Trump's Border Wall Gives Martin Marietta Texas-Sized Advantage

  • ‘I think he’s going to build that wall,’ CEO Ward Nye says
  • Aggregates producer also in line for infrastructure spending

Martin Marietta CEO Expects to Benefit From Border Wall

About two-thirds of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico would cut through Texas and that’s a boon for Martin Marietta Materials Inc., the state’s biggest producer of cement, concrete and aggregates.

Martin Marietta is well-positioned to win work as builders and contractors jockey to be part of the construction project. 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.

“We are getting some early calls and indications of interest on that right now,” Chief Executive Officer Ward Nye said in an interview Monday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “We’ll be one of the first people shipping material to the job site.” 

The Raleigh, North Carolina-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.

“If there’s any heavy-side activity in Texas, we’ll be a big part of that,” Nye said.

The wall 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.

Staying Neutral

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.

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