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Construction Industry Associations React to $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

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On March 31, President Joe Biden unveiled The American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion infrastructure plan aimed at creating jobs and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.

Several associations related to the construction industry weighed in on the plan. While all agreed that this is an important step forward, many questioned the plan’s funding mechanism and tying the plan to the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

Here is a collection of statements from industry associations. This post will be updated as more reactions are obtained.

American Petroleum Institute (API)

“We support the administration’s goal of modernizing the nation’s infrastructure – including roads, bridges, rail and ports. We also welcome the administration’s efforts to address the risks of climate change by incentivizing innovation for hydrogen and CCUS as part of this infrastructure package. At the same time, this proposal misses an opportunity to take an across-the-board approach to addressing all our infrastructure needs – including on modern pipelines,” said API senior vice president for Policy, Economic and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola.

“Targeting specific industries with new taxes would only undermine the nation’s economic recovery and jeopardize good-paying jobs, including union jobs. It’s important to note that our industry receives no special tax treatment, and we will continue to advocate for a tax code that supports a level playing field for all economic sectors along with policies that sustain and grow the billions of dollars in government revenue that we help generate.”

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found the nation earned a ‘C-’, up from 2017’s cumulative GPA of ‘D+’. This is the first time since ASCE began issuing the Report Card that the nation’s infrastructure has received a GPA outside of the D range. However, progress has been incremental and 11 of the 17 categories received scores in the “D” range, demonstrating that much work needs to be done to improve the overall infrastructure network.

 The nearly $2 trillion investment over the next 8 years in the Administration proposal, including $621 billion dedicated to modernizing our surface transportation networks, $25 billion to airports, $111 billion for clean drinking water, $100 billion for broadband, and $17 billion to inland waterways and ports, will go a long way to ensure that our nation’s infrastructure continues to improve in the upcoming decade.

 The focus is rightly on tackling the maintenance backlog for our transportation, water, and freight systems, enabling “shovel worthy” ideas to get across the finish line, ensuring new projects result in systems that are more resilient, investing in transmission lines to connect the grid, and reflects that our infrastructure is truly a connected system that is only as strong as its weakest link.  The recent tragedy in Texas has brought that concept to the forefront.

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Beyond raising the grades, the investments proposed in the American Jobs Plan could result in long-term economic gains for American families and businesses. ASCE’s recent study Failure to Act: Economic Impacts of Status Quo Investment Across Infrastructure Systems, finds that continued underinvestment in infrastructure and the inefficiencies that will result will have a cascading effect on the economy over the next 20 years. In fact, ASCE estimates that the U.S. is set to underinvest in our nation’s infrastructure by $2.59 trillion over the next 10 years, resulting in increased costs for families, lost jobs, and declining GDP. The American Jobs Plan would cut significantly into these funding gaps and ensure that the federal government is working with state and local governments to make these much-needed investments. As the nation looks to revitalize and jumpstart the economy, ASCE believes that infrastructure investment is the key to long-term recovery and prosperity, as well as providing access and opportunity to communities across the country. We look forward to working with the Administration and Members of Congress on this crucial, bipartisan, issue as the American Jobs Plan continues to develop. 

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

“We support President Biden’s vision for how to build a new and stronger economy that creates opportunity for all Americans,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry relations. “Equipment manufacturers are investing in their communities and creating new family-sustaining jobs, encouraged by signs that we may finally be getting COVID-19 under control. We stand ready to work with President Biden to help him make the bold, transformational investment in workforce development, infrastructure, and American manufacturing that is long overdue.

“At the same time, we strongly urge him to make sure that we preserve the predictability and stability in the tax code that keeps equipment manufacturers competitive and drives job creation and good wages. Tax reform made equipment manufacturers more competitive in the global economy. It is imperative that we do not undo that progress.”

International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)

“There are moments in American history where we find the courage and determination to overcome national challenges and work together to build a better future. Today, as we begin to emerge from a raging pandemic and record unemployment, the roadmap to recovery laid out in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan certainly meets our moment,” said James T. Callahan, general president of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).

“At its core is a bold infrastructure plan that will rebuild our roads and rails, fortify our power grid, grow renewable energy markets, expand high-speed Internet, modernize our schools, and deliver clean drinking water to every community. In addition, by connecting prevailing wages and labor standards to the jobs created, the proposal will help drive a just economic recovery for America’s working families.

“Bold plans require big investments, but history shows that infrastructure spending is the best return on investment we can make as a country. The plan’s job creating potential alone – 1 million jobs for every $100 billion – will pay mortgages, buy groceries, purchase medicines and spur economic growth throughout the country. Rolling back corporate tax giveaways to fund the plan asks those who directly profit from American-made infrastructure to invest in its success.

“The working men and women of the International Union of Operating Engineers stand squarely behind the American Jobs Plan and support its swift passage in Congress. It is time for lawmakers to do their job so we can do ours – rebuilding America. Let’s get to work!”

LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America

“President Biden’s infrastructure proposal has the potential to be the most significant jobs-creating investment ever in our nation. Our nation’s infrastructure needs have been languishing for far too long and an infrastructure renaissance is now within reach,” said Terry O’Sullivan, general president of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America

“The White House infrastructure proposal will restore our economy and create hundreds of thousands of good union jobs. The proposal recognizes that our infrastructure needs are vast and will only continue to grow without decisive action. More than forty percent of our roadways are in poor or mediocre condition and Americans make 178 million trips daily across structurally deficient bridges. There is a water main break every two minutes. Our infrastructure deficiencies are a threat to our economy and our safety.

“We expect and urgently need a bipartisan plan for the reauthorization of the Highway Bill from the Administration that Congress can get to work on and take action on immediately. And we should put all funding mechanisms on the table.

“We also look forward to working with the Administration on insisting that the renewable industry does not short-change and cheat working men and women of good family-supporting pay and benefits on the jobs building this infrastructure. We appreciate the President’s commitment to making sure that strong labor standards are tied to new jobs building the green economy to ensure the jobs that are created are good-quality jobs.”

National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)

“President Biden’s infrastructure plan has some very good elements in it, such as the $111 billion to increase spending on improving our nation’s water infrastructure systems. The $100 billion for both broadband improvements and building a resilient electric grid will deliver long-term improvements for millions of Americans,” said NUCA CEO Doug Carlson.

“However, our industry joins the American business community in being wary about how the President is going to pay for all of this with corporate tax increases on the very companies that create new jobs. Congress has its work cut out on reconciling this plan with economic and fiscal realities.

“The best thing that can be said about the plan is that the Administration and Congress, and both parties, are at least talking about infrastructure. Our deteriorating water and wastewater systems, crumbling highways, and insufficient broadband capacity can’t be ignored forever.”

United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA)

“The goal of the American Jobs Plan is simple: create good-paying union jobs while working to finally bring our nation’s infrastructure into the modern age. After the devastating effects of the COVID pandemic, this plan is the beginning of a much-needed shot in the arm for working people like the Brothers and Sisters of the United Association,” said Mark McManus, general president of the United Association. “The American Jobs Plan provides long-overdue investments to ensure all of our communities have clean and safe drinking water by replacing all lead pipes, and that our schools and buildings are retrofitted for safe air circulation. We are encouraged by the direction taken by the Biden-Harris Administration on jobs in the energy industry and the strong focus on the use of registered apprenticeships. Energy technologies like carbon capture sequestration, hydrogen, and nuclear — all components of the American Jobs Plan — will ensure we meet our shared climate goals while creating good-paying union jobs.”

“As with any job-creating bill, the American Jobs Plan must have strong labor protections across industries to ensure these are good-paying union jobs with hard-earned benefits. We are encouraged by the Biden-Harris Administration’s push to include these labor protections, like Davis-Bacon provisions and the use of registered apprenticeships, on any federally funded project and on any tax credit used to create new jobs.”

“Today’s introduction of the American Jobs Plan is an important step towards finally reinvesting in and modernizing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. If it includes strong labor protections and federal loan guarantees, the American Jobs Plan has the potential to revitalize our working class while building back better than ever before. The entire United Association stands ready to get to work with this proposal delivering safe and clean water, retrofitting schools and buildings, and providing efficient energy to American families.”

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