Pump This Up

Concrete pumpers try to assess effects of excise tax

Article February 21, 2003
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Many construction industry organizations tried to mobilize
opposition to a June 2002 proposal by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to
eliminate the exemption from federal excise taxes for mobile machinery
vehicles, such as mobile cranes, mobile drilling units, aerial lift trucks and
concrete pumpers. Schwing America Inc., for instance, posted information on the
company's website and asked customers to send letters to their U.S.
representatives and senators.

"Enactment of this regulation would have a significant,
negative impact on your company's operational costs," Schwing, White Bear,
Minn., warned its constituents.

In a Dec. 4, 2002, letter to the acting commissioner of the
IRS, Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Charles
Grassley, ranking member of the committee, wrote, "Repealing the exception
would have an immediate negative impact on thousands of businesses, including
numerous small businesses, at a time when those businesses can least afford
it."

Baucus and Grassley offered an alternative to the IRS's
proposed rulemaking: Let Congress reconsider the mobile machinery exemption
during reauthorization of the highway funding bill later this year.

"At that time, the Finance Committee will consider
carefully numerous issues relating to highway funding," the senators
wrote. "It would also be an appropriate time to review the definition of a
highway vehicle and the related exemptions offered to non-highway
vehicles."

Schwing estimated the proposed new rule would cost the
concrete pumping industry $16.5 million per year, a figure confirmed by the
American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA), based in Lewis Center, Ohio.

Christi Collins, executive director of the ACPA, said the
concrete pumping trucks represented by the ACPA average 80% of their time
working off the road at a jobsite. A concrete pumping truck may stay on a
jobsite for days or even weeks before getting on the road to go to the next
job.

The comment period on the proposed rule change expired on
Dec. 3, 2002. At press time, the IRS was considering the comments and preparing
a final rule.

The ACPA planned to participate in an open forum on the
excise tax issue hosted by the IRS on Feb. 27.

Sales of truck-mounted concrete pumps were off 10% in 2002
from what they were in 2001,  Bill
Carbeau, product and sales manager at Putzmeister America, Sturtevant, Wis.,
told ROADS & BRIDGES. "This year it's going to be off probably an
additional 10%," he added. "That's partly because of the economy and
the reduction in construction, but it's also because there was a saturation in
concrete truck pumps in the United States market."

Products

What follows are brief descriptions of a few of the concrete
product announcements we have received recently. It is not meant to be a
comprehensive survey of products currently on the market.

Introducing the 38Z

Putzmeister is debuting a new truck-mounted concrete pump at
World of Concrete this month. The 38Z-Meter (Circle 926), in the 125-ft class,
features the company's Multi-Z boom design. The four-section boom can maneuver
in, over and around obstacles to place concrete in difficult-to-reach places.

Versatile pumping

For three-in-one functionality, there's the VersiPlacer
(Circle 927) from Elliott Equipment Co., Omaha, Neb. The truck-mounted machine
works as a concrete pump with 82.5-ft working side reach; a crane with
hydraulic operation and a power swing jib; and a work platform with a 600-lb
capacity and a 75-ft working height.

Portable saw

The Core Cut CC1300-XL (Circle 928) is a sturdy portable
concrete saw from Diamond Products, Elyria, Ohio, with a 13-hp engine an a 14-
or 18-in. blade capacity. Extra-sturdy rattle-free handles are adjustable to
four positions for precise control. The maximum cutting depth is 6 5⁄8
in.

Long boom

Schwing's latest pumper is the longest boom pump in the
industry, according to the company. The S 61 SX (Circle 925) has a reach of 198
ft and a four-section, overhead-roll-and-fold boom that will reach out, up and
below grade with no dead spots. Because the boom's first section can be angled
back, the other three sections can be guided into enclosed decks with ease.
With the patented telescoping Super X outriggers, and a 29-ft 2-in. front
outrigger spread, the S 61 SX has the smallest footprint of any pump in its
class.

Crack sealant

V-Seal CR is an extremely low-viscosity, high-solids resin that
penetrates deep into the concrete substrate, returning it to its original
strength. Hairline cracks less than 2 mils can be filled and reconsolidated
with the concrete substrate. V-Seal CR (Circle 929) from Vanberg Specialized
Coatings, Kansas City, Kan., will penetrate and bond tightly to virtually any
concrete surface without acid etching.

Portable ASR test

The Spectroline model ASR-260 kit is a "portable
darkroom" that uses short-wave ultraviolet light and a chemical reagent to
reveal the presence of alkali-silica reactivity (ASR) gel with a bright
fluorescent glow. With the kit, inspectors can quickly check concrete for ASR
gel in the field. Any cracks or defects can be quickly repaired before they
cause serious damage. The ASR-260 (Circle 930) kit is available from
Spectronics Corp., Westbury, N.Y.

About the author: 
Allen Zeyher is associate editor of Roads & Bridges.
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