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How Kentucky’s aggregate producers are faring these days

By |  December 7, 2020
Headshot: Nick Rodgers, executive director, Kentucky Crushed Stone Association

Rodgers

Nick Rodgers, executive director of the Kentucky Crushed Stone Association, discusses the state of the aggregate industry in the Bluegrass State – and more – with P&Q.

Describe the current state of the industry within Kentucky in a few words.

We are slowly improving as the economy gets going again.

Describe your outlook for 2021.

Somewhat optimistic

What factors are driving your 2021 outlook?

The pandemic is under control with a vaccine, we have some stability with federal transportation funding, and the Kentucky General Assembly passes legislation for an increase in infrastructure funding.

What are the greatest opportunities available to aggregate producers in Kentucky?

The primary crushing plant at Haydon Materials' Airport Road Quarry in Bardstown, Kentucky. Photo by Kevin Yanik

The primary crushing plant at Haydon Materials’ Airport Road Quarry in Bardstown, Kentucky. Photo: P&Q Staff

With federal funding stability and an increase in our state’s user fee, Kentucky’s aggregate producers stand ready to repair, maintain and expand our infrastructure. This is the best opportunity for all aggregate producers.

Additionally, our legislature continues to lower tax rates, which creates good opportunities for businesses to enter Kentucky or for existing businesses to expand. This is good for economic development purposes all over our state, including rural areas – which is the majority of Kentucky. As these businesses expand, the housing market sees an uptick, as well as retail commerce. This also creates potential for schools to expand or rebuild, which are all good things for the aggregate industry.

The bourbon industry also continues to expand, and we are now seeing some agribusinesses pop up, too. We are a part of all these construction opportunities, or, as we like to say, Rocks Build Kentucky. The economy will get better, we just need to stay positive.

What are the greatest challenges Kentucky producers face?

COVID-19 continues to be an issue, causing the economy to remain stagnant or slow; and [if] the legislature does not pass a user fee increase.

How is Kentucky situated in terms of infrastructure funding for 2021 and beyond?

Extremely well

Can you characterize the state of infrastructure funding in Kentucky?

The federal funding extension of one year helps, but a multiyear extension is much more stable for state Departments of Transportation. Congress will have to address this again next fall.

State funding continues to be an issue, as we don’t have the financial needs/revenue to keep up with maintenance, much-needed safety improvements and expansions. The Kentucky state legislature convenes again on Jan. 5, 2021, for a 30-day legislative session. It will have the opportunity to increase infrastructure revenue funding sources.

Do you expect a multi-year federal infrastructure bill to be passed in 2021?

Yes

Are there any other insights you’d like to share?

2020 has certainly been a challenging year for our industry and the association. We appreciate the support of all our members, as we have gone through these tough times together. We remain optimistic that 2021 will be much better.


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