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CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE 2014 attract nearly 130,000, set new exhibit & education records

CONEXPOCONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2014 took center stage in Las Vegas March 4-8 with tremendous energy and serious buyers. Total registration of 129,364 soared past the last edition of the shows as they achieved the second-highest attendance in their history. The shows also set new records for exhibit space, number of exhibitors and education tickets sold.

The co-located CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE, at the Las Vegas (USA) Convention Center, delivered a global showcase of the newest product innovations and technologies for the construction, construction materials and fluid power/power transmission/motion control industries with more than 1,000 new products and services on display.

Attendees also took advantage of the shows’ strong industry education programs and the unparalleled opportunity to connect with industry peers, take the pulse of what’s happening and learn what the future holds.

“The enthusiasm and traffic on the show floor was just incredible. Exhibitors cited the high quality of attendees; they told us these were serious buyers and reported robust sales to existing as well as new customers that exceeded their expectations,” stated Megan Tanel, CONEXPO-CONAGG show director.

Quality Attendance, International Scope

The Show maintained the growing international scope of the shows with international registrations totaling more than 31,000, or an increase of nine percent from the most recent events.  The number of countries represented increased to 170 from 159 in 2011, and the number of international attendees matched the record 24 percent of total attendance set in 2011.  International attendance drew heavily from Latin America, China, Canada, and Europe.

More than 75 percent of show visitors were in managerial roles (with 36 percent of these with the top titles of president/owner and vice president/general manager/chief financial officer).

Both shows set new records for exhibit space and number of exhibitors, CONEXPO-CON/AGG with more than 2.35 million net square feet of exhibit space and more than 2,000 exhibitors, and IFPE with more than 161,000 net square feet and 400 exhibitors.

A record 41,000 education ticket sales were sold to the shows’ education programs, underscoring their relevance to helping attendees succeed in today’s business environment.

“CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2014 reflected the feeling of momentum building in the industry. We are industry-run shows with industry needs put first; these show numbers are a testament to the value attendees, exhibitors, and other stakeholders derive from their participation,” stated Melissa Magestro, IFPE show director.

Global Industry Gathering Place

Among the show visitors were Acting U.S Deputy Secretary of Commerce Patrick D. Gallagher, Acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez and former U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, who served as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2007 to 2011.

The shows were chosen for the prestigious U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) International Buyer Program, which helps facilitate global attendance. More than 50 official international attendee delegations were organized by DOC as well as show industry partners.

More than 95 allied associations and groups were official supporting organizations, coming from the U.S., Canada and 16 other countries worldwide.

Several national industry associations held their annual conventions or high-level board meetings at the shows; they joined hundreds of other industry and company meetings, from large events to smaller committees and other groups, all taking advantage of the shows to meet and share knowledge and learn from one another.

Education and Exhibits

The education program covered 120 sessions over 10 targeted tracks. The IFPE Technical Conference anchored IFPE 2014 education, joined by half-day “college-level courses” and a new Fluid Power Seminar series, from Hydraulics & Pneumatics magazine.

The 2014 Show featured a new Demolition & Recycling exhibit pavilion from the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) and the Technology & Construction Solutions pavilion from the Associated General Contractors of America.

IFPE featured exhibit pavilions from the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) and for sensors manufacturers and product suppliers.

Reinforcing the global scope of the shows were eight international exhibit pavilions: CONEXPO-CON/AGG with China, Ireland, Korea, Spain and United Kingdom, and IFPE with China, Italy and Taiwan.

Show safety and education/training events at the shows included:

  • NRMCA International Truck Mixer Driver Championship, from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
  • Lift Safety Zone, from NCCCO National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators and IPAF International Powered Access Federation
  • Crane Operator Rodeo from Maximum Capacity Media

Industry recognition and networking events and programs also amplified the show experience:

  • Innovation Awards program (from Diesel Progress magazine and global powertrain specialist ZF Friedrichshafen)
  • Young Leaders event (from Construction Equipment magazine)
  • Quality of Life industry recognition campaign (from Dexter + Chaney)
  • 5K Run/Walk benefiting the non-profit Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund (from Maximum Capacity Media)

Night at the Race Track hospitality event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Meeting a Federal Highway Trust Fund Crisis: A Profile in Courage … and

ARTBAFebruary 28 is a special day in the history of the federal highway program and Highway Trust Fund that supports it.  On this day, 53 years ago, President John F. Kennedy (JFK) saw a threat to the nation’s future economic growth and security and grabbed the reins of leadership.

The year was 1961.  Americans were paying 27 cents per gallon for gasoline, including a 4 cents per gallon federal gas and diesel fuel tax to support capital investments though the federal highway program in their personal mobility and the nation’s economy and security.  The 2014 equivalents would be a 31 cents per gallon federal gas tax on a $2.11 gallon of gasoline.

“Our federal pay-as-you-go highway program is in peril,” JFK said in the first sentence of a “Special Message to the Congress on the Federal Highway Program” sent up to Capitol Hill that day.

The problem:  the user based revenue stream going into the Highway Trust Fund was not sufficient to sustain the level of authorizations necessary to keep the highway program running without going into deficit spending.  Kennedy told the Congress $900 million more dollars per year ($7.04B in 2014 dollars) was necessary.

“Our objective,” Kennedy said, “is to finance this program on a pay-as-you-go basis from… user taxes… at rates sufficient to pay the full cost of the program, without charge on general federal revenues… “The pay-as-you-go principle… requires an increase in the revenues from user taxes…”

It is clear, he said, “that a program essential to the nation, and to [the public’s] own welfare, requires that they cooperate in determining how present sources are to yield the additional revenues needed.”

Kennedy offered what he called “A New Plan to Finance the Highway Program.”  He urged Congress to sustain the federal gas tax revenue stream and increase the user fees on trucks—the federal diesel fuel excise increased from 4 cents per gallon to 7 cents; truck weight excise for vehicles over 26,000 lbs. from $1.50 per 1,000 lbs. to $5.00 per; the excises on sale of new tires from 8 cents per tire to 10 cents, the sale of tire inner tubes from 9 cents per to 10 cents, and tread rubber from 3 cents to 10 cents.

On June 29, 1961, the 87th Congress of the United States responded, approving the “Federal Aid Highway Act of 1961,” (Public Law 87-61), generally following the path outlined by the President.

The Highway Trust Fund crisis was averted.  Filling out and construction of the 41,000-mile Interstate Highway System and ongoing improvements to the 848,677 miles of state roads deemed worthy of federal investment due to their importance to the nation’s economy and security continued forward.   No American jobs were lost.

Footnote:   Despite claims to the contrary, the federal gas tax is not “broken” or “outmoded” as a mechanism to raise user revenue for the Highway Trust Fund.  The only problem with the gas tax as a revenue generator is that the rate has been frozen for 20 years and the rate has never been indexed, or adjusted, to keep pace with annual price inflation or to meet identified needs.  It is a fact that if Congress had indexed the 1961 federal gas tax rate of 4 cents per gallon to future annual inflation, the gas tax alone would be generating almost $56B this year for Highway Trust Fund investments.  There would be no 2014 HTF crisis looming October 1 that could shut-off federal investment for any new state transportation department highway, bridge and transit projects during FY 2015.  It is also a fact that today’s 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax has 50 percent less purchasing power than the 4 cents per gallon tax had in 1961.

Trust Fund in Crisis

TRIP Reports: As Harshest Winter In 30 Years Depletes Road Maintenance Budgets And Causes A Bumper Crop Of Spring Potholes, Nation Faces Looming Summer Cut To Federal Transportation Dollars

TRIPA bumper crop of potholes is emerging on the nation’s roads as a result of a winter that, in many regions, has been the harshest in 30 years.  Across the nation, more than a quarter of major urban roads are already in poor condition, and in some cities, as many as two-thirds of major roads are in poor condition. Those conditions were already projected to worsen due to a lack of transportation funding at the local, state and federal levels. But states and cities could experience even further deterioration as a result of the harsh weather conditions that have caused approximately three-quarters of states and many cities to exceed their snow removal budgets, forcing them to reallocate monies that would otherwise be available for road repairs.

Pavement failure is caused by a combination of traffic, moisture and climate. Moisture often works its way into road surfaces and the materials that form the road’s base, damaging their foundation. Extreme freeze-thaw cycles exacerbate the rate of pavement deterioration and can cause increased rutting and cracking.

Rough roads are more than just a nuisance for motorists. Driving on deteriorated roads costs the average urban driver $377 annually – a total of $80 billion nationwide.  In areas with the roughest roads, drivers lose as much as $800 each year. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, increased maintenance, additional fuel consumption and tire wear. This is according to a report released by TRIP in October 2013 titled “Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother”.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding for states. The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as summer of 2014, when the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion, which will trigger delays in the federal reimbursement to states for road, highway and bridge projects. Because of this funding delay and uncertainty, states will likely delay or postpone numerous projects.  And, if a lack of adequate revenue into the Federal Highway Trust Fund is not addressed by Congress, funding for highway and transit improvements throughout the nation could be cut by $44 billion for the federal fiscal year 2015, beginning October 1, 2014.

“America’s already deteriorated road conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Unless Congress acts this year to adequately fund the Federal Highway Trust Fund, all states are going to see their federal funding decrease dramatically starting this summer. This will result in fewer road repair projects, loss of jobs, higher vehicle operating costs for drivers, and a burden on state economies.”

MIT Research Points to Importance of Road Design in Fuel Consumption

PCA LogopRecently President Barak Obama announced plans to introduce a rule for higher fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks by 2016. At an appearance at a grocery distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Md., President Obama charged Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to “develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks that will take us well into the next decade.”

According to the White House, heavy-duty trucks account for just four percent of highway vehicles, but are responsible for 20 percent of carbon pollution from the transportation sector. Current fuel-economy standards are aimed at reducing truck fuel use by as much as 20 percent.

Gregory M. Scott, president and CEO of the Portland Cement Association, said it is time to not only look at the efficiency of cars and trucks on the road, but to look at the actual road for fuel economy and emission reductions.

“We should expand the debate beyond making more efficient cars and trucks to making more efficient infrastructure. Stiffer pavements – such as pavements made from concrete — produce less rolling resistance and better fuel economy,” Scott said.

Researchers at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub recently found that how the road is constructed could have a significant impact on the fuel economy of cars and trucks. Research models predict the use of stiffer pavements, for example, could reduce fuel use by as much as three percent, a savings that would add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year.

Florida International University tested MIT’s research models in real-world conditions with similar results. They studied vehicles traveling on I-95 and found that riding on rigid pavements consumes 3.2 percent less fuel than riding on flexible pavements for passenger vehicles and 4.5 percent less fuel for loaded tractor-trailers. If all Florida pavements were rigid, it could amount to an annual fuel savings of more than $2 billion for highway users.

About PC

Based in Washington D.C. with offices in Skokie, Ill., the Portland Cement Association represents cement manufacturing companies in the United States. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. More information on PCA programs is available at www.cement.org.

LiuGong North America Moves Into Larger Facility to Support Expanding Dealer Network

newbuildingLiuGong North America, headquartered in Katy, Texas, is scheduled to move to a larger interim facility to support its expanding dealer network.

The move comes after LiuGong North America announced its most profitable year on record since the company began operations in the US in 2008. The new facility, located at 22220 Merchants Way, Suite 100 in Katy, Texas will almost triple the amount of space currently housing the company’s operations.

“We are in the process of identifying a large tract of land to buy and build a permanent facility to include parts warehouse, training center, shop, paint booth, fabrication & assembly, equipment proving ground, and equipment storage yard.  While we are eager to “put a shovel in the ground” for the larger, permanent facility, land acquisition and construction is a longer process.  Due to our rapid growth; increased personnel and parts stocking requirements, we needed to make this strategic interim move to support our growing dealer network today,” explained Marc Dowdell, LiuGong North America President.

LiuGong will move into their new interim facility the week of February 24th, with a ribbon cutting ceremony taking place on March 1st, 2014.  “The Merchants Way facility is brand new construction, which will accommodate parts warehousing, office, and training.  It is reflective our growth, investment, and commitment to the North and Central American markets and provides increased capabilities and a more professional environment in supporting our dealers,” says Marc Dowdell.

The LiuGong North America space will feature over 27,000 SQFT of warehouse space and close to 8,000 SQFT of office space for a combined total of almost 35,000 SQFT. The expanded facility will serve to support North America, Mexico and Central America regions.