Cement Americas

Fal 2017

Cement Americas provides comprehensive coverage of the North and South American cement markets from raw material extraction to delivery and tranportation to end user.

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10 CEMENT AMERICAS • Fall 2017 • www.cementamericas.com Portland Cement Association Presi- dent and CEO James Toscas penned an editorial for The Hill asking Con- gress to get moving on infrastruc- ture investment. He wrote: "As Congress and the Trump admin- istration consider an infrastructure package of up to $1 trillion, U.S. cement and concrete manufactur- ers that stand to play a critical role in revitalizing the nation's infra- structure are converging on the capital with a clear message: Don't delay. It is no secret that America needs to upgrade its infrastructure. For many years, civil engineers have given the U.S. infrastructure abys- mal grades. These grades are not an abstraction. Americans have lost tires and wheels to potholes, have put up with mounting flight delays, have been evacuated from their homes due to floods and dam failures, and they have had their health threat- ened by outdated water networks. Our systems cannot handle the demands of today's America, let alone those of tomorrow. What will be the impact of increasing population concentrated in cities? Of the shift to online shopping and delivery? Of autonomous vehicles? All trends point to the need for bet- ter and more efficient infrastructure than what we have, while what we have has been getting worse and less efficient. Poor infrastructure is a drag on the American economy and on society in general. Conversely, modern, effi- cient infrastructure can help boost the economy and make life better for all. The message is clear – America's lawmakers must act now. Not next year, not in another Congress. The most critical step in revitalizing America's infrastructure is to pro- vide sustainable long-term funding mechanisms. This is fundamentally necessary not only to repair and upgrade the traditional infrastructure systems we have today, but also to build the next generation of systems that will serve us far into the future. Funding for highway and bridge construction is particularly crucial. Lawmakers currently pay for this through the 'Highway Trust Fund.' As with many federal programs, the intent was good, but the execution has been flawed. Specifically, the money going into the Highway Trust Fund has not been sufficient to maintain our cur- rent 20th-century system of high- ways and bridges, let alone build a 21st-century system. This week a number of cement and concrete-related organizations, including the Portland Cement Association, will press Congress to take action. The U.S. cement and concrete industry employs 535,000 people and contributes $100 billion annually to the economy. Our industry will make several key points to Congress: • A strategic asset must be funded strategically. America's infrastruc- ture is a mainstay of our economy, supports our national security, and directly affects our quality of life. A sustainable system for generating and managing sufficient funds to maintain and expand the nation's infrastructure, year after year, is absolutely essential. • When you build it, build it right. Investments in U.S. infrastructure should reflect the capabilities of a first-world country, built to last for a century, delivering maximum value to the citizens that pay for it. Designs should be evaluated on true costs and impacts over their entire life cycle, not simply lowest up-front price – we're not buying lettuce, we're equipping our nation. Design innovation and healthy competition among alter- native paving systems should also be encouraged. A study conduct- ed by MIT shows that when there is competition among different types of pavement, for example, prices for both products go down – saving government and taxpay- ers money. • If you fund it, we can supply it. Our economic analysis shows that the industry can readily scale up to meet any currently proposed revitalization plan, including a Toscas Tells Congress to Boost Infrastructure Spending James Toscas

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