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Turning the Corner

RR041819 roadApril 18, 2019 – Maybe we have turned the corner in 2019. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, highway and bridge construction starts in March grew 4%, showing improvement after declines in January (down 5%) and February (down 6%). According to Robert A. Murray, the organization's chief economist, the passage of federal appropriations for fiscal year 2019 in mid-February seems to be helping the public works sector. The top five states for highway and bridge construction starts in March, ranked by dollar volume, were Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina.

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Telsmith Welcomes Vereb Back

RR041619 Telsmith2April 16, 2019 – Telsmith Inc. recently welcomed back one of its Southeastern field service technicians, Matthew Vereb, from a year-long mission in Germany. Vereb started at Telsmith in 2016 as a field service technician for the Southeast territory including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.

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Extinguishing the Fire

RR041519 FireApril 15, 2019 – Reports of progress on infrastructure funding last week may have been, shall we say, premature. Instead of stoking the fire, hopes are now extinguishing. In the House, leadership reportedly wants to move forward with a big infrastructure bill, hyping up the idea at a Democratic retreat last week, but details are scarce, according to Politico's Morning Transportation report. House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is making plans for a six-year surface transportation bill, and wants to raise the gas tax. It's still an open question about whether his leadership will get behind him.

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Infrastructure Talks Rumored

RR041219 dollarApril 12, 2019 – Democratic leaders in Congress said they would seek President Donald Trump's support in coming weeks for legislation to invest up to $2 trillion to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, including roads, bridges and schools. This episode of one-upmanship follows Trump's long-standing line about $1 trillion in spending. Anyone want to propose $3 trillion? The problem is, everybody wants to talk infrastructure, nobody wants to take action, and ideas to pay for it as are as elusive as a greased pig. House Democrats are pushing for an increase in the federal gas tax, but the chances of that passing in the Senate are bleak. User and/or miles traveled fees have been kicked around, but are short on support. The White House said Trump had spoken recently with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and agreed to meet soon to discuss working together on infrastructure. Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it. Past bipartisan efforts by Democrats and Trump have brought limited results. A criminal justice bill was enacted, but an immigration reform effort was a dismal failure, as were border security talks. Meanwhile it is only a matter of time until the next bridge collapse.

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bauma is Big: Really Big

RR041119 BaumaApril 11, 2019 – The world’s largest trade fair has opened its doors in Munich, Germany. On Monday, April 8, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder and Messe München CEO Klaus Dittrich opened bauma 2019. Rock Products and Semco Publishing have boots on the ground, and are covering the show event by event.

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