Construction News Tracker Video: Caterpillar Expands Compactor Lineup

Highway funding ideas emerge...

EPA Carbon rules outlined...

Cat expands compactor lineup...

And a peek at Diggerland USA...

That and more on Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.

Faced with a narrow time frame to reauthorize a funding bill for the nation's highways, Congress is ginning up lots of unique methods to pay for it. One new idea raised is to reduce six day a week postal delivery and transfer the savings to the Highway Trust Fund, but there's little appetite for the proposal. The Senate Finance Committee is working to find at least $16 billion to keep the highway fund from going bankrupt in August and has asked members to find a solution that can be voted on by the July 4th recess. A push over how long the funding should last - six months, two years or six years - remains to be hashed out; and reauthorization needed by end of September.

The entire construction industry has rallied to support the effort, and the TCC Fly-in and Rally for Roads in Washington is among many ways to pressure Congress - that will be highlighted in our next News Tracker report.

AASHTO Board of Directors Urges Congress to Immediately Ensure Highway Trust Fund Solvency from American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

The employment numbers for the month of May are out. While 217,000 jobs were created last month the construction sector gained a meager 6,000 workers, and the national unemployment guage remains at 6.3%.

The nation's power plants need to reduce their carbon emissions 30% by 2030 claims the EPA in a long anticipated climate change plan from the administration. The coal industry claims the rules will create the nation's next energy crisis as coal fired plants will have to either go offline or be retro fitted for the other production sources. Either way it is certain to create thousands of construction jobs as states work to meet the new emission rules with plant upgrades or other methods.

Caterpillar Paving product family is growing. The company is adding new Series B utility compactors. Eight new machines ranging from the CB22 B to the CC34 B include many new features in the 1.8 MT to 5 MT size class used in paving driveways, parking lots and streets. The machines offer increased drum diameters, multiple frequency vibration and reliable water spray systems.

Cat has made news with the hiring of former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood as a consultant. The company says LaHood will help identify policy and communications challenges. A former congressman from Peoria, Ill., LaHood is barred from government lobbying for at least another year.

Ford's three year secret is out. The company silently embedded a half dozen 2011 F-150 pickups into customer fleets that carried aluminum cargo boxes on steel bodies. Ford engineers checked on the truck workability every three months, and they racked up 350,000 miles use in a two-year span. Ford says the project resulted in a thicker cargo box floor and improved tailgate design that will be incorporated into the 2015 F-150 aluminum body design.

Welcome to Diggerland USA. Open to the public, June 14 is the first construction theme park in the USA. The 14 acre tract has been transformed into a bevy of rides all handled by construction machinery from JCB. A JS 220 excavator with a modified bucket seats six as it spins and moves up and down. Guests will be able to operate a 3CX backhoe on an obstacle course. There are skid steers, telehandlers and more rides to be experienced. Diggerland is located at West Berlin, N.J., off Route 73.

Finally, even a mosquito doesn't get a slap on the back until it starts to work.

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