ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 30, 2015 – The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) welcomed the Senate’s approval of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, the first six-year authorization of surface transportation funding to be produced in a decade. NSSGA hopes that Congress will use this surface transportation bill as a blueprint for a long-term investment in America’s aging infrastructure that can be adopted by both houses of Congress.
Today, the Senate also adopted a three-month extension of existing transportation funding until the House can act on a long-term bill. The House overwhelmingly passed this extension on July 29, avoiding a shutdown of the highway program.
“We were glad to see progress made towards a long-term investment in our country’s infrastructure. Sens. McConnell, Inhofe and Boxer demonstrated that a multi-year, well-funded and bipartisan bill is possible and we are grateful for their effort,” said Michael W. Johnson, NSSGA president and CEO. “While it is disappointing to see another short-term extension, we challenge the House to finish the job started by the Senate and create a long-term bill when they return from recess.”
Johnson said the aggregates industry appreciated a statement from House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., wherein he committed to producing a multi-year bill soon.
“We have fallen to 28th in the world in investment as a percentage of GDP and 16th in the quality of our roads and bridges. Congress must act to prevent our transportation network, once the envy of the world, from deteriorating further,” said Johnson. “Short-term extensions are not only bad fiscal policy, they are insufficient to rebuild our country’s roads, bridges and highways, which are essential to economic growth and prosperity.”
The August congressional recess provides everyone in the aggregates industry with an opportunity to educate their elected officials on the value and necessity of a long-term transportation bill. Johnson offered NSSGA’s Aggregates in Action website as a resource for people to connect with their members of Congress, and said NSSGA will continue to press lawmakers, particularly House members, to pass a long-term highway bill.
NSSGA is the leading advocate for the aggregates industry. Its members – stone, sand and gravel producers and the equipment manufacturers and service providers who support them – produce the essential raw materials found in homes, buildings, roads, bridges and public works projects and represent more than 90 percent of the crushed stone and 70 percent of the sand and gravel mined annually in the United States. Production of aggregates in the U.S. in 2013 totaled more than 2 billion metric tons at a value of $18.6 billion. The aggregates industry employs approximately 100,000 highly-skilled men and women.