LaHood visits Missouri for opening of cement plant

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday, June 4, appeared at the inaugural celebration for the Holcim (US) cement plant in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. The new facility, which opens as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is increasing demand for cement across the country, employs 250 people, will produce four million metric tons of cement annually, and is one of the largest cement manufacturing plants in the world.

“The Recovery Act hasn’t just saved and created jobs in the construction industry, it’s also been a lifeline to truckers, producers of cement and steel, and workers up and down the supply chain,” said LaHood, who was joined at the event by U.S Representatives Jo Ann Emerson and Russ Carnahan, and Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Nicole Lamb-Hale of the Department of Commerce. “This new plant is further evidence that smart infrastructure investments are creating jobs right now, while building a foundation for future growth.”

The 250-worker Ste. Genevieve plant has an annual payroll of about $20 million, and during construction, the plant created more than 2,500 jobs in Missouri. According to a study conducted by Southeast Missouri State University, the economic impact of the plant is projected to increase labor income in Missouri by $257 million, and to support almost 5,000 new direct and indirect jobs. Holcim (US) employs about 2,200 workers at 10 manufacturing plants and 70 distribution facilities throughout the United States.

The Federal Highway Administration has committed all of its $26.6 billion in Recovery Act funds to more than 12,200 highway, road and bridge projects across the country, nearly 10,000 of which are already under way. According to the Portland Cement Association, infrastructure projects receiving that $26.6 billion in Recovery Act funds will result in 10 million metric tons of additional demand for cement over a four-year period from 2009 to 2012. In turn, that additional cement consumption will result in revenues of roughly $950 million, creating and preserving jobs at cement plants and their surrounding communities across the country.

Overall, the U.S. Department of Transportation has made $48.1 billion in Recovery Act funding available for highway, transit, maritime, rail and aviation construction and repair projects nationwide. Of that total, $37.8 billion has been committed to 14,200 approved projects in 53 U.S. states and territories. More than 12,000 transportation projects are under way across the country, with more to follow as the summer construction season continues to accelerate.