CONNstruction - Spring 2017 - 21
An Outlook for
Aggregates in 2017
By Michael W. Johnson, NSSGA President and CEO
Seeing the support from the aggregates industry in the
2016 election was incredible, and NSSGA is here to help
the momentum build throughout the Trump administration.
NSSGA President and CEO Michael W. Johnson.
President Donald J. Trump has made a
10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure investment
one of his top priorities along with repealing
burdensome regulations and reforming the
In the first week of the Trump administration, the president ordered a fast-track system where governors and Cabinet members
can prioritize critical infrastructure projects
for environmental reviews. This should get
these projects moving faster resulting in
greater demand for our products. He also
ordered a freeze on federal regulations that
were pending or in review. This caused the
U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration
(MSHA) to delay a controversial workplace
exams rule passed right before President
Barack Obama left office. The rule requires
safety examinations of an area before work
begins - not just at the beginning of the shift.
It also mandates that examiners document
any hazards found, abatements made and
sign their name to that record, among other
requirements that do little to actually improve
safety at an operation.
Through the campaign, Trump prioritized transportation and other infrastructure improvements as a way to improve the
economy and put Americans back to work.
Already, Senate Democrats proposed a
$1 trillion infrastructure bill during that first
week of Trump's presidency. The proposed
spending plan differs from Trump's in terms of
funding - the president has indicated that he
prefers to fund improvements through private
financing such as bonding and public-private
partnerships instead of dedicated tax dollars.
While these steps are good news for
the aggregates industry, a Republicancontrolled Congress does not give President
Trump a blank check to turn his campaign
promises into realities. With a 52-48 majority in the Senate, Republicans will still need
the support of Democratic colleagues to
Now is when the real work begins,
because we have to continue to encourage lawmakers to invest in infrastructure
to improve America. Our industry can only
capitalize on the opportunities to ease the
crushing burden of regulations and encourage strong, federal investment in our infrastructure if we continue to keep pressure on
lawmakers and the White House.
I cannot say enough how proud we are of
the people in our industry who made their
voices heard in November. Just because the
election is over, we can't stop now. NSSGA
strongly encourages everyone at aggregates
operations to keep building their relationships with members of Congress, so they
can put forward laws that allow our businesses to expand and America to invest in
our surface transportation network, ports,
airports and other infrastructure.
Our industry has a great story to share
with Congress and federal policymakers. Our
quarries provide the very building blocks that
make roads, buildings, highways, airports
and other public works projects possible.
The aggregates industry is also set to grow,
which means good paying jobs for Americans.
Prior to the election, analysis indicated that
moderate gains are expected in construction
in the U.S. in 2017 resulting in a commensurate demand for aggregates. A report from
Dodge Data and Analytics said that total U.S.
construction starts will increase 5 percent to
$713 billion, and public works projects will be
up 6 percent from 2016 numbers due to recent
infrastructure bills that passed Congress -
the Fixing America's Surface Transportation
(FAST) Act and the Water Infrastructure
Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. With
the new administration's focus on building
and manufacturing, the potential for those
numbers to grow is immense.
NSSGA continues to work with Congress
on a larger package of regulatory relief in
keeping with the president's desires for
reform and efficient government. The
association will ask members of Congress
to use appropriation process to prevent
agencies from enforcing onerous and burdensome rules, such as the EPA's attempt
to radically increase its jurisdiction under
the Waters of the United States rule and
CONNstruction / SPRING 2017 / 21