Highway Bill Easily Clears EPW Committee

On May 15, several days after its introduction, the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act(S. 2322) cleared the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee by voice vote.
The six-year, $262 billion highway funding blueprint now awaits approval by the full Senate. However, before the upper chamber can act, the Senate Finance Committee (jurisdiction over revenue), the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee (jurisdiction over transit), and the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee (jurisdiction over rail and road safety) must complete their respective portions of the legislation.
“AED is encouraged by the progress being made on the highway reauthorization bill, but there is considerable work Continue Reading

Overwhelming Demand for TIGER Grants Underscores Urgency for Transportation Investment

TIGER applications for fiscal year 2014 funding totaled $9.5 billion, 15 times more than available funding

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently announced  that applications to the U.S. Department of Transportation for its sixth round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants totaled $9.5 billion, 15 times the $600 million set aside for the program, demonstrating the continued need for transportation investment nationwide.  The Department received 797 eligible applications, compared to 585 in 2013, from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The announcement comes weeks after Secretary Foxx unveiled the GROW AMERICA Act, a four-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that Continue Reading

Altus Endorsed for Cost Reduction Program by AED

Associated Equipment Distributors Association announced today that it has endorsed the services of Altus, a national and international commercial credit management and debt collection firm, as part of its Cost Reduction Program offered to members. Under the endorsed program, AED members receive discounted rates on collection services and credit information.

“We are committed to being a valued resource for AED members,” said Tom Brenan, Altus president. “Because of our extensive experience in the industry, our specialized collectors have access to the latest information on all the players and can provide critical data on problem debtors across the market.”

Altus is part of the Continue Reading

WRRDA Bill Poised for Quick Completion

On May 15, congressional water infrastructure leaders filed the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) conference report in the House and Senate.
WRRDA is expected to be approved with significant bipartisan support by the House and Senate later this week, representing a significant victory for AED and infrastructure advocates. AED’s letter of support is available here.
The legislation authorizes Army Corps of Engineers programs, including waterway and watershed management projects such as construction of locks and dams. Provisions in the final bill will accelerate Corps project delivery by streamlining environmental reviews, setting hard deadlines, and consolidating (or eliminating) duplicative studies.
In order to leverage private capital, Continue Reading

Tax Extenders’ Bill Hits Snag, Future Uncertain

Last week, the Senate turned to deliberation of the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform & Efficiency Act (EXPIRE Act), but the the bill’s consideration was halted due to partisan bickering over amendments.
The legislation, known inside the beltway as “tax extenders,” continues dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, including important capital investment incentives such as bonus depreciation and increased Sec. 179 expensing levels.
Specifically, the bill includes a two-year extension of 50 percent bonus depreciation for qualified property purchased and placed in service before Jan. 1, 2016. It also makes a conforming change to the percentage of completion rules Continue Reading

U.S. Cement Consumption Growth Continues in 2014

Although recent economic indicators point to a tempering of the U.S. economy, PCA is maintaining its forecast for steady growth in construction and cement consumption during the next five years.

A recent PCA forecast indicates a 7.9 percent increase in cement consumption for 2014, almost double from the 4.5 increase in 2013.  The industry expects to see double-digit growth in 2015 and 2016 with 10 percent growth both years.

“There is considerable evidence that the economy’s growth path has softened during the past several months,” PCA Chief Economist and Group Vice President Edward Sullivan said.  “But we believe that the underlying economic fundamentals are stronger than the data suggest.”

Real GDP weakened Continue Reading

New Study Assesses the Benefits of Existing Coal-Powered Plants

The National Coal Council (NCC) released a new study last week,  in response to a request by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.  The study, entitled “Reliable & Resilient:  The Value of Our Existing Coal Fleet,” assesses the benefits of retaining and maintaining the existing fleet of U.S. coal power plants, including opportunities to enhance the fleet’s capacity, efficiency, flexibility and emissions profile.  The study was approved by the NCC membership at its 2014 spring meeting on Wednesday, May 14 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C.  

NCC Chair, John Eaves (President & CEO, Arch Coal, Inc.) noted that “In order to Continue Reading

Cummins Unveils Plan to Reduce Environmental Footprint

Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger outlined the company’s most extensive plan to date for environmental sustainability, including specific goals for reducing waste, water and energy.

A core part of the company’s mission is demanding that everything Cummins does leads to a cleaner, healthier and safer environment, which has also proven to be a business advantage.

Cummins has been working hard to reduce its environmental footprint for years. Late in the 1990′s Cummins began to view its technical expertise as a key competitive advantage to meet increasingly stringent regulations. This is playing out around the world as countries continue to implement stricter Continue Reading

Builder Confidence Remains in Holding Pattern

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in May fell one point to 45 from a downwardly revised April reading of 46 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released last week.

“After four months in which the HMI has shown little signs of fluctuation, it is clear that builder sentiment is becoming more in line with the market reality of a continuing but modest recovery,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “However, builders expressed some optimism that sales will pick up in the coming months.”

“Builders are Continue Reading

Multifamily Surge Propels Starts Over 1 Million

Soaring production of multifamily apartments pushed nationwide housing starts above the million-unit mark in April, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Total housing production rose 13.2 percent for the month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.07 million units, due entirely to a 39.6 percent increase on the multifamily side, while single-family production held steady.

“The flat single-family data confirm our latest surveys, which show that single-family builders remain concerned that tight credit availability and uncertain economic conditions are keeping potential buyers on the sidelines,” said Kevin Kelly, Continue Reading