Transportation construction industry reacts to Biden infrastructure plan

April 1, 2021

AASHTO, ARTBA, APTA, AEM, and ASCE released statements in support of the American Jobs Plan; AGC has mixed reaction

Several associations representing the surface transportation construction industry have issued statements in response to President Biden's "American Jobs Plan" released yesterday, which includes $621 billion dedicated to transportation infrastructure.

AASHTO applauds the emphasis that President Biden has placed on investing in infrastructure to shore up and modernize our national multimodal transportation system for decades to come,” Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is a first step in a conversation about a generational investment in transportation infrastructure addressing climate change, resiliency and equity that will support improved quality of life through innovative, safer and cleaner mobility options. America’s state DOTs look forward to playing a leading role with the Administration and Congress to achieve the objectives laid out in today’s plan."

“More than 45,000 U.S. bridges are in poor condition, according to the federal government. Such a data point underscores the scope of very real national infrastructure challenges," American Road & Transportation Builders (ARTBA) President and CEO Dave Bauer said in a statement. "The president’s plan will accelerate a long overdue conversation about how to modernize our roads, bridges, public transit and other infrastructure systems. Members of Congress from both parties will rightly have their own policy thoughts. The most important thing is not whose plan passes Congress, but that at the end of the process the American people have increased mobility and the competitiveness of the U.S. economy is strengthened.”

"This forward-thinking investment in public transportation and passenger rail will help our communities meet growing mobility demands, create family-wage jobs, expand U.S. manufacturing and supply chains, and grow the economy," American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said in a statement. "It puts us on the path to increase access to opportunities for all Americans and build more equitable communities. The American Jobs Plan also addresses the environmental and sustainability challenges facing our communities, nation, and the world. This plan will get projects off the ground and immediately create good-paying jobs that will get Americans back to work and ensure our communities keep moving."

“President Biden’s plan reflects many of the priorities outlined in AEM’s ‘The U.S. Infrastructure Report’ framework, including modernizing aging infrastructure assets to guarantee our global economic competitiveness, expanding broadband connectivity, creating new sector partnerships, boosting work-based learning programs, and ensuring that state and local governments have the fiscal resources they need," Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) president Dennis Slater said in a statement. "Agreeing on a long-term and sustainable funding mechanism that ensures the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. economy will require compromise, and we are committed to engaging constructively with all stakeholders to reach consensus."

"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," Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), said in a statement. "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."

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) had a more mixed reaction to the infrastructure plan:

“We greet the President’s new infrastructure proposal with mixed emotions," AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said in a statement. "On one hand, the President is right to focus on rebuilding a broad range of aging and overburdened infrastructure and modernizing buildings. These investments will create a significant number of new construction career opportunities that traditionally pay well above jobs in other industries. Unfortunately, the President seeks to saddle these new investments with a host of labor and regulatory measures that will hurt workers and offset many of the economic benefits of these new infrastructure investments." AGC also said "The President’s proposal to finance the new investments primarily via an increase in the corporate tax rate will likely undermine many of its economic benefits."

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