Driving home highway funding, deregulation

By |  December 12, 2018
 NSSGA will next host the Legislative & Policy Forum in November 2019. Photo courtesy of NSSGA.

NSSGA will next host the Legislative & Policy Forum in November 2019. Photo courtesy of NSSGA.

Aggregate companies shared a common theme this year: building toward a better future for our economy, our communities and our infrastructure.

An incredible number of aggregate operations brought their members of Congress into their quarries in August. Educating lawmakers on aggregate production and the many good-paying jobs in our industry helps them understand the local and broad impacts of investing in infrastructure nationwide.

Year in review

At the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), we are proud to have capped this effort with a successful Legislative & Policy Forum in September, where hundreds of people from our industry advocated for infrastructure funding in face-to-face meetings with Congress.

Our industry also took steps to reduce delays for critical infrastructure projects by pushing for reforms to regulation this year.

NSSGA worked to successfully keep the harmful 2015 Waters of the United States rule from going back into effect in much of the U.S. The association advocated in all three branches of government, driving litigation opposing the 2015 rule, providing comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of a rewritten rule, and helping to secure a rider to kill the 2015 rule in other legislation.

Operators from around the country worked to advocate for the industry by educating lawmakers about the burdens placed on them from excessive regulations. Gernatt Sand & Gravel in New York came to Washington, D.C., to talk to the House Small Business Committee about the effects permitting delays have on an aggregate operation. This kind of advocacy is incredibly effective at educating members of Congress about the issues facing our country, and NSSGA will continue to make these opportunities available throughout 2019.

Aggregate companies also worked to urge lawmakers to ensure EPA bases regulations and guidance on transparent science. NSSGA continues to push regulators to release data, models and studies so academics and interested parties are provided the opportunity to validate the findings – so that regulations are based on sound science.

NSSGA supported the biennial reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act, the most sweeping infrastructure package to be considered in the 115th Congress. The association also pushed for the five-year Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, which provides $43.35 billion in airport improvement funding. The bill, which passed the president’s desk in October, funds improvements for runways, taxiways, aprons and roads.

These important funding bills will help ensure certainty for aggregate producers who supply the building materials that go into these critical projects and rely on water infrastructure to move goods.

NSSGA continued to advocate for the passage of a multi-year federal highway funding reauthorization bill to restore and upgrade America’s crumbling highways, roads, bridges, ports, airport runways and other critical infrastructure.

What’s ahead

No matter the results of the mid-term election, NSSGA and the aggregate industry is prepared to capitalize on this year’s momentum and push for a significant and sustainable investment in our nation’s infrastructure.

Democratic leadership has said infrastructure funding would be a priority should it take control of the House of Representatives. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will have a new chairman no matter the results of the election, and that person is likely to push for a fix to the Highway Trust Fund.

In either scenario, NSSGA and aggregate operations will continue to urge Capitol Hill to grow our economy and create jobs by supporting infrastructure projects.

Headshot: Mike Johnson

Headshot: Mike Johnson

Michael W. Johnson is president and CEO of NSSGA.

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