The large wall along the U.S.-Mexico border promised by President Donald Trump could be a boon for Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (IW 500/254), said Chief Executive Officer Ward Nye.
“We are getting some early calls and indications of interest on that right now,” Nye said in an interview Monday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “So if there’s any heavy-side activity in Texas, we’ll be a big part of that.” Martin Marietta is the largest producer of cement, concrete and aggregates in the state.
The administration has set an aggressive timetable for building the wall, asking for full design proposals by March 24 and planning to make awards next month. The project may face hurdles over funding and from Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday threatened to shut down the government to stop the project.
The Raleigh, N.C.-based company hasn’t included potential wall-related demand for its crushed stone, gravel and sand in 2017 forecasts, Nye said. It isn’t clear what the construction phases will look like or even what materials will be used to build the structure, he said.
“We’re going to be one of the last people that people talk to in the early planning stages, but we’ll be one of the first people shipping material to the job site,” he said.
Martin Marietta isn’t taking sides on the project’s necessity, Nye said. The company has a duty to shareholders and workers to bid on supplying materials for any large construction project, he said.
“I think he’s going to build that wall,” Nye said.
The company would also benefit from a proposed plan to spend $1 trillion on U.S. roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. The funding may come from taxing truck freight, boosting the gasoline tax and applying levies to electric cars, Nye said.
“They’re wearing out the road the same way the rubber would from a gasoline or diesel vehicle,” he said. “They’re just not paying for any degree of maintenance or repair on it.”
In large cities, toll roads and bridge can be funded from public-private partnerships. Martin Marietta has plenty of capacity at its quarries and plants to supply a surge in construction, he said.
“There’s not one silver bullet” to fund infrastructure spending, he said.
By Thomas Black