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Aggregate top guns believe in recovery

Three credible sources offer a welcome follow up on the encouraging 2013 construction and concrete business outlook noted here last month. In investor guidance, the top U.S. aggregate producers—each with varying levels of integrated concrete, cement, asphalt and road building businesses—report slight 2012 sales or earnings improvement over the prior year, plus 2013 market confidence underpinned by MAP-21 highway bill funding, plus gains in residential and nonresidential building.

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Homes at the heart of confirmed recovery

This year holds strong indicators for a market segment critical to concrete volume, one where most producers have seen a five-year demand curve 50 percent or more off 2007 figures.

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RCC: Asphalt Pavement’s Good Cousin

We close this year Illinois centric: a December cover story on Prairie Material Sales’ roller compacted concrete pavement program follows a November cover feature on Ozinga Brothers Inc. and its fleet-wide conversion from diesel to compressed natural gas fuel. Synonymous with Chicago concrete, both producers warrant the attention.

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Rallying for resiliency

Understandably upstaged by federal tax policy wrangling are common sense U.S. House and Senate measures compelling states and builders to promote sound, performance-based residential and commercial construction practices. One bill introduced before Hurricane Sandy, and a second one after, have an underlying message to public and private property owners: If a future weather event sends you to Washington, D.C., with hat in hand for relief, demonstrate for all federal taxpayers a commitment to homes or buildings equipped for high wind and water delivered in vertical or horizontal bursts.

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A candidate who feels industry’s EPA pains

Should he prevail next month, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney can be held to his five-point Plan for a Stronger Middle Class. One bullet under the Energy Independence point would test a Romney administration’s willingness to help construction interests by reigning in the Environmental Protection Agency: “Eliminate regulations destroying the coal industry.”

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