NSSGA’s Legislative & Policy Forum is next week, and hundreds of people from aggregates operations all over the country will meet with their members of Congress. Need more info about what to say during Hill Day? Explore these talking points so you will be prepared for your visits:
Rocks Build America’s Future
NSSGA represents the producers of stone, sand and gravel and the companies that manufacture equipment and provide services for the industry. Aggregates are the building blocks of our infrastructure, used in nearly all residential, commercial and industrial construction, as well as everyday items from cosmetics to chewing gum.
Invest in Infrastructure
Congress must provide robust and sustainable federal funding for our nation’s infrastructure. According to the World Economic Forum, the United States is no longer first in any mode of transportation. While our government fails to maintain and upgrade our highways and bridges, other nations are using infrastructure to expand their economies.
Fixing the Highway Trust Fund and working with the administration to achieve common infrastructure funding goals puts Americans to work in good-paying jobs, leads to economic development and makes our roads and bridges safer. After all, electric cars don’t purchase gas that pays for roads they use.
- Increase and index the fuel user fee
- Implement a vehicle miles traveled user fee (actual or virtual)
- Apply a highway transportation services tax
Reduce Construction Delays
Infrastructure funding is stymied when it takes 10 years to obtain permits for building roads Americans use every day, or to open an aggregates operation. Overly-burdensome regulations and an unclear and lengthy permit process can hold up projects indefinitely. Congress must support streamlining the permitting process from 10 to two years with one lead agency to improve deadlines and clarity.
- Update the Clean Water Act to ensure federally regulated waters (Waters of the U.S.) are clearly defined.
- Modernize the Endangered Species Act to focus on species recovery, encourage voluntary efforts, and balance the interests of landowners and local governments
- Ensure EPA and other agencies base regulations on data that passes rigorous scientific and legal review
Many producers of stone, sand and gravel are small, family-owned and operated facilities. These operations had benefitted from proactive regulatory compliance assistance from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is safer to work in a quarry than a retail store.
- Focus funding on compliance assistance for operations that need it most.
Support the Construction Materials Industry
Each job in a quarry or sand and gravel operation supports nearly five jobs in other industries. NSSGA currently represents 4,473 known aggregate producing locations in the United States & Canada.