The Portland Cement Association (PCA) issued the following statement in response to publication of the American Council for Capital Formation’s (ACCF) new study, “How to Shape U.S. Infrastructure Policy.”
“America deserves world-class infrastructure, and to get there we need to change our thinking to include not just how best to fund it, but also how best to spend it,” said PCA President and CEO Michael Ireland. “This report highlights the importance of life-cycle cost analysis and competition in paving – something that over the years has faded from infrastructure policy discussions. If federal and state decision makers took this report as a playbook, America would see tremendous taxpayer cost savings and stronger infrastructure built to last long into the future.”
PCA issued the following statement in response to the President’s budget proposal for revitalizing the nation’s infrastructure.
“We are pleased to see the Administration’s infrastructure proposal, and see it as a place to start as we work with Congress to craft long-term, sustainable legislation,” said Ireland. “Short-term, stop-gap funding bills have contributed to the poor state of our roads, bridges, waterways and runways. We urge Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to quickly pass a bill that supports jobs and the economy.”
PCA lauded President Donald Trump’s call for $1.5 trillion to be invested in revitalizing the nation’s infrastructure, and urged Congress to take swift legislative action to fully fund and sustain projects now and into the future.
“America’s cement producers are proud to play a critical role in what the President so aptly described as our nation of builders,” said Ireland. “Today, our industry is ready to help America both rebuild long-neglected infrastructure, and construct new-and-improved transportation networks capable of serving the nation long into the future.”
Ireland added the cement industry’s strong support for swift legislative action to fund such infrastructure investments, including the need to address significant federal funding gaps.
“Taxpayers deserve to see the best return on their investment. That’s why we are seeking long-term, sustainable infrastructure funding that addresses the federal Highway Trust Fund’s shortfalls and maximizes the value of taxpayer investments,” Ireland said.
Economic momentum supported by tax reform and federal infrastructure programs will play key roles in the demand for concrete construction in the years ahead, said Ed Sullivan, Portland PCA senior vice president and chief economist. At a press conference during the 2018 World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Sullivan offered a glimpse at the association’s upcoming Spring Forecast for cement production and concrete construction.
Sullivan noted the strong economy comes in context of continued strain to find skilled workers, including those needed for construction projects. He also noted that recent immigration policies will add to the workforce shortage.
Weather conditions and other economic factors prompted PCA to revise its 2017 Fall Forecast down slightly, though its fundamental assessments pertaining to the economy, construction markets, and cement consumption remain on target.
“There is little doubt that the near-term outlook for construction and cement consumption in 2018 and 2019 remain favorable,” he said. “Strengthening economic conditions, with the addition of fiscal stimulus, and in the context of already low unemployment could awaken inflationary pressures. Down the road, this could lead to an even more stringent monetary policy, leading to an acceleration in interest rate increases and an eventual cooling of construction markets. If this scenario plays out, it will likely take time to gestate and not materialize to a significant degree until after 2019.”