Four once-in-a-lifetime events have taken place this year. Two of them - the worst pandemic in 102 years and the largest economic contraction since the Great Depression - have been devastating to hundreds of millions of people and businesses across the globe and have fundamentally changed life in ways too few of us had ever imagined.
I am certain that most trade association leaders are having to write their members exceptionally difficult messages in communications similar to the one you are reading now. However, the Florida asphalt industry has shown to be a bright spot. Foremost, we have demonstrated that we can adapt to changes required by this health crisis and conduct our business safely. In timelines that were previously thought impossible, we have adopted paperless work sites, implemented separation and sanitation processes, and accelerated paving projects across the state. Other businesses that will be re-opening soon are looking at us as an example on how to do it right, and this makes me very proud to be a part of this great industry.
The other two events are not clearly negative, and could provide a way out of this crisis. This year we have also seen the greatest decline in oil prices ever, and the largest central bank/government interventions ever. A Republican President and a Democratic House both currently believe that a large infrastructure investment is required to restart the American economy.
In my opinion, there has not been a moment like this in decades to actually make the large changes to transportation infrastructure funding our country and state needs. And although the energy-to-asphalt market is complex, it does seem logical that these dollars will go the furthest with immediate investments in asphalt pavements. A modest change in the price of asphalt can have a dramatic effect on the cost to pave — a decrease of $15/ton in binder reduces the cost of paving one lane-mile by over $1,000.
Without such intervention by the federal government, Florida will certainly be facing a dramatic decrease in revenues that are typically reserved for our transportation system. Let’s make sure we are doing our best by contacting our representatives about the need for an immediate investment in surface infrastructure and funding our PACs, which promote like-minded politicians as well.
Thank you for your membership. I look forward to serving you and growing this great association.
President, Asphalt Contractors Association of Florida, Inc.