The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate is now before the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to put the bill to a vote by the end of the month, and the clock is ticking. By Sept. 30, funding for the federal transfer of dollars to the states for infrastructure maintenance expires.
Michael Johnson, President of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why it is essential for Congress to pass the infrastructure bill and not get bogged down in politics.
A substantial down payment on the backbone of America
Johnson pointed out the country has not made any meaningful investments in infrastructure since President Eisenhower, just after the end of World War II. Since then, America has fallen behind the rest of the world. China has invested in its own infrastructure as it challenges the U.S. on the world stage — including $8 billion in infrastructure investments in the last year alone.
The $1 trillion infrastructure bill would only be a down payment, but it is still a substantial investment, Johnson said. The Society of Civil Engineers estimates it would take $3 trillion in spending to bring the nation’s infrastructure from a C grade to a B, he pointed out.
Bill has bipartisan support, but the clock is ticking
The bill received unprecedented support in the Senate with 69 votes, including from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It is critical the House pass the bill by the end of the month and not get bogged down in politics, Johnson said. With infrastructure maintenance funding set to expire at the end of the month, states will not have money to fill potholes — much less fund infrastructure projects designed to boost the economy, he said.
Johnson is confident the bill will pass. Congress does its best work when it is up against a deadline and has no other option, he said.
The good news is the country has the manufacturing capacity, the raw materials and quality union labor to rebuild the infrastructure called for in the proposed legislation. Congress needs to pass the bill and make it a reality, he said.