September 13, 2017
AggMan understands that the aggregates business is comprised of local businesses throughout the nation. As such, we are focused on providing insights into these local markets, as well as national markets, in print and online.
We contacted Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Limestone Producers Association (ILPA), who was kind enough to give us his take on what’s happening with the aggregates industry in the state of Iowa.
1) How would you characterize the state of the aggregates market in Iowa?
Olson: The aggregates market is stable in Iowa. Expectations were high for 2017, but reality isn’t quite as strong as expected. Growth in the rest of Iowa’s economy is holding off the negative impact of a slow down in our agriculture economy, which is notable considering the overall impact of agriculture on Iowa’s economy. We’re seeing the benefit of the long-term plan for Iowa to diversify its economic activity, whether in value added ag projects or otherwise. Iowa tends to be a slow growth state, and activity across the state right now seems to be slow and steady.
2) How is Iowa addressing transportation funding?
Olson: Iowa passed a 10 cent gas tax increase taking effect in 2015, and the impacts have been positive for transportation construction funding. In the second full year of increased revenues, the legislation has put more dollars into state projects, as well as projects at the city and county level. This increase, especially for cities and counties, has really made a difference across all of rural Iowa.
3) What are the big opportunities for producers in Iowa (DOT projects, commercial construction, etc.)?
Olson: While some larger scale DOT projects will have a localized impact, the increase in Iowa’s fuel tax will likely continue to spur transportation construction spending at the city and county level. Many projects that have been delayed and deferred are now able to be planned and executed due to the increase in funding across the entire state.
4) What are the big obstacles for producers in Iowa (legislation, neighborhood groups, etc.)?
Olson: The biggest obstacles for aggregate producers in Iowa remain long-term, stable federal funding for construction and changes, and uncertainty in environmental and governmental regulation, such as WOTUS.
5) What would you like your peers to know about aggregates production in Iowa?
Olson: Iowa’s aggregate producers are committed to producing the best products at a fair value to help grow our state and country. We’ve got a great group of producers across the state who do things the right way with a real sense of pride for their companies and our industry.