The endless list of reported projects and construction opportunities for contractors will be held up in Congress pending congressional action on a special appropriations bill or passage of new tax incentives for private infrastructure bonds.
While there are many new Trump Administration promises to address the national infrastructure needs for roads, airports, water systems, bridges, and public buildings, including military bases and veterans’ health facilities, no funding has been approved nor bonds created to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars in project costs.
Already this year, Congress has been outspoken in its resistance to raising tax revenue for these needed investments.
President Trump has suggested a new, massive tax break for private funding of infrastructure through infrastructure investment bonds and perhaps a federal infrastructure bank. The Administration envisions that private investors would purchase infrastructure bonds in sufficient amounts to support a wide variety of projects.
Funding requests for every type of project have already come in from every state to address infrastructure construction needs that are long overdue. In addition to such new projects as airports, harbors, highways, and water systems, the federal effort would include funds for repairs to existing infrastructure systems.
SMACNA endorses landmark energy savings bill
After falling just short of a final floor vote in December, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have reintroduced their comprehensive energy legislation again featuring a major building efficiency section.
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC) (S. 385) contains key energy efficiency policy reforms that will strengthen the economy and reduce energy waste and environmental pollution.
In particular, SMACNA is in favor of the commercial, residential, and institutional efficiency section and the provisions in Title II that reform industrial efficiency programs at the U.S. Department of Energy that support supply-side energy efficiency opportunities in the manufacturing sector.
Components of a previous version of the bill were signed into law by President Obama in April 2015 and are already helping individuals and companies save energy, create jobs, and reduce emissions.
Taken together, these bipartisan reforms include common-sense initiatives that will create nearly 200,000 new jobs and help the economy by saving consumers $16.2 billion annually in reduced energy costs by 2030. The ESIC has received broad bipartisan support and passed the Senate last year by a vote of 85-12.
The bill uses a variety of low-cost tools to help energy users become more efficient while making the country’s largest energy user, the federal government, reduce its energy use through the use of energy-efficient technology. The bill incentivizes the use of efficiency technologies that are commercially available today, can be widely deployed across the country, and quickly pay for themselves through energy savings. The bill will help the United States transition to a more energy-efficient economy while driving economic growth and private sector job creation.
You can also help SMACNA and the industry by reaching out to your lawmakers to let them know where you stand on these issues and more. Find their contact information on SMACNA’s Advocacy webpage. Then call, email, and meet them to tell them about the issues that affect our industry.