Infrastructure is finally getting some attention again, despite and because of the cornavirus. Congress and the White House are calling for an infrastructure bill to be included in the fourth COVID-19 relief package.
“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country!”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House is working on an infrastructure plan that will include funding for roads, bridges, rail and public transit agencies as well as community health centers, drinking water systems and broadband.
Five major steel industry groups have banded together to urge that Congress move forward quickly on an infrastructure bill.
“American businesses will not likely feel the full economic impact of COVID-19 until later this year, as social distancing and shelter-in-place measures undoubtedly save lives but continue to slow economic activity in the manufacturing and construction sectors” the group said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. “Making a long-term and robust infrastructure investment now will not only respond to the urgent transportation system needs that are well known, but it also will create high paying jobs allowing businesses and families to recover from this extremely difficult economic shock.”
The letter written by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), The Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI), and Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) noted that 38 percent of America’s 616,000 bridges are in need of replacement or rehabilitation, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inventory.
“With such a staggering backlog of substandard bridges, there is significant opportunity to put Americans back to work and back on the road to economic recovery,” they wrote. “We can…improve quality of life in our cities, towns and rural areas and drive commerce and supplies across our nation by making infrastructure investment a critical component of the next stimulus package by including Buy America provisions and using domestically produced and fabricated steel.”
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