The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) and dozens of member companies advocated for the industry before Congress, the White House and U.S. Supreme Court in one single day.
James Roberts, president and CEO of Granite Construction, spoke at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit on Oct. 11. “It is time to address infrastructure issues that have been ignored for decades,” he told members of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee. “Part of the large congestion problem that we have across the country is the fact that we haven’t properly maintained the systems that we have today.”
He highlighted that a recently-passed California highway funding bill, SB1, is expected to provide $52 billion for infrastructure projects raised in many different ways. “They used a host of fees, and this I think is important part. They did not focus just on gas tax, it has gas taxes, it has diesel taxes, it has registration fees for electrical vehicles and for hybrid vehicles among a host of opportunities.”
Roberts challenged the members of Congress to take action and be strong leaders when it comes to cutting red tape and funding infrastructure. “Just like your predecessors from over 60 years ago whose visionary actions we are still relying on today,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the Mellott Company and Oldcastle Materials Inc., attended an event in Harrisburg where the White House promoted a tax plan. They aim to dramatically cut corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 20 percent, reduce the number of personal income tax brackets and boost the standard deduction.
NSSGA continued efforts to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s overreaching 2015 Waters of the U.S. Rule before the U.S. Supreme Court, as well.
The Trump administration has proposed to rescind the rule and intends to issue a new and less onerous one, yet the court still needs to address whether a District or Appeals Court would have jurisdiction to hear lawsuits against the 2015 Obama administration rule. This is because NSSGA filed a lawsuit to stop the rule and joined with 32 states and other business groups to oppose the WOTUS rule on constitutional, procedural and legal grounds.
The rule would have dramatically expanded federal jurisdiction over dry streambeds and isolated wetlands. Such a jurisdictional overreach would have impacted the permitting process for aggregates operations and increased the cost of vital public works projects with little to no environmental benefit.