Highway funding, economy take center stage at convention

By |  March 16, 2015

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) delivered a keynote address at the opening general session of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association‘s (NSSGA) Annual Convention on Monday in Baltimore. Shuster expressed confidence in the federal government’s ability to pass a multi-year surface transportation bill before the May 31 expiration of the MAP-21 reauthorization.

“We continue to work for a long-term bill, and I’m confident we’re going to get a long-term bill because you have both sides of the aisle and [the White House] talking about the need for it,” he said. “There’s a desire to get there. How we get there is a matter of moving dollars.”

Shuster added that a bill must be a fiscally responsible one that does not add to the U.S. deficit.

“As I’ve traveled the country and talked to leaders within state government, it’s clear people want a long-term bill,” he said.

James Glassman, a columnist, diplomat and author, also delivered remarks at the convention’s opening general session. Glassman discussed U.S. economic and employment trends, exploring why the economy hasn’t recovered following the last recession as it had following past recessions.

“Typically, there’s a rubber band effect,” Glassman said. “The economy snaps back quicker in [a bad recession] than if it’s a mild recession. That didn’t happen this time.”

In fact, Glassman said the current recovery is the slowest one of the 10 recessions since World War II.

“In the average recession since World War II, we’ve gotten back to the same levels of employment in a little less than two years,” Glassman said. “We didn’t get back to same level of employment [this time] for 6 1/2 years.”

Joe Main, the assistant secretary of labor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), also spoke at the convention’s opening general session, reviewing the past year’s fatalities and discussing other recent MSHA activities.

“We are continuing our outreach, including our walk and talks,” Main said. “You’re going to see a lot more of that as we work to create a safer place in mining.”

In addition to the keynote addresses, NSSGA named several award winners at its opening general session. CalPortland’s Matt Hinck was named Environmental Professional of the Year. Springfield Underground’s Louis Griesemer received the James M. Christie Safety and Health Professional of the Year award.

Also, Rogers Group’s Cross Plains Quarry in Cross Plains, Tenn., received the Community Relations Platinum Award. Luck Stone’s Leesburg Plant in Ashburn, Va., was named the Environmental Platinum Winner.

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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