Jan. 8 President-elect Barack Obama announced his vision for an economic stimulus package that will “invest in what works.” Key to that package will be the creation of jobs through investment in infrastructure energy, health care and education.
According to Brian McCarthy, president and CEO of the Portland Cement Association (PCA), infrastructure investment can have a significant impact on job growth and the nation’s recovery from the current economic recession.
“In November, 15 percent of the reported layoffs occurred in the construction industry. Other industries such as manufacturing were hit even harder,” McCarthy said. “Infrastructure funding could generate jobs on both an immediate and long-term basis in all areas of the economy. For every 10 construction jobs created by a project, the community gains 17 additional jobs that stay in the region.”
However, according to the PCA, simply building and repairing roads, bridges and buildings is not enough for continued economic stability. Infrastructure must be constructed with the highest quality materials that reduce future maintenance and ensure durability. Obama stressed the need for “smart investments today” to allow for future growth.
“By investing properly in our infrastructure we can free up more money for states and communities to use for vital services like schools and police,” McCarthy said. “For example, concrete pavements can last up to 30 years before resurfacing is required. Asphalt needs to be resurfaced every 8 or 9 years. If concrete was used instead of asphalt for all new roads built between now and 2015, state governments could save more than $100 billion during the life of the roads. It is an economical and sustainable choice for meeting our growing demands.”