Operating Engineers, Teamsters, Michigan Chamber of Commerce and more support bi-partisan legislation to ensure expanded local access to the raw materials needed for infrastructure repair so we can Build It Michigan Strong
LANSING — As Michigan's leaders return to Lansing to discuss billions in new spending for our roads, the Build It Michigan Strong coalition today announced it is supporting bi-partisan legislative reforms which will help ensure Michigan is ready for a more affordable infrastructure rebuild.
The legislation, expected to be introduced soon by Democratic State Senator Adam Hollier and Republican State Representative Triston Cole, will expand access to aggregate mining across Michigan to help ensure tax dollars meant for road and infrastructure repair are spent on paving more miles of road instead of being lost to higher prices.
Legal reforms are necessary because Michigan's infrastructure builders face roadblocks from local activists waging costly "not in my backyard" (NIMBY) fights at the expense of our entire state's economy, despite current and projected shortfalls of sand and gravel and rising costs to transport materials into areas like S.E. Michigan.
The Build It Michigan Strong Coalition: Union, Construction and Business Leaders Unite
In today's polarized political environment, proposals often pit major interests against each other. But the Build It Michigan Strong reform plan to modernize the PA 113 mining permitting process is not only bi-partisan, it is also supported by a diverse group of unions, construction industry associations and business leaders working together to rebuild our state and grow our economy— without wasting taxpayer dollars.
Coalition members include:
- Operating Engineers 324
- Michigan Teamsters Joint Council 43
- Michigan Chamber of Commerce
- Michigan Aggregates Association
- Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association
- Michigan Concrete Association
- Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan
OPERATING ENGINEERS 324
“Aggregate mining is one of the most vital industries our state has to offer. It provides significant income to the communities it serves, creates the materials we need to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure of our state and allows us to do it cheaper and more efficiently, saving taxpayer dollars and stretching the work we can accomplish further," said Douglas W. Stockwell, Business Manager and International Vice President, Operating Engineers 324. "Most importantly to us, it keeps thousands of Michiganders employed – producing the materials and using them to do the repairs and maintenance that keep us safe on the roads and bridges of this state. The more we can look inside our own state for materials, the more we can accomplish – for workers, for taxpayers, and for families.”
MICHIGAN TEAMSTERS JOINT COUNCIL 43
"It is time to rebuild Michigan's infrastructure and that is why the Teamsters support the Build It Michigan Strong coalition legislation," said Bill Black, Michigan Teamsters Joint Council 43. "By modernizing state law we can rebuild our roads and bridges with the natural resources we have right here in Michigan and at the same time increase the amount of jobs and income available to our workers. It is a win for the entire state and that is why we fully support this legislation."
MICHIGAN AGGREGATES ASSOCIATION
"Michigan taxpayers will soon invest billions more in tax dollars to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure," said Naomi Carr of Carr Brothers & Sons, located in Albion. "We can rebuild our roads and infrastructure with materials from right here in Michigan but we need the ability to affordably access the abundant natural resources our state is blessed with. The Build It Michigan Strong plan will allow us to do that so we are ready to fix our roads and do it cost effectively."
MICHIGAN IS RUNNING SHORT ON SAND AND GRAVEL
Polling consistently shows Michigan voters are frustrated with the roads and want our infrastructure fixed. And, they correctly demand government avoid unnecessary tax increases when paying for it.
This means every effort must be made to keep road and infrastructure construction costs from skyrocketing.
But, with many construction projects driven by our strong economy, Michigan aggregate suppliers face high demand from those building our roads, bridges and infrastructure, putting a strain on supply and pressuring prices. In fact, a recent MDOT study confirmed that Michigan faces dwindling sand and gravel reserves in some regions.
But too often we are being stopped from accessing the building blocks of most construction, sand and gravel, by those making "not in my back yard" (NIMBY) arguments against facilities being placed in their areas, leaving our economy stuck in court rooms across the state.
TRANSIT COSTS WASTE TAX DOLLARS AND PAVE FEWER MILES
Tax dollars are wasted today because the cost of transporting aggregates from distant mines to job sites costs as much or more as the aggregates themselves (on a per ton basis), eating up road budgets as sand and gravel is hauled from region to region.
For example, nine million tons of the 30 million tons of aggregates annually needed in S.E. Michigan are imported from other regions because there is not enough access there. If mining operations were permitted more often and closer to major construction zones, costs could be reduced and more miles could be paved.
NEW ROAD SPENDING WILL CREATE HIGHER DEMAND, CAUSE HIGHER PRICES
Sand and gravel make up about half of the cost of concrete and asphalt used in road construction. Additional demand resulting from new road funding will come on top of an already strained supply chain and drive up prices. Instead of just accepting higher prices and fewer miles paved, these reforms will allow us to Build It Michigan Strong and do so more affordably.
REBUILDING MICHIGAN'S INFRASTRUCTURE IS A STATEWIDE ISSUE
This plan is not about one street corner in one town, it is about our entire state's ability to compete with other states economically and provide the kind of jobs and income families need. The economic success of Michigan families should not be held hostage for years in NIMBY-driven court fights that fail to take into account the needs of our entire state.
BI-PARTISAN LEGISLATION WILL MODERNIZE PA 113 AND SAVE TAXPAYERS MONEY WHILE PAVING MORE MILES
The Build It Michigan Strong coalition supports modernizing Michigan law to allow for reasonable mining of locally-available natural resources, ensuring we can rebuild Michigan's infrastructure without wasting tax dollars while also protecting the environment and respecting legitimate interests of local communities.
- Maintaining the requirement of aggregate producers to adhere to all state and federal environmental laws and regulations, including working with the new Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and all other environmental authorities.
- Clarifying the obligations of local units of government to process and approve mining applications and stop the endless delay tactics fought by NIMBY activists.
- Establishing specific, measurable performance criteria based upon commonly accepted mining standards in place today.
- Setting time requirements for processing applications.
WHAT IS NEXT?
The bills are expected to be referred to committees in the House and Senate, where they will come up for hearings in the coming months.
WHAT CAN SUPPORTERS DO IN THE MEANTIME?
Call or email your state leaders and tell them you support the Build It Michigan Strong plan:
TELL THEM TO BUILD IT MICHIGAN STRONG!
"I support the Build It Michigan Strong legislative package to modernize PA 113. This is necessary for our economy because we must rebuild our roads and infrastructure while ensuring every single tax dollar is stretched as far as possible by reducing costs. Southeast Michigan already imports 9 million tons of aggregates per year and we will face more pressures when new road funding is implemented. We should modernize our permit process to intelligently use our abundant natural resources to avoid increasing transit costs, shortages in supply and wasteful, endless court cases that only put our economic future at risk. This is not a local issue, it is a statewide need and that is why I ask that you support these reforms. My tax dollars should go to paving more miles of new road, not waste. Thank you."