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Gas Tax Battle in Ohio

RR021119 pumpMarch 11, 2019 – Gas is a hot topic in Ohio. The Ohio House has passed a transportation budget bill that includes increases in the state’s gas and diesel taxes to help maintain roads and bridges. The House passed the bill 71-27. It now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration. The bill would increase the gas tax by 10.7 cents per gal. over two years and the diesel tax by 20 cents per gal. over three years. Both increases would start Oct. 1.

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International Women’s Day

RR030819 SiteManagementMarch 8, 2019 – To mark International Women’s Day, Volvo Construction Equipment President Melker Jernberg highlighted the importance of having a diverse workforce as a major contributor to the company’s success. He has also challenged all employees to help the company exceed its commitment of having 25 percent female leaders by 2025. The aggregates industry, which is heavily male-centric, is not without its female leaders. Look no further than Katie Jeremiah, CEO of Aggregate Resource Industries Inc., or President of Mack Industries Betsy Mack Nespeca. And of note is The Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association's Women Leaders in Mining and Aggregates group, which produces a series of workshops designed to provide the tools and foundation for career advancement in the aggregates industry. On the manufacturing side, you can find Mary Erholtz at Superior Industries, Susanne Cobey at Eagle Crusher or Jennifer Hise at Cemco leading their companies. I was having a conversation with an aggregates producer once who told me he was going to hire more female truck drivers. They take much better care of the equipment and are more efficient than guys, he said. Let's hear it for women on International Women's Day. And check out this piece from Firmatek.

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WOTUS Woes

RR022519 EnvironmentMarch 7, 2019 – We keep inching close to solving the industry's WOTUS woes. Man-made, roadside ditches provide critical surface drainage that protects the traveling public and should be exempt from federal wetland regulations, American Road & Transportation Builder Association (ARTBA) Vice Chairman David Harwood told a Feb. 27 government hearing. That’s a key reason the association is supporting the Trump administration’s proposed overhaul to portions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to restore clarity to these regulations and help reduce delays to important transportation projects.

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2018 U.S. Aggregates Production

RR030519 USGSlogoMarch 5, 2019 – You heard it here first. Preliminary 2018 total aggregates production numbers have been published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The numbers were revealed in its just-released 2019 Mineral Commodity Summaries publication. In 2018, 1.40 billion tons of crushed stone valued at more than $16.6 billion was produced by an estimated 1,465 companies operating 3,710 quarries and 176 sales and/or distribution yards in 50 states, an increase of 3 percent compared with that of 2017. Construction sand and gravel production was about 970 million tons in 2018, an increase of 8 percent compared with that of 2017. Total aggregates production was 2.37 billion tons, versus 2.25  billion tons in 2017, an increase of 5 percent. Final numbers will be released by USGS in the coming weeks. 

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Astec Impact

RR030519 AsteclogoMarch 5, 2019 – If you are seeking a barometer of the construction materials industry, Astec Industries is always a good place to look, as the company's footprint is everywhere. Commenting on the company's quarterly and full-year results, Richard J. Dorris, interim chief executive officer, stated, “We are pleased with the 17.4 percent growth in adjusted earnings for the full year. Our core businesses remain strong and we continue to gain positive momentum. While results in our Infrastructure Group for the fourth quarter and year reflect our decision to exit the wood pellet plant business and a decrease in international sales, we are optimistic about opportunities for this segment in the coming year. We saw a good mix of activity across commercial and private construction driving performance in our Aggregate and Mining Group both domestically and internationally for the year, while 2018 sales growth in our Energy Group was driven by improved domestic sales. While we remain focused on execution in our individual segments, we continue to make progress in our strategic sourcing initiative and anticipate it will yield positive results in our procurement operations once it is completed in the second quarter. We are also working to identify further manufacturing cost optimization opportunities and look forward to providing more details as we move forward with these projects.”

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