Leonard Toenjes, CAE, president of AGC of Missouri.
Where is the Missouri construction industry headed in 2017?
If anyone tells you they have a certain answer to this question, they probably also have a bridge in Brooklyn they would like to sell you. After a series of surprises in 2016, we should expect changes on several fronts pertinent to our industry — legislative issues, labor relations and infrastructure funding as well as the economy overall.
With a new administration in Washington D.C. and a Missouri legislature that is largely controlled by the Republican party for the first time in many years, we can expect there will be some significant changes coming from federal and state lawmakers. Our partners in the industry — AGC of America and ARTBA — will continue to champion issues that are important to the industry and will continue to keep us up to date on departmental appointments and regulatory changes. Topics taken up by the National Labor Relations Board and the Environmental Protection Agency are two leading indicators of where our industry is heading. Early indications at the state level, the Missouri legislature, point to changes on right-to-work, tort reform, regulatory reform and tax credit issues — all of which have significant impact on Missouri contractors.
AGC of Missouri also is investing resources and working with organized labor to best manage the changing labor environment for Missouri contractors. We are working to help these contractors remain competitive for years to come.
There has been a lot of speculation about the trillion-dollar infrastructure program proposed by our new president, and uncertainty regarding how these funds will be generated and distributed throughout the United States transportation system. Currently, Missouri faces a budget challenge as it spends down its reserves to keep the state program solvent for a few more years. We need to continue to reach out to legislators to advocate for infrastructure funding.
As the economy continues to improve, contractors are expressing optimism about 2017, and many of these changes could be good news for the construction industry. In 2017, AGC of Missouri will continue to advocate for changes that will benefit the state's contractors. -AGC of Missouri