Deadline for CASE Fourth-Annual Dire States Equipment Grant Is Less Than Two Weeks Away

Grant provides $25,000 in free equipment use to one winning community to repair and/or build local infrastructure or other critical systems.

CASE Construction Equipment has issued the call for entries for the 2019 Dire States Equipment Grant. Submissions can be made at The 2019 entry deadline is March 31, 2019, and the winner will be announced in April 2019.

Originally launched in 2016, the Dire States Grant provides one winning community with $25,000 in free equipment use to help offset the costs of building or repairing a critical piece of local infrastructure. Representatives of municipal, county and other local governments are eligible to apply. Entrants will be asked to describe the project and provide a detailed assessment of how that local piece of infrastructure will benefit the community.

Examples of suitable infrastructure projects include: road/bridge repair or construction, utility pipe replacement, erosion control along lakes and rivers, wastewater system improvements, school projects and park/recreational construction. All projects that fall within the 16 core categories of infrastructure, as identified by ASCE in its Infrastructure Report Card, will be considered.

The 2018 winner was Surrey, North Dakota. The community used the grant to significantly transform the city’s rainwater runoff and roadway drainage.

“We wouldn’t have been able to complete this amount of work in 100 years – and this has saved Surrey more than $100,000 in work that otherwise wouldn’t have been done,” said Keith Hegney, public works director, Surrey, North Dakota.

“Surrey represents the ideal Dire States entrant  — a community that was able to show the compounding benefit of infrastructure improvements on other elements of the city’s systems and future growth,” says Michel Marchand, vice president — North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “Entries for this grant have increased exponentially each year, which highlights the continued need for a greater focus on local infrastructure funding and development.”

“While Federal funding is critical to long-term sustainability of the nation’s infrastructure, it’s the network of local projects that most directly impact our daily lives,” says Athena Campos, senior director of marketing, CASE Construction Equipment. “At CASE, we’re working together with our dealers and customers to make a difference in building those local communities.”

All local governments in the United States are eligible to apply. A full list of rules and submission criteria are available at For more information on Dire States, For more information on CASE, visit

CASE Construction Equipment sells and supports a full line of construction equipment around the world, including the No. 1 backhoe loaders, excavators, motor graders, wheel loaders, vibratory compaction rollers, crawler dozers, skid steers, compact track loaders and rough-terrain forklifts. Through CASE dealers, customers have access to a true professional partner with world-class equipment and aftermarket support, industry-leading warranties and flexible financing. More information is available at

Dire States grant is less than two weeks away, for detailed information:

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Advisory Board meets for two days next week in Oakland, CA.  A primary topic on the draft agenda is NOAA’s “Blue Economy,” which includes marine transportation, tourism, ocean exploration, and fisheries and amounts to approximately $320 billion of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP).  The OEAB advises NOAA leadership on strategic planning, exploration priorities, competitive ocean exploration grant programs and other matters as requested by NOAA’s Administrator.  The 12-member Board is chaired by John R. Kreider, Senior VP Advanced Technology of Oceaneering International, Inc.
*  The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed last week, on Friday, in a 40-page Federal Register notice, to delist the Gray Wolf – from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.  By the next day, Saturday, the docket had over 500 comments from interested groups and citizens.  This change – which started, nationally, in 2013 – would not impact the status of the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi).  FWS writes that “We propose this action because the best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the currently listed entities do not meet the definitions of a threatened species or endangered species under the Act due to recovery.” The comment period closes on May 14.
*  Two big deepwater port projects are starting off Texas’ coast.  One is called COLT, the other SPOT – not sure if those are acronyms or not.  SPOT will have over 100 miles of 36” double on-shore and in-water pipelines.   The new port will allow for up to two very large crude carriers (VLCCs) or other crude oil carriers to moor at single point mooring (SPM) buoys and connect with the deepwater port via floating connecting crude oil hoses and a floating vapor recovery hose. The maximum frequency of loading VLCCs or other crude oil carriers would be 2 million barrels per day, 365 days per year.  COLT has similar statistics.  MARAD and the Coast Guard are starting an environmental impact statement for SPOT and they have scheduled an open house and public meeting in Lake Jackson, TX next week.  You’ll be happy to know there’s free parking.

Tom Ewing
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ARTBA: House Committees Discuss Infrastructure Package, Surface Transportation Reauthorization

By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

The first hearing on reauthorization of the FAST Act law, entitled “Aligning Federal Surface Transportation Policy to Meet 21st Century Needs,” took place March 13 before the House Highways & Transit subcommittee.  It covered a wide range of subjects, including how best to address the Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall, measures to improve the project delivery process, and the use of new technologies to improve safety and congestion.FAST Act

Seven witnesses tackled questions from committee members ranging from building on the existing partnership between federal, state and local entities to workforce training and development.

The FAST Act is set to expire Sept. 30, 2020.  Reauthorization of the law could come sooner, however, with both the Trump administration and congressional Republicans calling for an updated surface transportation law to be the basis for any infrastructure package this year.

Also on March 13, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended the administration’s FY 2020 budget request at a House Ways & Means Committee hearing.  Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) began the infrastructure discussion saying, “At the top of that list is infrastructure. Repairing our aging roads and bridges and investing in a 21st-century infrastructure system is a win for everyone – workers, consumers, businesses, and the economy as a whole.”

Mnuchin defended the administration’s plans for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package and pledged to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner.  When asked if a motor fuels tax was part of the president’s plans, Mnuchin did not dismiss the idea but also did not endorse the revenue mechanism.

Without an increase in Highway Trust Fund revenues, the next surface transportation law will require an average of $19 billion per year on top of existing user fee revenues just to maintain current levels of spending.  ARTBA staff will continue working on Capitol Hill and with the administration to ensure that any infrastructure package or FAST Act reauthorization includes a permanent, user-fee based revenue fix that will sustain adequate long-term investments in the trust fund.

Make Your Operations Better. Faster. Safer. October 1-3, 2019 at ICUEE, North America’s Largest Utility & Construction Demo Expo

Make Your Operations Better. Faster. Safer. October 1-3, 2019 at ICUEE, North America’s Largest Utility & Construction Demo Expo

You’ll have the chance to see the latest products from your favorite companies, try the equipment yourself, AND meet the team of technical experts behind it.

Here is what your peers and first-time attendees are saying about ICUEE:

“Rather than having to go and see half-a-dozen different shows, to see everybody, they’re all here in one go.” David S. – Clydesdale LTD

“A lot of good equipment, a lot of good vendors. A lot of helpful people that work with you to help you get your piece of equipment that you need for your job.” Mike S. – Sheffield Utilities

Demo Products from Over 1,000 Exhibitors

ICUEE will be expanding to nearly 1.3 million net square feet of exhibit space and welcoming an exciting lineup of new manufacturers and service providers*, including:

Applied Machinery Sales Pro-Drill Industries Ltd.
Avant Tecno USA Razer Lift
Electrical Solutions Safeguard Equipment
National Fleet Products Sherp ATV
Pettibone, LLC – Heavy Equipment Group Volta Power Systems
Pi-Lit Witzco Challenger Trailers Inc.
PlanGrid Zeal Motor Inc
Join Your Peers

ICUEE attracts the most distinguished construction and utility professionals from around the world to see the latest industry developments and to discover new opportunities for growth.

Here are a few of the nearly 18,000 attendees from ICUEE 2017:

  • President – Miller Pipeline
  • VP – Duke Energy
  • Safety Manager – Asplundh Construction
  • Field Operations and Lineman – Indianapolis Power &Light
  • Training Manager – ComEd
  • Director – Nicor Gas
  • Fleet Manager – Appalachian Pipeline Contractors
  • Equipment Manager – Asplundh Tree Expert Company
  • And nearly 18,000 more like this!

Equipment Leasing and Finance Industry Confidence Increases Again in March

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) releases the March 2019 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI) today. Designed to collect leadership data, the index reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $1 trillion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market increased in March for the second consecutive month to 60.4, up from the February index of 56.7.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent Harry Kaplun, President, Specialty Finance, Frost Bank, said, “This year will continue to be prosperous as economic indicators are predicting. Business growth is spurred by low interest rates, favorable tax rates, and expansion-oriented investment.”

March 2019 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 60.4, an increase from 56.7 in February.

•   When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 20% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, up from 10% in February. 70% of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, a decrease from 83.3% the previous month. 10% believe business conditions will worsen, up from 6.7% who believed so the previous month.

•   23.3% of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (CapEx) will increase over the next four months, an increase from 13.3% in February. 70% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, a decrease from 83.3% the previous month. 6.7% believe demand will decline, up from 3.3% who believed so in February.

•   13.3% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 20.7% in February. 86.7% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, an increase from 79.3% last month. None expect “less” access to capital, unchanged from last month.

•   When asked, 46.7% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, an increase from 26.7% in February. 46.7% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, a decrease from 56.7% last month. 6.7% expect to hire fewer employees, down from 16.7% last month.

•   36.7% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” 63.3% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “fair,” and none evaluate it as “poor,” all unchanged for the second consecutive month.

•   6.7% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, down from 13.3% in February. 80% of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, an increase from 70% the previous month. 13.3% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, a decrease from 16.7% in February.

•   In March, 33.3% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 20% last month. 66.7% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, a decrease from 80% in February. None believe there will be a decrease in spending, unchanged from last month.