Five major North American steel industry groups have urged Congress to include significant infrastructure investment in the next phase of COVID-19 stimulus legislation to provide a clear path toward recovery.
“American businesses will not likely feel the full economic impact of COVID-19 until later this year, as social distancing and shelter-in-place measures undoubtedly save lives but continue to slow economic activity in the manufacturing and construction sectors” the group said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. “Making a long-term and robust infrastructure investment now will not only respond to the urgent transportation system needs that are well known, but it also will create high paying jobs allowing businesses and families to recover from this extremely difficult economic shock.”
The letter, written by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), The Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI), and Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA), reiterated that 38% of America’s 616,000 bridges are in need of replacement or rehabilitation, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inventory.
“With such a staggering backlog of substandard bridges, there is significant opportunity to put Americans back to work and back on the road to economic recovery,” they wrote. “We can…improve quality of life in our cities, towns and rural areas and drive commerce and supplies across our nation by making infrastructure investment a critical component of the next stimulus package by including Buy America provisions and using domestically produced and fabricated steel.”
The groups concluded that the infrastructure supply chain for steel products used in highway and bridge construction “starts with American steel producers, who have revolutionised the industry by developing clean and efficient steelmaking processes at mills located strategically throughout the country,” noting that steel is sold directly or through national distributors to construction companies and to approximately 1,000 American steel fabricators who have built plants, and created jobs, in virtually every congressional district in America.