Michael W Johnson, chief executive of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, explains his support for the Drive Act to Construction Equipment Guide website.
In an interview the website he said: “For every dollar in infrastructure spending, you generate additional spending – I believe the multiplier is three or four. When you are constructing roads and other transportation arteries, you are growing the GDP and creating jobs.”
“The Drive Act was reported out of committee unanimously, which to my mind makes it politically viable,” he said but he does not believe the bill’s level of funding is sufficient to meet the needs of our country,” Johnson said
“We have neglected infrastructure for way too long and we have an aging system that is well past its life cycle. Our roads no longer are the envy of the world. Some 60,000 of our bridges are structurally deficient. So is it enough? No, it isn’t. We need to do much more as we build the economy and continue to create jobs. What we are looking at in this bill is meeting the most critical needs over the next six years.
“Our special interest is getting a long-term bill that is stably funded so we can get back to building infrastructure that meets the needs of the country. A majority of members of Congress believe in state rights and local flexibility. I think that is OK, but let me be absolutely clear: What the association is most interested in is a long-term bill that is stably funded. How that happens is up to Congress.” Johnson said
“Any time you have limited resources, you have to consider priorities. We are at a point in time when priorities may be necessary. We as an industry are ready to provide all the rock that the country needs for whatever priority projects it has, but none of that will happen without a long-term bill. We are focusing on that – a long-term, stably funded bill.
“The association’s position is very clear. The Highway Trust Fund is the most efficient means of setting aside transportation funding – and having dedicated funds is the best way to go. The best means of collecting revenue for the fund is a user fee on fuel. It is a fair way to fund transportation. There is a belief that in this political climate the gas tax is not liable to be increased, so we have to look at this in longer terms. The role of the federal government is to support growth of commerce between the states as well as internationally. We have got to get to a more reliable way of doing that with our infrastructure.
“I am very optimistic about multi-year funding. Congress is listening. Constituents from all walks of life are saying we have got to do better. We have to build safer, better roads to enjoy our lifestyle and build our economy throughout the union. In some rankings, we have fallen to 28th in the world in quality of infrastructure. That’s untenable,” Johnson said.