AGC’s Legislative Priorities Urge Global Competitiveness

Wed January 24, 2007 - National Edition

“Today we renewed our commitment to promote strategic federal investment in transportation infrastructure, environmental infrastructure and improve the energy efficiency and utility of existing building infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Sandherr spoke after AGC’s executive board adopted a set of legislative priorities for the 110th Congress, which convened on Jan. 4.

“Our new priorities also stress the necessity of a favorable regulatory and tax climate to stimulate domestic business growth and international competitiveness,” added Sandherr. “We believe that the U.S. must improve its basic infrastructure to ensure our economic edge.”

Construction is a major employer with more than 7 million employees. Approximately $1.2 trillion of construction was put in place in the past 12 months, and the industry purchased approximately $600 billion of equipment and materials from U.S. manufacturers. A healthy construction industry is vital to a thriving U.S. economy.

“Yet during the last three years our industry has coped with annual double digit cost increases impacting critical construction components from cement and steel to gypsum and copper. The global demand for these products has caused this price surge,” said Sandherr.

“There has been a steep acceleration of critical infrastructure investment in the Middle East, Asia and India. The economic growth in these countries is being perpetuated by massive investments in ports, roads, rail and other forms of critical economic infrastructure. Therefore, the U.S. must do more to keep our infrastructure from falling behind.

“While these infrastructure investments will help keep the country competitive, Congress must also address efforts to improve the U.S. immigration process and invest in the U.S. workforce,” Sandherr continued.

“Tax policies should not punish U.S. businesses, and environmental laws need to lead the world but also balance the economic needs of the country. AGC plans to be in the middle of the debate on each of these central questions that will face the 110th Congress.”

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