November 2009 – AggBeat
by Kerry Clines, Senior Editor
Martin Marietta’s president testifies before Congress
Ward Nye, Martin Marietta Materials president and COO, testified on behalf of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. According to the NSSGA, he was there to present the aggregates industry’s perspective on the ARRA and to discuss its impact on the industry.
Nye testified that despite a 27-percent decrease in aggregate production in the first half of 2009 compared with the first half of 2008, there was evidence suggesting the stimulus funds had helped the market. However, he added that some state and local governments are experiencing tax shortfalls and have slashed their transportation budgets, which may void any positive results the aggregates industry might see from the stimulus since bridges and roads account for approximately 40 percent of the industry’s market.
A survey conducted by the NSSGA prior to Nye’s appearance before Congress revealed some interesting facts — more than 90 percent of respondents said they had not seen a noticeable increase in sales over the last three months; 71 percent said they do not expect an increase in orders in the fourth quarter of 2009; and half of those surveyed said they did not think 2010 would bring an increase in sales.
The survey also asked if passage of a well-funded, six-year transportation authorization bill would improve the outlook of their business. A strong 93 percent said it would have a positive impact, while 90 percent thought a series of extensions would harm their business.
Based on the survey and other responses, Nye commented that “jobs have been retained, but few jobs have been created in our industry due to the stimulus bill. Further, while sales have declined, without the stimulus it would have been worse. Finally, and I cannot underscore this point enough, without a six-year transportation bill providing predictable future funding, things will get worse.”
Nye referenced a joint letter to the president and Congress from four major national associations — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Automobile Association, the American Trucking Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The letter underscored a message from the U.S. Geological Survey stating that the nation’s infrastructure built during the 1950s and 1960s has deteriorated and needs to be repaired and rebuilt to meet the increased needs of the growing population. Nye said the aggregates industry was ready to deliver the materials necessary for that maintenance and development.
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