, things like that. You wouldn't necessarily design a highway just because you have all the room in the world. You want to make it a little more focused, so, um, those are the types of things that we try to do along with, um--Ted Grossardt 31:00was, um, was the one that was managing that effort, and he was involved also in some new public meeting, um, public involvement processes to make them more active. Uh, public hearings have always been a difficult thing when you go to a highway program, uh, when you have a highway program being presented because people are very, uh, maybe bashful about getting up and speaking in public. And, and Ted and his staff found a way to do this electronically, and it seemed to be really a good way to go because people could have their say and it could be recorded and be part of the solution. And I think that helped bring the people into supporting projects rather than opposing them. Um, so 32:00I mean, I think that was one of the stronger things that came out of that, plus the education. So--
WHAYNE: Who would, um, organize the educational--or who would teachthose or what kinds of classes were those? Do you--
TOUSSAINT: Well, um, there were several things done. We had a, uh,we funded a couple instances with U of L and UK where the faculty actually developed, uh, online programs for say graduate engineers that wanted to go back and get their graduate, um, got their bachelors and wanted to get their masters degree. Plus we set up a, uh, program development, um, program that lasted nine months, and we would have the Cabinet or people come one day a month and the topic would be different each month. One might be environmental. One might be economics. One 33:00might be, uh, design.
TOUSSAINT: Um, and we would bring in guest speakers. We would supplementthat with some of our own people, uh, and it would be an all-day event and we would be focused specifically on that subject and there would be plenty of time for the group to ask questions. Like, we might spend a day talking about financing and economics, and we would have faculty people there from UK help us. We would bring in people from the state who were familiar with that or the federal government or people like AASHTO, and they would present to them what they were thinking about highway transportation funding and legislation and refinancing the, the legislation and all that. And it would give the people--and the target audience was mid-managers within the Transportation Cabinet. We weren't looking for the people that were already at the upper level. We weren't looking for the entry-level people. We were looking at the 34:00mid-level managers who might have been in the jobs for ten or fifteen years and were probably the future, uh, managers for the Transportation Cabinet or any organization, for that matter, and we wanted them to be up to speed on where we thought transportation was going. And if there was an issue with funding, we wanted them to be aware of that, and if there was an issue of design or public involvement, we wanted them to be aware of that. And it was kind of interesting. I mean, we'd have some people that were pretty far off the scale, but those were always the most interesting speakers. They were the ones we would get most comments from at the end. They either liked--
WHAYNE: Do you remember some examples or, uh, some--
TOUSSAINT: They either liked them or hated them, so that's alwaysgood. (Whayne laughs) Uh, I'm trying to think of the guy's name. We had, um, it was just about the time that, uh, I left. It was October 35:002008. I can't think of the individual's name. I'll think of it maybe before the end of the day, but anyways, he talked about, uh, the gloom and doom in transportation, particularly with energy, and how that people were saddled. The American consumer, let's say, um, has been, um, treated for a long time with cheap energy, and we just assume that that's always going to be the case; cheap and abundant. And his philosophy was that neither one of those were true. It wasn't going to be cheap and it wasn't going to be abundant, and we needed to wake up and, uh, figure this thing out and try to find alternate, uh, ways to transport goods and people and things like that. And effectively he was saying that, you know, we can't transport strawberries from California to New York in the middle of winter as a, as a lifestyle. 36:00We have to stop doing that and forego strawberries. New York is gonna not eat strawberries in January, um, but that caused a lot of people to think. And either they agreed with him or they thought he was totally off the wall, um, but a lot of those things are true. We need to think on a much broader scale than we have been used to, and we can't assume that oil's going to be cheap. We had a taste of expensive gas a couple of years ago, and that has--our senses have been dulled in the past couple of years, but it will come back and if we have to pay twice what we're paying for gas now, uh, you just think about the effect of that. So it was those kinds of things we were trying to get people to understand. It's a hard thing to do because we've been brought up in a 37:00different culture.
WHAYNE: You also mentioned about the research, uh, as part of thatprogram. What was that, what kinds of projects or how did that differ from other KTC projects, other research projects?
TOUSSAINT: Well, the biggest, probably the biggest research effort thatwe had was, um, the public involvement: trying to involve the public in a very soft way so that they would actually participate actively and not feel that they were being singled out. They didn't have to get up and make public meetings, and, um, Ted Grossardt had developed some models, um, where we could use these little devices--transponders or something. Um, we could poll the audience over a series of questions and then we could take that data and distill it so that we got a sense of what the audience felt, and we would present that back to 38:00them and say, Okay. This is what you voted on and this is what this says. This is the type of bridge you want at this spot or something like that, and we could show them that immediately. And then they could react to that again, and, uh, so they all felt that they were acting, participating in the design of the project. And the state was there, too, and the state was a little nervous about this because they didn't want the audience designing something, um, but that wasn't the intent and we told them that. We just want them to understand and we want the state to design something that eventually the audience would accept. You know, if they say they wanted this type of bridge and they would be happy with it then that's what we would do, and they used that technique in, uh, Louisville with some of the many, many public involvement meetings and, um, and narrowed down the choices to, um, one where the audience was happy. Not all of them may have agreed 39:00to that, but as they step down the process, the others could see what was happening and say, Okay. I did agree to that. You know, so they weren't opposing it, and that was probably the biggest thing that we did. Um, we, we were also involved in several safety studies through Jerry Pigman and then, um, we did some noise-related activity, uh, with U of L on the use of noise walls and the people's perception of, of noise and highways, and, um, those are the three things that kind of stick in my mind about, um, some of the research activities. That program is still ongoing, and I think that there was, uh, an additional million dollars put into that, uh, this year. That's becoming a more difficult thing for the center to get involved in as, as we move 40:00through time because even though we got rid of the, um, liability issues, we've proven that we can do these studies on a national basis, the university has some mechanisms in place that kind of constrain us, and we used to have some resources that the university gave the center to, um, seek outside research and provide different things. It didn't come from other research projects. They, over the past couple years, they've taken those resources away, so it kind of leaves us in a, in a catch-22 situation. They want us to do outside work, but we can't do it because we don't have the resources. We'd have to steal it from another project, and that would not be a, a legitimate thing to do. So the university has to, uh, wake up to that, that issue, and, uh, they 41:00were well-aware of it; the dean and the president. But whether they bite that bullet or not is yet to be seen.
MILLER: So is the Transportation Academy something unique to Kentuckythen? Um, I know you said you--
TOUSSAINT: The, the relationship between the Transportation Cabinetand the Transportation Center is unique, and it's, uh, unique in the sense that there's no other one like it in the nation. Most other research programs are run by the transportation organization themself. In Kentucky, it's run by the center. In most of the other cases, the universities have centers and they seek resources from the transportation agency in their states and--but the research they're 42:00seeking is something they want to do, not what the transportation agency wants done necessarily. So there's that split whereas in Kentucky it's, we're doing what they're wanting us to do, so it's an easier sell. Um, so that's what the others don't understand is they have to go and negotiate with the state and say, "We want to do this type of thing and this is what the benefit is going to be to you and this is what it's going to cost," and if they buy in, fine. But if they don't, the state says, "Just go away." Well, that's what they don't like, and the state feels that if the university comes to them--other states, not Kentucky--that, um, they just want the money. They don't want the responsibility to get the project done or they don't care if it's a need the state wants. They might want to be over here investigating asphalt pavements and the state only uses concrete. Well, they don't care. So Kentucky doesn't have that problem. If they want asphalt research, that's what we're going to do, um, so, 43:00um, that's where Kentucky's unique. We have developed a very close relationship with them, and every year we sit down with them multiple times in the early spring to go over what the needs are and try to hone that down. The needs are far greater than what the resources provide. We would get 150 project suggestions and could only fund fifteen, so the resources are not there to do what's really necessary. There was one other thing that we had, uh--(clears throat)--done over the years to kind of increase the outside funding is, uh, we, we have our resources in Kentucky, the Asphalt Institute, and, um, there's always been a little connection with them but there's never been a really 44:00strong one. It may, in part, have been there was a lot of leadership change over at the Asphalt Institute, but with the new management over there we were able to, uh, uh, partner with them and speak to our delegation again about some asphalt-related research, and we did get funded on a couple of occasions to, you know, 500 million dollars to, uh--and I think that strengthened that partnership, and it's still ongoing. I, it's much stronger than it was, and we still continue to look for opportunities to keep that going. And, uh, since that's here in Kentucky, it's an asset that needs to be used more.
MILLER: Can you describe some of the other, um, organizations you'vepartnered with over the years? Um, I know maybe that you'd had an interest in KBT. Um-- 45:00
TOUSSAINT: Um, yeah. The, um--at the Transportation Center, we triedto keep abreast of different activities across the, uh, the nation, and there was three principal ones I think that we've--we really were participants and were on the boards and all that other kind of things. And the first of that was the CUTC, the Council of University Transportation Centers, and the second one would have been, uh, the AASHTO Research and Education Division, and the third one was the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee. And, uh, the first two, the Transportation Center was always members of that organization. Um, I happened to get into the loop, so I went through the chair to the 46:00treasurer to the secretary to the vice-president and the president in, in both the CUTC and the, the ARTPA, Research and Education Division. And I think that is something that the center needs to really try to continue to do because it keeps you apprised of what's going on at the national level, um, particularly in research, and we're promoting the whole concept of research through those organizations to, um, congress and, and others. And the, the CUTC, the two are kind of, uh--they complement one another. CUTC is the universities themselves. They've joined together, promoting what they thing is important for research, and that's good but it's also perceived to be self-serving and it, it is. But the ARTPA organization, the research and education, they do it for a much broader perspective and they, they say, you know, this 47:00is good for transportation. And, uh, when they sell it to congress that way then it's really helpful, and they're the ones that can kind of dictate the size of the research program at the national level. And I think being in the organization and the leadership of those organizations, it helps to understand and provide some advice to them that's good on a national basis, whereas CUTC is more of "what's good for me" type of thing. Um, so I was the president of both of those organizations over time, and you have an opportunity to deal with, uh, national leaders in that regard. And it just so happened that one, one year I was the president of ARTPA and the secretary of transportation was the president of AASHTO, and it was like we had the whole 48:00thing right, right there. (laughs) Uh, so that was kind of, uh, an interesting year. Um, the other one, the Research Advisory Committee from AASHTO was--the university participated because we are so heavily involved with the Transportation Cabinet, and it's where all the state research organizations come together and talk about things. And that's where the, the dividing line between Kentucky and the rest of the country became pretty evident in the sense that the, the universities were not perceived to be, uh, too helpful on a national basis because they'd want to do things of their own interests. Kentucky was not that way, and we would sit there with the Kentucky representatives and when an issue would come up we, we would respond to it. Say, "This is how we do it in Kentucky," and they would want to know, "Well, how 49:00do you have that--how does that happen?" you know, "How do you get to that point?" Because they were envious of the fact that the university was doing things for the state, and, and so we got to see the other side of the coin and we could see, um, where the states were and the universities were a little bit at odds. And they had actually done some research themselves, the RAC group, taken polls, and they were not good. The university relationships with the state were not good, except in Kentucky and maybe a few other states. But--
WHAYNE: Do you think that's changed at all or is it still pretty muchthat way?
TOUSSAINT: Well, um, that information that we got from those meetings wewould take back to the other, the CUTC group, and we'd say, "Look. You guys are not doing what you're supposed to do, and you need to, uh, you need to go over and establish a relationship with the state and, um, understand what their needs are." And so I think it's beginning to work 50:00better. I know several states that have gotten a little bit stronger with their state organizations, but the universities are independent characters, too, so it hasn't, probably not a hundred percent solved.
WHAYNE: Um, earlier you had mentioned, oh, context, context sensitivedesign.
WHAYNE: Could you talk a little bit about that? What it is and what it'sall about?
TOUSSAINT: Well, um, yeah. That came about as a result of, uh, oneof these research advisory committee meetings. Charlie Raymer from the state had gone to one of those, and, and they were talking about how we needed to be able to adjust our design to reflect more of what the people wanted, sort of like Paris Pike. Um, Kentucky was fairly 51:00prominent because of Paris Pike. Um, when they go to meetings, they would talk about all of the things they did there on that road to make people buy into the solution, and that was sort of the precursor to sensitive design. And so Charlie came back from one of those meetings and wanted to know if we could put together, um, a PowerPoint presentation for him on how to address context sensitive design. So we did. We put a presentation together, and it was primarily for Charlie to give to one of these research meetings. And we told him that, you know, we would be inter-, you know, we could do this for them if they wanted to. We could take it a step further and provide training to his people. And so he said, "Well, go ahead. Develop a program." And so we developed a program, uh, to encompass all aspects of context sensitive design and how it should be used in the project development 52:00process and when, and, and we gave it to him and there again, Secretary Codell at the time, he was all for it and he told us to make it a full-blown thing and actually required all the consultants in Kentucky to have been certified by us. (laughs) And so Jerry Pigman and his staff, um, and, frankly, everybody in the center was involved in this, um, we put on courses at the--early, early on it was, like, two or three times a year we put on courses, and everybody in the cabinet was mandated to go to the courses and all the consultants. And so they were beating the doors down to get into a class, and those continued for several years, the training. And we would upgrade the training as, as we learned about different things, and, um, and I think it's still going on; probably not as heavy. Uh, it sort of gets embedded in, uh, 53:00the organization after a while. Um--
MILLER: Roughly what year do you think that started?
TOUSSAINT: Oh, this probably started in 2002, uh, maybe a little later.Um--
WHAYNE: And who is Charlie Raymer? Who--
TOUSSAINT: Charlie Raymer was the assistant state highway engineer fordesign at the time. He's subsequently retired, but he was the design person at the Transportation Cabinet. And, um, it required a major cultural shift on the part of the transportation folks, too. Before they would design a highway and say, "Here it is," and it could be twelve-foot lanes, ten-foot shoulders and the people didn't like it because you're knocking down trees and fences and everything else. So now they would back off that, and they would design it--maybe it's 54:00eleven-foot lanes, six-foot shoulders and we'd put grass shoulders and landscape it and do all this kind of stuff. So it was more, far more sensitive to what the people wanted or expected, and it wasn't necessarily cheaper but it was, uh, it enabled you to get the job done rather than have it hanging around for twenty years.
MILLER: Did that involve archeology? Archeologists, too, sometimes?
TOUSSAINT: Yeah. Well, yes, uh, in the sense that they looked, um--archeology was always a major issue early on in project development, and we actually did a study dealing with archeology, uh, under the, the grant for community transportation where we would try to identify, through the use of GIS tools, we would try to identify before the project was even started what the likelihood of, um, archeological 55:00findings would be and that was possible because of, uh, terrain and water and all this other stuff. Um, the Indians, the habits of the Indians and things like that that you could predict--not a hundred percent, but you could predict the highly probable places, so you could be a little more sensitive there or avoid them all together. Um, and that, that was very--an interesting study that was done by the center.
WHAYNE: Let's see here.
MILLER: Was the center also beginning to look more at sustainability,um, during these years as well or--
TOUSSAINT: Yes. That was part of all that. I mean, that wasterminology that came about eventually both in the context, uh, the, 56:00the community, uh, transportation resources that we got. Looking at sustainability was always a concern, and, as I mentioned earlier, it was a concern from the point of view that, um, oil resources are finite; that, uh, they're only going to get more difficult to extract. Subsequently, it's going to be more expensive, so there has to be alternatives. And some of the alternatives that they could look at was, you know, what is the most efficient way of moving goods? Um, a lot of resources could be saved if you moved those in a more efficient way. I can remember one of the first times when I got to Kentucky, I was driving someplace in eastern Kentucky, and I saw coal trucks on the road going both ways. And I said, "Whoa. Why are they doing that?" And they said, "Well, that guy's got to haul up to there and 57:00the other guy's got to haul down there." And I said, "Why don't they just haul across the street, haul that way?" That ain't the way it's done. (laughs) But it would make sense that somebody'd look at that on a much broader scale and say, uh, we need to put--make the most efficient distribution of these resources as possible. If that means hauling coal across the street rather than down ten miles, that's what we need to do, um, and the same with some of those other things of sustainability, um, hauling goods across the country. And then people get so enthralled with, uh, having their own car to do what they want to when they want to, and that's fine and dandy when you can afford it but we all tasted that, you know, four and five dollar fuel. And they complained and congress complains about excess profits that the oil company is getting and all this, and that's not true. You know, it's 58:00a, we need a, we have to make a major cultural adjustment in how we address that. Um, and we had a speaker come in to the university--we didn't have him--but he came to the university and he talked about the whole issue of, uh, of oil and where it's going to come from and how much we're going to have, and it's just, it blows my mind to think that people think, "We can have two dollars gasoline forever." It's not going to. We use--we consume unbelievable amount of oil in this country, um, which we're going to have to stop eventually.
MILLER: Um, can you tell us--
TOUSSAINT: So did you walk here or did you--?
WHAYNE: We rode together.
TOUSSAINT: That's good.59:00
MILLER: Um, we also wanted to ask you to tell us more about, uh, thePerm, Russia, project and--
TOUSSAINT: Okay. Um, there again the center, uh, defaulted on that--uh,not defaulted--but we were the default party in that, uh, and it was probably in part because of the people I knew within the federal highways. Shortly after I got to the center, um, there was Russian delegation coming to the country, to the U.S., and the person that was running that program in, uh, Washington, she used to--Tracy Bush was her name--and she used to work for ARTPA as their international representative or something. And she had brought a bunch of Russians to Kentucky several years ago, and it just so happened that they came to our house when I was with the Federal Highway Administration. I had lunch for them and whatnot. Janet had lunch for them. And so she 60:00called the division office and wanted to know if Kentucky would host a, a Russian delegation, and the division office didn't want to have anything to do with it. So they called us and asked us if we would be willing to, uh, take the Russians, and I said, "Sure. We'll do it." We called the state first because, I mean, they didn't really want to know what the university was doing, but they wanted to know it with the Transportation Cabinet--but, um, Mac Yowell was the, uh, state highway engineer, and I called him and said, "Mac, would you want to, would you be willing to entertain some Russians? We'll do all the logistics. We'll take care of everything, just we'll need you guys to help us." They said yes, so that's how it started. Um, a Russian delegation came over and it was high level officials. It was the equivalent to the secretary of transportation and there were four or five people 61:00that came, and, um, they spent a week here and, as part of that, they, uh, requested that we go back over there to kind of understand their system better. Uh, it's okay for them to look at ours, but we needed to know what they were doing, too, so there could be a--we could provide more advice and assistance to them. Um, so a year later, four of us went back over there to Perm: myself and Dr. Harik from the center and, um, Mac Yowell and Cliff Linkus from the Transportation Cabinet. We visited the, the Perm region and got an understanding for what their transportation system was like or lack thereof, and it was really eye-opening because their system was probably fifty, 62:00seventy-five years behind where we were. And they were doing things that we knew right off the bat that they shouldn't be doing, and we could correct those. I mean, if they could understand what we were doing, they could leapfrog, uh, time and, and get improvements there. But Russia's big problem was money, not unlike us, so that was hard for them to make some of the adjustments, um, but it was really a, I think, an eye-opening thing for Russia to see what U.S. transportation system was like and what they could strive for and for us to see what their was like and what they needed. And, um, it--they just didn't, it wasn't in their mindset at the time. Uh, they had just made some 63:00major changes as to how--before everything was government-driven. They owned everything. Government owned everything and did everything. They supposedly reverted so that there was private sector involvement in things, but they were in that transition period and that--it wasn't really happening. And it was very difficult for them to, uh, to understand some of the things that we did and apply them over there, but over time there was delegations that went--came from there over to here and we focused on--we tried to get them to focus on, you know, is it bridges you're interested in? Is it pavements? Is it planning? Is it whatever? Um, so we tried to get them to focus a little bit, and then we would send people over there and try to, "What do you want us to do? Do you want bridges? Do you want pavement? Do you want--" So we'd send those guys over, and we had several from the center go over. Uh, Patsy went over at one time. Uh, Dr. Harik went over a couple times. 64:00Joe Crabtree went over. Um, I was over a couple times and then we had people from the cabinet go over by themself, but there was, um, I think the relationship really was quite strong and they were learning a lot of things. They were actually implementing some of those things which was, was interesting and, um, heartwarming that they understood what we were trying to get across. Probably our, it was more a one-way street. We probably didn't learn a lot from them. They had some things that, uh, were unique, cold-weather issues, but that wasn't directly applicable to Kentucky. Um, but it was, a real, um, opportunity to understand another culture. 65:00
That, uh--there seems to be, um, a lack of interest in doing thatanymore. I don't know exactly why. Maybe everybody's just caught up in their own, um, troubles, budgets, everything else, uh, locally so they don't have time to do something with the Russians, but it, hopefully it will keep going. I think they tried to come over a couple of times just before I left, and the cabinet couldn't handle it because they had gone, the cabinet had gone through a lot of personnel changes and people were trying to learn their job and they were having budget problems and, uh, it just got to be kind of a real mess. So you had, the Russians had to hold back, and it was--I always felt bad about telling them that, but not much we could do about it. 66:00
MILLER: Was it annual for a while when it was?
TOUSSAINT: Yes. It was a--we would go over for one year and then wewould agree on the issues that they would want, and we would, the next year they would come over here. And, uh, the ----------(??) here, we would send somebody back over that would address a specific issue, and, uh, yeah. It lasted for probably five or six years that we exchanged delegations. And, of course, they had changes in personnel, too, and, uh, so people would have to get up to speed. And it was probably--I know in talking with the people in the Federal Highways that they felt that the Perm, Russia, uh, linkage was probably the strongest of any of the states, and they had a half a dozen of those around where other parts of Russia were coming over and visiting. But they thought ours was one of the strongest ones. 67:00
MILLER: Huh. This is sort of a broad question, of course, but how doyou feel KTC has impacted the citizens of Kentucky?
TOUSSAINT: Well, I think they impact them a great deal, um, just fromthe, uh, all the things that we do that are related to highway safety. Uh, that's been a tremendous asset to the people of Kentucky, and the data that they provide is used by people over and over again, you know, highly reliable. So the highway safety thing is probably one of the most visible, but all the sections in the center, um, you can point to things they have done that have been extremely valuable. You know, the structure section with Dr. Harik, he's come up with some new fiber, um, 68:00carbon fiber-type fixes for bridges that have saved them untold dollars and time and frustration to fix bridges that otherwise would have to be closed or torn down or rebuilt. Um, so that's been a big help, and the same with the pavements group. Um, they have done a lot of research on improving the pavement types and, um, the type of pavement marking that goes down and guardrail--all those are safety-related things--and, um, geo tech has done a lot of things dealing with landslides and rock falls that all those things when, when the results are deployed in the field, um, then it, it impacts the, the user, uh, a great deal. And probably the same thing could be said of all the sections, you know, the public involvement thing that Ted Grossardt has been involved in; 69:00the ITS thing that Joe and his staff have been involved in. Um, so yeah. It's--they've paid for themself a hundred times over.
MILLER: I know you we're a supporter of the technology transfer program,um, when you were there at the center. Um, can you tell us maybe about how you saw changes in that program while you were there?
TOUSSAINT: Okay. Well, the, uh, technology transfer program, uh, issomething that's fundamental to any organization that--uh, they need to get that kind of knowledge across the board to, uh, not only to the state agencies but in that case in particular it was to get it down the next level so that the, the locals and officials could better understand a lot of these things that are taken for granted at the state level. 70:00So whenever you can spread knowledge down to the, the lower level, um, it's, it's a good thing. Um, that's something that's been supported at the federal level, too. Unfortunately, I think that sometimes the locals think they can get this stuff for nothing, and one way or another it's not going to happen. If the federal government stops supporting that--and that's probably something that, that's probably something that could happen--that they're going to have to step up. They still need the knowledge, but they're going to have to pay a little bit for it. So, uh, I think it's something that is absolutely essential but it's not necessarily going to be as cheap as they've had it. It's sort of like, uh, energy. It's got to be sustainable, and if the money isn't there, they're going to have to provide it.
MILLER: It always seemed to me, too, that, uh, the technology transferefforts might improve buy-in from communities across the state, too, for what the center is doing and the legislature probably as well. Do you think that's probably true or--?
TOUSSAINT: Well, no. I think it's definitely the, um, there's--there'retwo parts of the center. You know, there's research and the technology transfer, and I think the, the, um, ability for T-squared to get, um, further across the board so that we don't--the research end doesn't deal with the counties. Um, T-squared does, and the more that they know and understand, you know, what research is doing, that's good and probably that's, that's not done a lot, and we probably need to do more in that regard. So it, it's really important that they, they 72:00understand. So if the people down at the lower working levels can see the value of doing some of these things and like ----------(??) the state. But by the same token, some of the research is--most of the research is focused on a problem that the state has and the state deals with a different set of parameters. You know, large volumes, heavy trucks which may not necessarily be the same at the local level. So there has to be a, a better understanding. It wouldn't be practical for the state to take everything that we do and deploy it at their level. Even though it may be better, it's probably not cost effective. They can get by, you know, doing things their own way.
WHAYNE: (laughs) Um, anything else? No. As far as--let's see.
MILLER: Is there anything else that, I guess, has been on your mind orthat, that, uh, from your experiences over the years that you would 73:00like for us to make sure we include in this interview?
TOUSSAINT: Um, no. I, I guess, I think it's important that, uh,the Transportation Center continue to work very closely with the Transportation Cabinet. That, uh--and I know they're going to--but knowing what their goals and their needs are and having the ability to address those in a timely manner is what's going to make that program stronger over time, and there are always instances I can recall over the past where, once in a while we may have failed to deliver on time, not necessarily, um, the fault of anybody. But, uh, there could be a lot of reasons why, but if we didn't deliver, then the state really reacted to that, and they would question the value of research. You know, if 74:00you can't do it and deliver us the answer or the product on time then why do we need it at all? And it's hard to, to answer that question, so we really need to be able to produce and if we can't produce, then we need to be able to talk to them about it and let them understand what our problems are, and to the extent that we can do that, uh, I think we're okay. If we start moving away from what the Transportation Cabinet wants and not communicating really well with them then those linkages become weak. Uh, so hopefully they'll keep strong in that regard and do what the Transportation Cabinet wants, and sometimes that really--within the university environment, that's a tough thing because the faculty want to be involved, but they have maybe a different agenda. And they have to understand that our agenda is the cabinet's, 75:00and their agenda is going to have to be our agenda which is going to have to be the cabinet's. Never the twain are going to pass. (laughs)
WHAYNE: Have you been able to, you know, go to the cabinet with, youknow, research ideas of, you know, whether it's faculty or your own or the researchers?
TOUSSAINT: When we would meet with the Transportation Cabinet, uh, wewould have a list of our own thoughts, and in many cases, um, our guys had a better feel for the problems because they'd worked so closely with the cabinet and the people over so--a long period of time that we knew where the problems were. So we would go to meetings with our lists and we'd take their lists, and we would discuss them all and eventually they would blend--we'd blend those. So our ideas would get 76:00funded, you know, equally as theirs, but we would better understand what they want. Sometimes our ideas were the same and those were no brainers. We'd get to those real quick, um, but sometimes we could answer questions. That's a problem with the evolution of people and turnovers of people. They have younger people coming through the ranks and they're in positions now where they're making suggestions about research, and we can say, "Well, we did that. The report is done. Laura can provide the report. Go look at the report." And that happened more than once, uh, and, and recently having those things on the web where they can link into the research reports--we would make visits to the district offices, and an issue would come up and we'd say, "Well, we did that in 1997. It's on our website. We'll give you the report number. Here's the answer," and they would just--they 77:00didn't have time to go look for it but if somebody could tell them it was there, that was a very valuable thing. So, yeah. They would listen to our ideas as long as we weren't too far off board. They don't want to send rockets to the moon. (Miller laughs)
WHAYNE: Well, is there anything else?
MILLER: I think that's covered most of the target questions that we hadon our list, so we appreciate your time very much.
WHAYNE: Yeah. Thank you.
TOUSSAINT: Well, it'll be interesting to hear. Well, I hope you'll editthis and everything. (Miller laughs)
WHAYNE: Let's see. I hit stop.
[End of interview.]