This year, Infrastructure Week is from May 14 to May 21. This will be the 6th annual national week of events which, according to the website infrastructureweek.org, includes media coverage, education, and issue advocacy to highlight infrastructure as a critical issue that impacts society, the economy, and the future of the US. This year the message that hundreds of companies and organizations are rallying around is, “The future won’t wait. Neither can we. It’s #TimeToBuild.”
From what I can recall this idea that we need to start working on updating the nation’s infrastructure immediately, that waiting is not an option, was a major part of the messaging a few years ago. It has been every year for the past several years. Now it’s 2018 and we still don’t have a permanent way to keep revenue flowing into the Highway Trust Fund. We still don’t have a plan from the White House or Congress.
So as we wait for solutions, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is releasing data that shows that construction costs continue to rise. AGC officials are urging the Trump Administration to adequately fund infrastructure instead of using tariffs to stimulate demand. Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist says, “Prices increased for many items in March, even before tariffs announced for steel, aluminum, and many items imported from China have taken effect. Steel service centers and other suppliers are warning there is not enough capacity at US mills or in the trucking industry to deliver orders on a timely basis. Thus, contractors are likely to experience still higher prices as well as delivery delays in coming months.”
“Many items contributed to the latest round of increases,” Simonson observed. “Moreover, today’s report only reflects prices charged as of mid-March. Since then, some tariffs have taken effect, many others have been proposed, and producers of steel and concrete have implemented or announced substantial additional increases.”
Construction officials said the tariffs that have been announced triggered a surge of orders that mills say they cannot fill on a timely basis, which will create budget problems, delays, and possibly cancellations for infrastructure and other public projects. They said adequate funding of infrastructure would be a better way to foster demand for domestic steel and aluminum without harming contractors.
Stephen Sandherr, the AGC’s CEO, says, “Tariffs will harm contractors that are currently working on projects for which they have not bought materials and will disrupt budgets for future construction. The best way to help the US steel and aluminum sector is to continue pushing measures, like regulatory reform and new infrastructure funding that will boost demand for their products as the economy expands.”
So instead of creating new funding for infrastructure, new tariffs might actually slow down or cancel some current or future infrastructure projects. That doesn’t sound like we’re moving in the right direction.
It actually sounds like we’re moving in the opposite direction.
In the meantime, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada produced some very importation videos aimed at stopping the abuse of traffic cones. I have to issue a warning: some of the scenes of abuse are difficult to watch.
Grading and Excavation Contractor is an Official Media partner of Infrastructure Week.” #TimeToBuild