Will America’s potential infra-bill only fill the gaps?
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an economic recession that has deeply impacted the United States’ ability to address its infrastructure needs. With disrupted global supply chains and government revenue streams evaporating seemingly overnight, any potential infrastructure legislation is likely to fill the revenue gaps before it can stimulate new construction.
It is clear that US infrastructure spending is required. However, as has always been the case, identifying funding sources is a challenge.
A bill introduced in the House of Representatives at the end of January 2020, before COVID-19 became a global pandemic, called the Moving Forward Framework, set out a $760bn plan for investment across the nation’s infrastructure. The plan focused on specific areas such as highways, transit, aviation, rail, water, energy, and broadband and communications; with the top three investment allocations being highways ($329bn), transit ($105bn) and broadband and communications ($86bn).
While this sets out a logical spending plan, it's unlikely that these investments will be made prior to the immediate to short-term funding support for small businesses, dealing with exploding unemployment, and providing essential workers with the equipment they need to conduct their work safely.
With that in mind, we consider the current state of the top three allocation areas identified in the Moving Forward Framework here (pdf).
Please visit our COVID-19 response page for all of our resources relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector.