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USGS Releases Second-Quarter Estimates

usgsAugust 8, 2011 – Jason Willett, crushed stone commodity specialist for USGS, tells Rock Products that preliminary second-quarter production numbers reveal a year-over-year decrease. Crushed stone production decreased 10 percent, while sand and gravel production was down 7 percent. For the first six months of the year, crushed stone production was down 6.1 percent, while sand and gravel production was down 6.8 percent, reflecting industry response to the failure of congress to pass an adequately funded transportation bill. Third-quarter numbers, which cover the critical summer construction months, will be released in the fall.

Manufacturers Bend Romney's Ear

aem2August 4, 2011 – The Association of Equipment Manufacturers and leaders of four equipment-manufacturing companies joined GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a manufacturing plant in Pataskala, Ohio, to discuss the need for new manufacturing policies that would rebuild deteriorating roads, bridges and highways and help American manufacturers and farmers export their products to new and expanded markets around the world. I'm not sure if he's friends with Rep. John Mica, or others in the House of Representatives responsible for their underfunded infrastructure proposal, but if he is, maybe he could deliver a message: We need an adequately funded highway bill sooner rather than later. It's a matter of safety and national security.

Kudos for Safety

aemlogoAugust 2, 2011 – MSHA released its mid-year fatality report, and the Metal-Nonmetal sector experienced six fatalities in the first half of the year. Even one fatality is too many, but only two of the six were aggregates plants, one at an underground crushed stone operation and another at a sand and gravel plant. There were also numerous near-misses. Despite its reputation as a dangerous industry, mining actually has a lower incidence rate than many other industries deemed safe. Kudos to all aggregates operations working hard for safety. You can find the full report here.

Are Freight User Fees an Option?

artbaJuly 25, 2011 ARTBA President Peter Ruane, in an op-ed that appeared in the July 25th edition of  Roll Call, floated the idea that a solution for infrastructure funding could include the implementation of a new "federal freight user fee" to help finance transportation investments and leverage private capital, particularly for the "critical commerce corridors" that the nation so desperately needs to compete.

Read more: Are Freight User Fees an Option?