RWR 2019: Guarded optimism about the US infrastructure spending bill

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 02:29:18 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego
       

Any proposed US infrastructure spending bill will face several challenges, according to panelists in the 10th annual SteelOrbis Rebar & Wire Rod conference held in Las Vegas on January 21, 2019.

The panel included Tom Gibson, President and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), John D. Foster, President of Kurt Orban Partners and Chairman of the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS), and Chris Casey, President of  Independent Steel Alliance (ISA).

Gibson, said that he was “guardedly optimistic” about an infrastructure bill in 2019. Gibson noted the extensive requirements in drafting and building support for the bill, funding and the recent political changes in the US’ legislative branch as items that would likely push the bill into 2020.  In regards financing the project, Gibson stated that the gas tax may be a possibility along with a tax that incorporates electric vehicles, which use the roads but cannot be taxed via a gas tax. Gibson added the possibility of incorporating private-public partnerships and state cooperative funding as potential ways to move forward with infrastructure spending projects. Foster expressed lack of optimism that Congress can come together with a bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

Casey added that high steel prices are bad for infrastructure planning because when prices change orginial bid offers, the projects are usually scrapped. Casey noted that uncertainty makes private developers wary and unable to proceed with investments. However, Casey noted optimism in several construction sectors, especially, health care, as an aging US population will soon need senior residential facilities.

 


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