ConExpo in the IIJA Era

March 15, 2023
The trade show returns as the infrastructure law continues to unfold

ConExpo-Con/Agg — the largest trade show in North America — kicked off its 2023 show at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Festival Grounds on Tuesday.

This is the first ConExpo/Agg since President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law.

The morning began with press conferences inside, demonstrations outside, and a lot of networking (not to mention walking – the show commands more than 2.7 million square feet of space).

However, one could argue that the most important event of the first day was an educational session titled, “Show Me the Money! Where is All the Infrastructure Money Going?”

Presented by Dr. Alison Black, senior vice president and chief economist at the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), a full room of attendees were shown graphs and charts that explained how the money in the bipartisan infrastructure law is dispersed.

Black had three key points she wanted the attendees to leave with:

  • The IIJA is working.
  • We’re at the beginning of the process of enacting this law — and it’s going to be a long process.
  • The law, and how the money is used, will look different in each state.

Black ended her presentation by addressing inflation. She said that the economic outlook has improved over the past six months.

“It looks different by region and in different communities,” she said.

Black also acknowledged that inflation has made it a challenge to pay for labor, as well as buy equipment and materials.

“But I’m confident we’ll get it done,” she said. “I’m always optimistic about the ability of our industry.”

Roads & Bridges interviewed Black after her presentation. Look for that interview and others this week, as our editorial team covers ConExpo/Agg with a series of videos from Las Vegas. R&B

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