Manufacturing and construction are expanding and ready to take on infrastructure package

Manufacturing and construction are expanding and ready to take on infrastructure package
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Whether large or small, companies across both the manufacturing and construction industries have expressed positive views about their future and poised to expand this year, according to recent surveys from our organizations.

This includes optimism on the ability to hire more workers and compensate them better and the growth of the American economy as a whole. The rationale undergirding this optimism was remarkably similar.

First, it was based on the promise of pro-growth policies undertaken in 2017 like tax reform and regulatory reform. 

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Second, it was premised on the potential for further pro-growth advances in the near future like continued regulatory reform, smart trade policies and critically necessary investments in infrastructure.

 

In other words, if we want to keep the momentum going, then Washington needs to enact a substantial infrastructure package as soon as possible. It’s an important message and one we’re taking to Capitol Hill today as part of the Infrastructure Working Group, bringing together a wide range of viewpoints, from labor, to retail, to finance, to agriculture. We are united in our determination to demonstrate broad support for infrastructure and see the type of action we think is necessary.

The time is now to develop and advance an infrastructure investment package that can improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of our nation’s infrastructure systems. The investments we make should be substantial, they should be long term, and they should touch each of the different types of infrastructure that will be needed to expand our economy further, grow jobs more and ensure American companies and workers are best positioned to compete in the global economy of the 21st century.

Not only does that mean making a $1.3 trillion infrastructure investment over 10 years, but it also means enhancing municipal bonds and tools similar to it, fixing chronic challenges related to the Highway Trust Fund and streamlining the federal permitting process. Whatever Congress passes should also encourage the active participation of all levels of government and between the public and private sectors too, because no single partner can do this alone and simply shifting federal responsibilities is not going to move us forward.

Let’s be honest. Everyone knows that the sorry state of our roads and bridges, ports and waterways, airports and water-supply systems is hardly acceptable, and it’s getting worse. Democrats agree. Republicans agree. So, if we all agree, why not finally do something about it in the 115th Congress?

Why not honor our parents’ and grandparents’ hard work to build the infrastructure we rely on today by making it worthy of their shared commitment and sacrifice? It’s something we can do. It’s something we must do. And, as Washington has shown already, it’s something we have the capacity to do — if the drive is there to get it done.

In recent years, Congress has taken notable bipartisan action on infrastructure legislation like the Water Resources Development Act and the highway bill. This year, the Trump administration has already used its executive authority to update and streamline the permitting process.

So, we can get this done. We hope, for the sake of sustaining the forward momentum we’ve recently seen on our economy and also for growing that progress further, that Congress and the administration get the job done as soon as possible. If they do, we’ll be here ready to serve their partners every step of the way.

Stephen Sandherr is CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America.

Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.