Regulation News

US aggregate industry responds to Trump victory

Multiple media sources have reported that the US president-elect has promised an infrastructure improvement plan that some claim could involve spending as high as $USD1 trillion ($AUD1.4 trillion).

It is claimed the 10-year spending package would mostly rely on private financing through tax credits to investors and lowering the cost of borrowing to participating states.

Roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railways, ports, waterways and pipelines are said to be in line for upgrades under the proposed bill.

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), a leading voice and advocate for the US aggregates industry, released a statement in the wake of the election that the Republicans may advance the new legislation next year.

According to the statement, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters the bill could be a priority for Congress next year.

“I think the infrastructure of America is lagging far behind. I think this is one that can be a priority. I also believe it can be a bipartisan issue,” he was quoted as saying.

The NSSGA released a separate statement claiming the newly appointed leadership of the US senate would be favourable to the aggregates industry.

Director of government affairs for NSSGA Ashley Amidon said the NSSGA was “well-positioned” with the appointment of new chairman John Barasso and Tom Carper as top Democrat to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee.

The committee has jurisdiction over infrastructure spending and environmental regulations and would play an integral role in discussions on the proposed infrastructure investment package.

The senators’ views are said to be favourable to aggregates producers and Amidon said they would have a “significant impact” on the committee’s policies.

“That wall”
Although the US aggregates industry has welcomed Trump’s election with an open mind, its opinion would appear to be sceptical about Trump’s much-vaunted election promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Although Trump claimed the cost of the wall would be $USD12 billion ($AUD16.3 billion), a Washington Post study has estimated the cost of the wall would be closer to $USD25 billion ($AUD33.9 billion).

Trump asserted that Mexico would have to pay for the wall but Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has publically stated the country refuses to foot the bill.

According to Business Insider, the construction of the wall along the 2000 mile (or 3200km) border would require 339 million ft3 (9.6 million m3) of concrete.

Were it to proceed, it would provide huge demand for aggregates. However, the publication approached architects who said the physical challenges would make its construction nearly impossible.

US-based aggregates publication Rock Products said the “bottom line” was “$1 trillion in infrastructure investment and 339 million ft3 of concrete translates into a lot of aggregate”.

“Could either or both of these proposals actually come to fruition?” it asked.

“Some experts and analysts believe it is wishful thinking. But even at lower levels of investment, the aggregates industry could be in for a golden era over the next decade.”

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