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48 • ROCK products • March 2017 www.rockproducts.com Operations cranking out up to 500,000 tpy (38 percent) were highly repre- sented. Plants producing more than 2.5 million tpy (27 percent) came next. Plants producing 500,000 to 1 million tpy (24 percent) followed and plants producing 1.5 to 2.5 million tpy (11 percent) brought up the rear. The number of survey participants from producers of both crushed stone, and sand and gravel decreased this year (44 percent) from last year (62.7 percent), but producers of crushed stone only rose to 17 percent. Producers of spe- cialty minerals and frac sand made up more than 21 percent of respondents. Geographic location was dominated by the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest, with additional strong response coming from the Northeast. Big Issues When it comes to the key issues facing aggregates producers, the big "number-one" identified by survey par- ticipants this year represents a return to the past. Making a jump was the national economy, which came as something of a surprise. That issue was front and center during the great recession, and had dropped to fifth on last year's list. Transportation funding took a dive likely as a result of the FAST Act. As usual, the construction economy and environmental regulations also merited respondent concern. This year, energy issues crept up higher on the list as well. Here are the top 15 main concerns of aggregates producers who took our survey. 1. National economy, 85 percent. 2. Construction economy, 42.22 percent. 3. Environmental regulations, 40.00 percent. 4. Permitting, 34.81 percent. 5. Transportation funding, 29.63 percent. 6. Energy costs, 20.00 percent. 7. Labor, 20.00 percent. 8. Safety regulations, 19.26 percent. 9. Healthcare, 15.56 percent. 10. Transportation funding, 12.59 percent. 11. Equipment capitalization, 9.63 percent. 12. Liability costs (legal), 8.15 percent. 13. Credit, 5.93 percent. 14. Insurance, 2.96 percent. 15. Other, 2.96 percent. Impacting the Industry Respondents were asked the question "What will impact the U.S. aggregates industry the most in the near future?" One respondent told us, "With the elec- tion being over and the results being what they are it seems business and investors are finally willing to invest in projects again. In addition if the infrastructure that the Trump campaign is speaking of receives funding it will have long-term positive affects on the industry." That sentiment was echoed by another respondent who said, "New infrastruc- ture spending, if approved, should boost production and overall economy of our business. As gas prices increase, North Dakota oil production may become viable again, which would be great for our industry." Another noted, "I feel the construction industry will see a surge due to the optimism in this country now due to Trump's election." Another respondent said: "The Trump presidency will have a big impact. If they can clear regulations and per- mitting issues, and give aggregate producers a clear signal that business is stable or will increase, business will be good." One respondent took a more pragmatic view, stating, "If a roads bill is finally signed in D.C., this would ignite an BENCHMARK 2017 SURVEY 37.78% 24.44% 11.11% 26.67% 0.00% 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% 0-500,000 tpy 500,000 - 1.5 million tpy 1.5 - 2.5 million tpy more than 2.5 million tpy No Answer What is your company's annual production capacity? 44.44% 17.04% 11.11% 14.07% 7.41% 5.93% 0.00% 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% 45.00% 50.00% Both Crushed Stone and Sand and Gravel Crushed Stone Only Sand and Gravel Only Specialty Minerals Frac Sand Rec ycled Products No Answer What is your primary product?