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Infrastructure bill’s implementation remains top priority

By |  October 31, 2022
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) addressed those who attended NSSGA’s Hill Day tied in with the organization’s Legislative & Policy Forum that took place in the nation’s capital. Photo: P&Q Staff

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) addressed those who attended NSSGA’s Hill Day tied in with the organization’s Legislative & Policy Forum that took place in the nation’s capital. Photo: P&Q Staff

More than 300 aggregate industry stakeholders attended the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) Legislative & Policy Forum (LPF) this fall in Washington, where a variety of issues were addressed with lawmakers.

NSSGA says more than 230 of those attending the LPF ventured to Capitol Hill, where more than 200 meetings were had with members of Congress. The association earmarked several issues for discussion during congressional meetings this year, including effectively implementing infrastructure investments, removing regulatory barriers impacting business, and supporting legislation that promotes the industry.

NSSGA also urged LPF attendees to encourage their congressional members not to pick materials winners and losers.

“We need to make sure we stay unified as an association – all of us – our large, medium and small producers,” says Karen Hubacz, president and CEO of Massachusetts-based Bond Construction Corp., who currently serves NSSGA as board chair. “While we all have businesses to run, we must also continue to seek common ground on issues important to our industry.”

Implementing investments

Signed into law last November, the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) is a $1.2 trillion measure designed to provide roughly $350 billion for federal highway programs between 2022 and 2026.

An NSSGA goal now is to ensure the implementation of IIJA as Congress drew it up. As an example, the association encouraged LPF attendees to ask their congresspeople to provide flexibility to state and local partners deploying infrastructure and reject partisan mandates and bureaucratic delays that slow construction projects.

NSSGA is also focused on rail reform that puts the shippers of aggregates and industrial sand on a level playing field with others. Additionally, NSSGA continues to lobby against a suspension of the federal gas tax, arguing that the tactic will do little to help consumers who continue to navigate high gas prices.

Removing red tape

Ahead of Hill Day, NSSGA’s Michele Stanley (left) and former Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) outlined what Legislative & Policy Forum attendees could expect from meetings with congresspeople. Photo: P&Q Staff

Ahead of Hill Day, NSSGA’s Michele Stanley (left) and former Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) outlined what Legislative & Policy Forum attendees could expect from meetings with congresspeople. Photo: P&Q Staff

Aside from asking Congress to implement IIJA during Hill Day, NSSGA called on Congress and the Biden administration to reject the latest Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rulemaking until the Supreme Court rules in October’s Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case.

NSSGA says the Supreme Court was expected to change how the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers define WOTUS. If the agencies proceed with the rulemaking as is, the association says materials producers will be forced to comply with multiple complex changes to WOTUS in a matter of months.

Promoting the industry

As part of Hill Day, NSSGA also called on Congress to pass the Mining Schools Act. The bipartisan legislation will support mining schools and engineering programs across the U.S., NSSGA says, driving innovative research and helping to grow a new generation of professionals. 

According to NSSGA, the aggregate industry employs more than half of the engineers and professionals who graduate from these programs each year.

Picking winners and losers

Hill Day attendees also asked Congress to reject attempts to promote specific building materials, including mass timber.

In one case, congresspeople were asked to oppose material preference language that was included in the House National Defense Authorization Act. According to NSSGA, the Scott/Golden amendment creates a mass timber-only demonstration program that is duplicative of a sustainable building materials program previously established.

Featured photo: P&Q Staff

Kevin Yanik

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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