In early August, the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which includes $550 billion in new funding for broadband, utilities, and transportation. But, what exactly does this mean and how might it impact the construction and trucking industries?
While much is yet to be seen, let’s take a closer look at the bill and what we might be able to expect in the coming years.
What does the Infrastructure Bill include?
The core of the bill focuses on improving physical infrastructure around the country. This includes funding for the following:
- Transportation projects like bridges, roads, and public transit, including ways to make roads safer
- Clean drinking water initiatives to eliminate lead pipes and chemicals in service lines
- Reconnecting communities divided by large highways
- Investments to fight against climate change and mitigate damage from disasters like floods and wildfires
- Providing high-speed internet access to more Americans at a lower cost
- Building a network of electric vehicle chargers and investing in other electric forms of transportation
- Cleaning up environmental sites like abandoned mines and gas wells
How the Bill Will Impact the Construction Industry?
So, what does all of this mean for the industry? The hope is that it will add around 2 million jobs per year for American workers, and the construction industry will see a large portion of these new workers.
Currently, the construction industry is expecting to see a projected growth of 3.2% throughout the remainder of this year and 3.4% in 2022. The new road and bridge updates will create new construction sites around the country. This will benefit many of us as there will be an increased need for bringing materials to the sites and hauling away the waste. Similarly, bridge refurbishments often require industrial fabrics, which will lead to greater demand. This rise in demand could mean higher prices if supply chains aren’t fixed by then, but that remains to be seen.
Benefits to the Trucking Industry
The trucking industry looks to benefit from the bill as well. Because roads and bridges across the country will be repaired through funding from the bill, truck drivers will have an easier time getting where they need to go. Dave Heller, vice president of governmental affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association, explained, “If we fix our infrastructure, get better lanes, get more lanes, that congestion is reduced and we can effectively travel more efficiently on our roads today, it helps the industry effectively move freight with capacity as tight as it is today.”
Likewise, the president and CEO of the American Trucking Association, Chris Spear, showed support for the bill. Spear called it “a groundbreaking step toward revitalizing America’s decaying roads and bridges, supporting our supply chain economy with the foundation they need to grow, compete globally, and lead the world. The bill also contains significant measures to grow and strengthen trucking’s essential workforce.”
Aside from updates to roads, part of the bill calls for commercial vehicles across the country to be equipped with automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems within the first two years, making the roads safer for truckers and other drivers on the road. Heller says, “AEB technology is proven to stop accidents from happening. We as an industry need to look to prevent accidents, not justify them.”
With this new bill in place, it looks like that goal will be easier to achieve.
As of now, these changes look to benefit our customers in many ways. We’ll continue to monitor updates as a result of the bill and report back here when new information becomes available.