The Big Picture

Welcome to the 2021 version of the Rock Products Aggregates Industry Atlas, one of the best reference sources in the industry.

The companies listed in this directory are sitting pretty right now. That’s because there has been unprecedented movement on the national legislative front to address U.S. infrastructure inequities that have existed for many years.

President Joe Biden’s proposed eight-year infrastructure plan would spend $621 billion on roads, bridges, public transit, rail, ports, waterways, airports and electric vehicles in service of improving air quality, reducing congestion and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

His proposal calls for allocating $115 billion to modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads and main streets, and $20 billion to improve road safety for all users. It would fix the “most economically significant large bridges” and repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges.

Not to be outdone, Senate Republicans – who already had an infrastructure bill sitting in mothballs that former Senate Majority Leader McConnell refused to bring to the floor for a vote – have just weighed in with a new proposal, and a good one at that.

The proposal calls for $299 billion for roads and bridges, $61 billion for public transit systems and $20 billion for railroads, including Amtrak. It would also provide more than $61 billion to improve ports, waterways and airports, and invest $65 billion to expand the nation’s broadband infrastructure. More than $60 billion would go toward drinking water infrastructure, water storage and highway safety measures.

As always, the “pay-for’s” are a bit murky right now. Biden’s plan calls for tax increases on corporations, a global minimum tax and corporate inversions but no gas-tax hike.

The GOP proposal is vague at best, but in general calls for “shoring up” infrastructure trust funds, assessing electric vehicles that use the roads but pay no gas taxes, while utilizing unused federal funds, whatever that means.

Of course the House of Representatives has had its own bill on the table since last year. It will be interesting to see how these three proposals coalesce, but I can assure you, they will. The year 2021 will finally see us address infrastructure in a major way. And it’s about time.