The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) urged House members to develop an economic recovery plan that includes provisions to boost construction activity during an Economic Forum in Washington, D.C., today.
"A significant boost to construction in the form of increased infrastructure will create jobs and increase the quality of life for millions of Americans who rely daily on out nation's infrastructure, from roads and bridges, to water systems and schools," said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC's CEO.
"We congratulate the House on passage of a stimulus appropriations bill prior to adjournment on October 3, and we urge the Senators, who rejected a stimulus bill on September 26, to reconsider," Sandherr added.
In late September, the House passed an economic stimulus bill (264-158) which included approximately $34 billion for infrastructure investment, including $12.8 billion for the federal-aid highway program; $3.6 billion for transit; $600 million for airport capital improvement projects; $7.5 billion for water infrastructure; $5 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; $3 billion for public school reconstruction; $500 million for Amtrak; and $1 billion for public housing construction. A similar bill in the Senate failed on a procedural vote (52-42), according to an AGC press release.
It is estimated that $100 billion of new infrastructure projects have been delayed due to the reduced credit market. Coupled with construction materials cost inflation, fewer contracts are going out to bid, resulting in 52,000 lost construction jobs and a further deteriorating national infrastructure, according to AGC.
"Construction has always been an engine of economic stimulus and can play that role once again," said Sandherr. "Increases in infrastructure investment can be quickly put into play and will have a direct, immediate and dramatic impact on the economy."