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OH a Gas Tax Increase

RR021119 pumpJuly 3, 2019– There is a bit of fireworks this 4th of July in Ohio. A 10.5-cent and 19-cent statewide jump in price for gas and diesel fuel, respectively, went into effect thanks to a tax increase contained in the state’s latest transportation budget. The hike puts the total tax at 38.5 cents for gas and 47 cents for diesel. Since 2005, the state tax rate on both gas and diesel had been 28 cents. Revenue from the changes is expected to exceed $850 million per year for road and bridge improvement projects with 45% of that going into the pockets of local municipalities. Under the previous gas tax, municipalities received 40% of revenue. Despite the increase, the plan falls more than $300 million a year short of what Gov. Mike DeWine said was absolutely necessary for Ohio's roads and bridges.

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Granite Touts Telematics

RR070219 GraniteJuly 2, 2019 – Granite's 2018 Sustainability Report, available on its website, focuses on many aspects of the company's business. One interesting part is the inclusion of telematics and how it factors into its sustainability efforts. In the section "Using Telematics to Reduce our Carbon Footprint," the company said one of its goals is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions/fuel consumption associated with its mobile fleet and asphalt plant operations by 2% year-over-year. "One of the challenges for reducing our carbon footprint is accurately accounting for the use of all owned and rented equipment assets to quantify fuel consumption," the company stated. "We are continuing efforts to develop an efficient and accurate data-gathering solution to track and evaluate this objective. The use of telematics provides valuable information from a sustainability and safety perspective, including fuel consumption, driving habits, and proper operation and use of equipment. Granite began this effort in 2015 and we have since increased the number of equipment/vehicle assets using telematics by 85%, for a total equipment/vehicle count of 1,900. From an environmental perspective, we are seeing positive results that are contributing to improved fuel consumption reductions."

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Highways With a THUD

RR070119 highwayJuly 1, 2019 – The House of Representatives last week passed a major spending package, HR3055, containing $87.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations for Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD). This “minibus” package – composed of four other appropriations bills in addition to THUD – was the second of three packages considered by the House for FY 2020, and passed the chamber by a vote of 227-194. The Senate has not yet started its appropriations, awaiting a bipartisan budget agreement between the White House and Congress on the overall spending cap for next year.

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Workforce Development Grants Available July 1

RR062819 workforceiiJuly 28, 2019 – New reforms to strengthen the Perkins career and technical education (CTE) program will go into effect July 1. Approved by Congress and signed into law last year, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) updates the federal education grant program to help more students gain the skills they need for in-demand jobs. 

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Rogers Group Plants Pollinator Garden

RR062719 pollinatorJune 27, 2019 – Rogers Group Inc. (RGI) Sales Representative Angie Thurman went to a Tennessee Concrete Association mid-year meeting and walked out with a big idea. After hearing an environmental presentation about biodiversity at ready mixed and concrete facilities, she learned that only two aggregate companies in the entire United States partnered with the Wildlife Habitat Council and built pollinator gardens. Pollinator gardens are designed with specific nectar- and pollen-producing plants that attract pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. She knew it would be a great opportunity for RGI, not only as an environmental project, but also to demonstrate RGI’s commitment to the environment and the community. “I think [this project] is a great way to get the community involved,” Thurman said. “The day we planted the beds, students and teachers from East Robertson High School (ERHS) and the biologists all were very involved. Community perception of quarries are often misconstrued, and this is a great way to show them we care, and that RGI places a very high value on the environment and our community. Getting schools involved reached far beyond the students to teachers and parents as well. Everyone who helped was very engaged in the project and very thankful for the opportunity. They plan to help again when we expand the bed next spring.” Read more about it here.

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