Is a major infrastructure deal in the cards?

By |  April 1, 2020
With five of the nation’s 13 most populous cities residing in Texas, demand for construction materials in the Lone Star State is, not surprisingly, very high. Photo: Art Wager/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

President Trump shared a strong desire March 31 to move toward much-needed legislation on U.S. infrastructure. Photo: Art Wager/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Aggregate producers and industry stakeholders have long awaited a meaningful, multi-year transportation bill to emerge from Washington.

The $1 trillion figure was bandied about during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, but no such federal infrastructure legislation has come to life since.

Now, with coronavirus relief funding on the way, the president has a new dollar figure in mind to jumpstart America’s crumbling infrastructure: $2 trillion.

“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” Trump tweeted March 31. “It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), for her part, is letting on that she’s interested in addressing infrastructure as part of the bigger relief package Congress is working toward. Pelosi shared her interest in pursuing infrastructure legislation during a March 30 conference call.

“Our first bills were about addressing the emergency,” Pelosi said, according to Politico. “The third bill was about mitigation. The fourth bill would be about recovery. Emergency, mitigation, recovery. I think our country is united in not only wanting to address our immediate needs – emergency, mitigation and the assault on our lives and livelihoods – but also, how we recover in a very positive way.”

Of course, Trump and Pelosi were seemingly close on infrastructure at least once before. Talks were had at the White House last spring between Trump, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York). Those talks unfortunately broke down, and that was really the last time infrastructure had a real shot in Washington.

Producer perspective

That is, until now.

headshot: Ross Duff, Duff Quarry


“The American infrastructure is not straight A’s,” says Ross Duff, vice president at Ohio-based Duff Quarry. “There’s a lot of room for improvement. If you have a government that wants to invest in its economy and keep America great, they’re going to need to spend money. A lot of that is roads, bridges and projects that involve a lot of aggregate.”

Duff looks at history as a measuring stick for what a major stimulus can do for the U.S. economy.

“When you go back to the [Great] Depression you had the New Deal,” Duff says. “It was a way of boosting the economy with a lot of public works and infrastructure.”

If the coronavirus pandemic persists for long, Duff is convinced the construction and aggregate industries will be as essential and as life-sustaining as ever.

“If people get sick, you’re going to need to do roads and bridges,” he says. “Look at your supply chain if you’d didn’t have aggregate, concrete or the raw materials for the infrastructure.”

Keaton Turner, president of Turner Mining Group, agrees.

Photo: Rob Van Til

Van Til

“One of the things we can’t afford to shut down is infrastructure in this country, whether that’s repairing roads, bridges or hot-mix sales – those start jumping through the roof to repair potholes from the winter season,” Turner says.

In the Houston area, River Aggregates’ Rob Van Til continues to see an opportunity to pursue infrastructure development, but for different reasons.

“If you look at a timeline, for our market, we were devastated in the fall of 2017 by (Hurricane) Harvey,” says Van Til, managing partner at River Aggregates. “We really just started to crawl our way back out of that in 2019. In 2018, we had to go from recovery to rebuild. In 2019, we kind of got back to the rebuild stage. That is a big monster that is still behind us.”

For additional P&Q coverage related to the coronavirus, visit our dedicated webpage.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

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

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