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Martin Marietta’s Nye Looks at 2011

ward_nyeFebruary 11, 2011 – With its stellar quarterly report, and year-end 2010 results just released, Martin Marietta Materials’ President and CEO Ward Nye addressed business conditions going forward. He sounded a tone of cautious optimism, despite the potential logjam for infrastructure funding at the congressional level.

"While a variety of factors make it difficult to form a complete perspective for 2011, there are a range of considerations informing our thinking at this time,” Nye said. “ A noteworthy consideration will be the rate at which states spend available stimulus funds for infrastructure projects in our key markets. At present, we operate under a Congressional continuingresolution that extended the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) through March 4, 2011. While Congressional Democrats and Republicans broadly agree that investing in infrastructure is a key governmental priority, we believe another Congressional continuing resolution of SAFETEA-LU is likely for 2011. However, reauthorized infrastructure legislation at the federal and state levels could be accelerated as congress, the president and local authorities focus on infrastructure as an efficient means of jobs creation and investment in thefoundational backbone of America's economic growth.

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House May Cut Transportation Budget

aemlogoFebruary 8, 2011 – Just when you thought that predictions for what the new Congress might or might not do were over-stated, comes word that the House Appropriations Committee intends to cut the federal transportation budget by 17 percent,  because it amounts to "deficit spending." What????  The Highway Transportation Fund is not deficit spending, it’s the people’s money, according to Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater "America’s commuters have paid their fair share into the Highway Trust Fund for the 2010-11 fiscal year through a dedicated 18.4 cent federal fuel and 24.4 diesel tax, and they deserve to see a full return on their investment," Slater said. "The nation’s highways, roads and bridges do not require 17 percent less repair today than yesterday. The average commute time is not 17 percent shorter nor are America’s manufacturers and farmers able to transport goods 17 percent more efficiently. Americans were promised that their hard-earned contributions to the Highway Trust Fund would be dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of our nation’s transportation infrastructure, and not to deficit reduction or any other purpose, and they should not be short-changed." We must insist that this promise be kept.

Vulcan Takes a Dip

vulcan-materialsFebruary 7, 2011 – Vulcan Materials, based on it s latest financial report, is operating at half-capacity. Don James, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "The length and depth of the decline in construction activity and aggregates demand during this economic downturn have been unprecedented. For Vulcan, aggregates shipments in 2010 were one-half the level shipped in 2006 when demand peaked. That said, we start 2011 with optimism that the decline in demand for our products bottomed in 2010 and that growth in shipments is ahead of us."

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Highway Trust Fund in Trouble

nssgaFebruary 3, 2011 – Folks, the Highway Trust Fund is running dry. And something has to be done about it soon. According to NSSGA, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its annual Budget and Economic Outlook report for the next 10 fiscal years, which includes an updated assessment of the Highway Trust Fund. In its previous report last summer, CBO projected the Highway Trust Fund’s Highway account to be solvent through the end of fiscal year 2013. But the revised estimate now suggests the account may be unable to meet obligations in a timely manner sometime during fiscal year 2012. Congress authorized General Fund transfers of $8 billion in fiscal year 2008, $7 billion in fiscal year 2009 and $19.5 billion in fiscal year 2010 to ensure Highway Trust Fund solvency until the hoped-for-passage of a surface transportation reauthorization bill.

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Manufacturers Call for Immediate Action on Infrastructure

aem2February 2, 2011 – America's construction equipment manufacturers have a message for Washington: Get with it!  Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater, whom I spoke with at the recent AED Convention in Orlando, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“The State of the Union address was the first in more than a decade to address America’s broken transportation system," he said. "To compete globally, America’s farmers and manufacturers need the White House and Congress to cooperate on new policies that repair and modernize transportation infrastructure – an issue American voters agree is an essential investment in our country and an immediate means to job creation.

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