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White House to Back Gas Tax Hike?

RR102617 pumpOct. 26, 2017 – The White House may back the first hike in the federal gasoline tax in decades in order to pay for President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure package. Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn told moderate House lawmakers that they'll get a chance to vote on a gas tax hike early next year as part of an infrastructure bill, according to two lawmakers who were present. The discussion over the fuel tax during the meeting was first reported by Politico Playbook. "Cohn seemed receptive to it," one meeting participant told The Hill. Separately, an industry source tells The Hill that the White House intends to back a 7-cent gas tax increase to pay for U.S. roads, bridges, highways and other public works, though it’s unclear if the proposal would be included in initial infrastructure legislation or if the administration will push to have it added at the committee level.

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Stop Unreasonable Permitting Delays

RR102017 nssgaOct. 19, 2017 – The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) recently told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Fish and Wildlife Service that unreasonable delays in the permitting process are far too common for aggregates operations. Nancy Haley and Chip Smith from the Corps met in-person at NSSGA’s headquarters with Mark Williams of Luck Companies, Matt Hinck of CalPortland, and NSSGA staff. They discussed improvements for water permits and the withdrawal of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

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What's the Deal?

AshGrovelogo sqOct. 6, 2017 – The CRH-Ash Grove merger just took a fresh turn. The company provided an update regarding the previously announced Agreement and Plan of Merger with CRH plc, under which CRH plc would acquire Ash Grove. Ash Grove has now announced that it has received a preliminary, non-binding competing proposal from a third party to acquire Ash Grove at an indicated enterprise value of $3.7 billion to $3.8 billion. The suitor is rumored to be Summit Materials. "The board of directors of Ash Grove has determined that such proposal could reasonably be expected to result in a superior proposal and has determined to engage with such third party regarding its proposal," the company said. If this deal goes through, this would be the second merger change-of-plans in recent months. Polaris was originally slated to be acquired by Vulcan Materials, but that deal was superceded by an offer from U.S. Concrete.

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Let Me Tell You a Thing or Two

RR100417 repDavisOct. 2, 2017 – At the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association's Fall Legislative Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., I had the pleasure of meeting Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois. We had a great discussion and I told him a thing or two – however there was really no need to, he is already a huge supporter of proper infrastructure funding. I also had a discussion with Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio. Kudos to NSSGA on a great event.

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USGS Reports Latest Data

RR09181 USGSSept. 18, 2017 – U.S. mine and plant production data for 14 selected mineral commodities are provided monthly (or quarterly) by the U.S. Geological Survey to the Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System (FRS), for use in preparing its index of industrial production and the related capacity indexes and capacity-utilization rates. These measures cover manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities, and they are among the key economic indicators monitored by the FRS for guidance in determining national monetary policy. The combined production of construction materials (cement, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, and gypsum) in the second quarter of 2017 was 46 percent higher compared with that in the first quarter of 2017 due to cyclical seasonal fluctuations but was slightly lower than that in the second quarter of 2016. 

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