Even before President Obama signed into law on Tuesday the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, lobbying groups representing all facets of the construction industry were picking apart the measure line by line to see where monies landed for various infrastructure and other building projects
Sources: American Road & Transportation Builders Association, Washington, D.C.; Associated General Contractors of America, Arlington, Va.; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.
Even before President Obama signed into law the $787 billion American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 stimulus plan, lobbying groups representing all facets of the construction industry were picking apart the measure line by line to see where monies landed for various infrastructure and other building projects.
AGC’s analysis pegs more than $135 billion for infrastructure and construction. Chief Economist Ken Simonson concludes that in the next two years, the funding would account for 650,000 construction jobs and 300,000 positions in related fields, such as equipment and material supply. “Whether or not you wear a hard hat for a living, these construction investments will make a difference for the better,” he says. “Beyond the immediate benefits, the new infrastructure projects will make businesses more efficient, commuting more reliable, and our economy more prosperous for years to come.”
ARTBA’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations Dave Bauer gave a breakdown of the $48 billion in new transportation investments, including $27.5 billion for highways; $8.4 billion for public transportation; $1.5 billion for a new program to fund large transportation projects with $20 millionÒ$300 million budgets; $1.3 billion for airport improvements; and, $8.4 billion for high-speed passenger rail. One stipulation in the roads and bridges portion of the plan requires states to obligate at least half of the highway funding within 120 days or the money is redistributed.
NRMCA noted in its detailed look at the stimulus fund distribution that $18 billion will be aimed for clean water, flood control and environmental restoration investments, which will create 375,000 jobs. An additional $18.5 billion is being given to modernize federal and other public structures, with about half the money tagged for school construction and the other half going into military housing and increasing the energy efficiency of federal office buildings.
Upon President Obama’s Feb. 17 signing of the stimulus plan, PCA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs John Shaw noted that additional funding would be needed for deteriorating roads and bridges. There are many commendable portions of the÷bill, but there is still much work to be done, he explained. The best way to get America working again is through the most measurable metric–road and bridge construction. We hope Congress will continue to address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and continue putting Americans back to work by making transportation-related legislation a priority in the 111th session.
Shaw stressed that keeping the states and local agencies accountable for the money that has been allocated to them is vital to moving the economy forward. The administration has recognized the importance of transparency and accountability for the programs within the bill. Our infrastructure must be constructed with the highest-quality materials that reduce future maintenance and ensure durability, he said.