“Heritage aggregates product line pricing increased 4.1% in the quarter over the prior-year period. Pricing growth was led by our Southeast Group, with an overall increase of 5.1% over the prior-year quarter, driven by improvement in all of its markets along with favorable product mix. The West Group reported a heritage aggregates product line price increase of 4.8%, with shipments to the energy sector being a significant driver of this improvement. The Mideast Group had a 3.5% increase in its heritage aggregates product line average selling price, led by growth in our North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia markets.
“Volume trends noted in June continued throughout the third quarter, resulting in a 3.8% decline in heritage aggregates product line shipments versus the comparable prior-year period. Shipments to the infrastructure end-use market, which comprised more than half of our heritage aggregates product line volumes, declined 6% compared with the prior-year quarter. Much of the volume decline is attributable to the fact that for nearly three years federal highway spending operated under a series of short-term, continuing resolutions. This extended circumstance made it difficult, and at times impossible, for state departments of transportation to obligate traditional long-term expenditures. This created a chilling effect on various states’ ability to advertise and award significant new highway construction activity.
“On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law MAP-21, which maintains highway expenditures at current levels, $40 billion per year, with modest increases to reflect projected inflation and reform provisions. The bill’s passage nine months into the Federal fiscal year ended September 30, 2012, meant that a disproportionately large percentage of federal highway funds were obligated during the last two months of the fiscal year. This delayed timing affected highway construction activity during the quarter and will likely result in many of these projects starting in 2013. However, certain states, namely Texas, Iowa and Florida, have initiated state-level programs that demonstrate the importance of infrastructure investment. In fact, the Texas department of transportation anticipates its spending during fiscal year 2013, which began September 1, to be more than double the amount spent in fiscal year 2012. Additionally, Texas and North Carolina were two of the first states to apply for funding assistance under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). Texas submitted requests for TIFIA projects with a cumulative investment of more than $6 billion, while North Carolina’s proposed projects total more than $1 billion. TIFIA provides $1.75 billion of federal credit assistance over the next two years for nationally or regionally significant surface transportation projects. Each dollar of federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and leverage up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. TIFIA and other state-sponsored programs coupled with MAP-21 should provide an impetus for increased infrastructure spending into 2013 and beyond.