Infrastructure ROI

Therese Dunphy

July 15, 2013

A chart shows U.S. counties that produce aggregate. (Photo: USGS 2012 via SME)
A chart shows which U.S. counties produce different kinds of aggregate. (Photo: USGS 2012 via SME)

A new technical briefing paper from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) underscores both the need to invest in the nation’s infrastructure and the valuable contribution of the aggregates industry to the nation’s economic well being.

“Infrastructure improvements will require easy access to large quantities of quality aggregates,” said SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy in a press release announcing the technical paper. “Crushed stone, sand and gravel provide the basic building blocks for the economy and are essential to the safety, security, and high quality of life for all Americans.”

Not only do aggregates comprise most roads, bridges, homes, businesses and schools throughout the country, they also serve as an economic engine for further growth, SME says.

  • Every $1 million in aggregate sales creates 19.5 jobs.

  • Every dollar of aggregate industry output returns $1.58 to the economy.

  • For every $1 billion spent on highway construction, between 28,000 and 34,000 jobs are generated each year.

  • Every dollar invested in the highway system yields $5.20 in economic benefits to the nation.

SME’s comments follow the release of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. While those results look slightly better than the ones published in the 2009 Report Card, the overall grade remains a D+.

Between the obvious need for infrastructure improvements and the economic contributions to be gained through higher levels of aggregate production, it’s clear that higher levels of spending would yield a great return on investment.

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