May 1, 2012
Do you ever get that feeling of déjà vu? I’ve been suffering from it while tracking the twists and turns of transportation reauthorization. Since the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 was passed, the lifespan of transportation bills has become shorter, and the delays in reauthorization have grown longer. Rather than repeat my own frustrations, I thought it was time to give others the spotlight.
My favorite headline came from The Washington Post. It read, “Congress fails on infrastructure. Again.” In the Post, Ezra Klein wrote, “The White House’s statement was less than 50 words, and neither John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Mitch McConnell even issued a press release. And for good reason: Each and every one of them is ashamed of this bill. As they should be.”
National association leaders continue to advocate swift action (see AggBeat, page 5), but it is interesting to note that state and local leaders are also losing patience with their federal colleagues. According to a report in the Toledo Blade, Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray told a gathering of area transportation planners that eroding motor fuel taxes and legislative gridlock are driving a push for alternative revenue sources. Calling transportation facilities the “lifeblood of our economy,” he noted that they are “in crisis” because of inadequate funding.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was even more blunt when announcing his “Build a New Chicago” initiative. “I’m announcing this when we have everything secure on the very day Washington is doing a 90-day extension,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I can’t let the city be held hostage to that dysfunction.”
Finally — and I admit a complete lack of objectivity — one of my favorite comments came from my 17-year-old son, Ryan, who sat with me in the gallery, observing the House of Representatives in action the week before the extension was passed. Watching the overall chaos on the floor and observing the clearly partisan lines of communication, he turned to me and said, “If I acted like that in class, I’d be suspended.” Out of the mouths of babes. Perhaps expulsion would be even more appropriate?
I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts. Shoot an email to email@example.com and tell me your thoughts on what’s happening in Washington. I’d be happy to share them.
3 things I learned from this issue:
1. Operators can short-cut production costs by scalping modified material from the crusher, page 23.
2. In addition to leasing reserves, an operator can lease plant equipment or infrastructure, page 28.
3. Keeping a crusher level prolongs its life, page 34.