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USGS Releases First-Quarter Numbers

usgsJune 15, 2011 – USGS just released First Quarter 2011 production numbers, and the good news is, there was not a major year-over-year loss. The bad news is, there was not a year-over-year gain either. According to Jason Willett, crushed stone commodity specialist, 332 million mt of aggregate was produced in the first quarter, almost identical to a year ago. Crushed stone production decreased 3 percent quarter over quarter, from 131 million mt to 127 million mt, however construction sand and gravel gained 1.9 percent, quarter over quarter, from 201 million mt to 205 million mt. Look for a full report in an upcoming issue of Rock Products.

The 30-Percent Reduction Charade

roads200x134June 15, 2011 – NSSGA has learned that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee may unveil its version of the long-awaited surface transportation reauthorization bill the week of the Fourth of July. While the details of the bill are unknown, insiders have told NSSGA to expect reforms to the program, including: program consolidation; expedited project delivery time; enhanced use of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program; increased tolling; and more public-private partnerships.

Read more: The 30-Percent Reduction Charade

The Minerals Baby is Back!

Baby_2011June 13, 2011 – The Mineral Information Institute released its latest "Minerals Baby," noting that 38,052 pounds of new minerals must be provided for every person in the United States to make the things we use every day. That number includes 8,509 lb. of stone used to make roads, buildings, bridges, landscaping, and for numerous chemical and construction uses; 5,599 lb. of sand and gravel used to make concrete, asphalt, roads, blocks and bricks; and 496 lb. of cement used to make roads, sidewalks, bridges, buildings, schools and houses. Over the course of a lifetime the average American will need 1.09 million lb. of aggregates.

Zakaria Gets It Right

fareed_zakaria1June 9, 2011 – Well, here's someone who gets it. CNN news analyst Fareed Zakaria, writing in Time magazine, identified several things the U.S. Government needs to do to spur job creation. They are: (a) create a regulatory and tax climate that helps small businesses since they create most of the new jobs, (b) revive manufacturing by focusing on research, technical training and apprenticeship, (c) help growth industries like entertainment and tourism to expand and, perhaps most urgently, (d) rebuild America's dilapidated infrastructure and put millions of people in the construction and housing industries back to work. We need more national media pundits on the same bandwagon and bandwidth, if new legislation is to happen this year.

ARTBA Spokesman Scorches Boehner

artbaJune 6, 2011 American Road & Transportation Builders Coalition Spokesman Matt Jeanneret recently took House Speaker John Boehner to task for stating that an increase in the federal gas tax is a job killer. “Speaker Boehner wins the ‘Pothole of the Week’ award," Jeanneret said. "His statement blasting a long-time transportation leader in Congress for suggesting it might be time after 18 years to consider a small increase in the federal gas tax to pay for highway and mass transit improvements – saying it would be a ‘job destroyer’ – is hypocritical.

Read more: ARTBA Spokesman Scorches Boehner