August 2, 2017
AggMan understands that the aggregates business is comprised of local businesses throughout the nation. As such, we are focused on providing insights into local markets, as well as national markets, in print and online.
We contacted Todd Ohlheiser, executive director of the Colorado Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (CSSGA) and the Colorado Ready Mixed Concrete Association (CRMCA). He oversees both associations in an effort to positively impact legislative, regulatory, and safety related issues within the aggregate mining and concrete sectors through educational outreach, lobbying efforts, and quality improvement programs. He was kind enough to give us his take on what’s going on with the aggregates industry in the state of Colorado.
1) How would you characterize the state of the aggregates market in Colorado?
Ohlheiser: The construction aggregate market is robust in the Denver Metro market, as well as the Northern part of the state. However, this has not carried over to the Southern and Western portions of Colorado. The majority of the activity remains in the Denver market area.
2) How is Colorado addressing transportation funding?
Ohlheiser: Not good enough. CSSGA joined forces with like-minded associations like the Colorado Contractors Association, Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association, the American Concrete Pavement Association, and the Colorado Ready Mixed Concrete Association to form a 527. The objective is to move forward with a funding initiative. Because of a law called the TABOR Act, Colorado legislature is unable to pass any increases without going to the people for a vote. We have ballot initiatives filed with the state and continue to educate voters on options, and may move forward with a 2018 ballot initiative.
3) What are the big opportunities for producers in Colorado (DOT projects, commercial construction, etc.)?
Ohlheiser: CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) is very limited due to funding constraints. The majority of the opportunities remain in the commercial and residential sectors.
4) What are the big obstacles for producers in Colorado (legislation, neighborhood groups, etc.)?
Ohlheiser: Colorado has a high percentage of people moving into the state. Once they are here, they want to slam the door on anyone else coming in. Therefore, neighborhood groups and the NIMBY attitude is probably the biggest issue. Of course, regulatory concerns are a very close second, as the list of regulations continues to expand. Lastly, labor shortages are a problem. I read today that Colorado had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Not good for companies trying to expand.
5) What would you like your peers to know about aggregates production in Colorado?
Ohlheiser: Although we live in the Rocky Mountains, the actual “rocks” available to mine are limited. Permitting is very difficult. Lastly, Colorado is a great place to live. If we can help fix our infrastructure issues and keep regulators at bay, it will remain a great place to live.