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Michigan Gas Tax Could Spike by 45 Cents

RR062519 GovWhitmerJune 25, 2019 – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited Grand Rapids to push her plan to revitalize Michigan's roads, a promise she's touted since she pledged to "fix the damn roads" during her election campaign, according to a report on WWMT. Standing under a bridge along U.S. Route 131, Whitmer again pushed her gas-tax proposal, calling the state's bridge system critical. "Michiganders are known for innovation and grit and doing the right thing and working hard," Whitmer said. "The legislature should live up to those same values and get this budget done." The Governor's proposal would increase Michigan's gas tax by 45 cents. The hike would generate $2.5 billion annually, and would bring the gas tax from the current 26 cent per gallon gas tax to 71 cents per gallon, according to the state budget office.

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Inside the Dodge Report

RR062019 DodgeDataJune 20, 2019 – Dodge Data and Analytics released its latest construction-starts report. Highway and bridge construction eased back 2% in May following 8% improvement over the previous two months. May is traditionally the start of warmer weather, so it is surprising to see a decline. However, weather conditions have been sketchy, to say the least. The top five states in terms of the dollar amount of highway and bridge construction starts in May were California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida. The public works categories as a group slipped 1% in May, due to a mixed performance by the individual project types. The miscellaneous public works category, which includes such diverse segments as site work, rail transit and pipelines, increased 20% as the $800 million Metro Green Line Southwest light rail transit in Minnetonka, Minn.,was included as a May start. Water supply construction rose 23% in May, helped by such projects as the $92 million Oak Ridge Outfall Treatment Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and an $87 million water reclamation plant upgrade in Valencia, Calif. On the negative side, the river/harbor development category dropped 22% in May, while sewer construction retreated 24% even with the start of a $118 million wastewater pumping station upgrade in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

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The Letter

RR061919 LetterJune 19, 2019 – The letter has been sent. The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) joined with the U.S. Chamber and coalition partners on a letter to President Trump and leadership of the House and Senate, urging them to renew action on infrastructure investment legislation now. "Each side acknowledges the need to invest in and improve our nation’s infrastructure. Our elected leaders must resume discussions toward legislative action on infrastructure investment," NSSGA said. Read the letter here.

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

RR061819 ShakespeareJune 18, 2019 – At the recent Texas Aggregate & Concrete Association's National Industry Leadership panel, Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association identified the 800-lb. gorilla in the room, and how aggregates producers could end up, shall we say, between a rock and a hard place. Johnson noted that the upcoming presidential and legislative elections would have a profound effect on the industry. “If we end up after the 2020 cycle with an all-Democratic line up (presidency, Senate and House),” said Johnson, “we would most likely have a $2 trillion infrastructure bill passed within 90 days. However, it would also present a bit of a paradox because the regulatory landscape would also change dramatically, creating a situation in which we would have to be wary of unreasonable regulations and rules based upon unsound science that would make it more difficult to meet the increased demand for our products.” As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, "ay, there’s the rub!"

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Chao Under Fire

Chao 1June 17, 2019 – Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao sold stocks in two companies after a Wall Street Journal report revealed she held onto them after she pledged to sell them. A Transportation Department spokesperson told CNN the issue was due to a misunderstanding about Chao's ethics agreement, and there was no conflict of interest with her holding those stocks, but the secretary divested from them anyway. The secretary sold her stock in both Ingersoll Rand and Vulcan Materials. Chao is also under fire for designating a special liaison to help with infrastructure grants for her husband Sen. Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, the only state to receive such a liaison, according to Politico.

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