Highway Paving: Investment Our Future

Last week Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, was invited to meet with President-elect Barack Obama’s transportation transition team to offer AGC's insight onto what the new Administration should do in its first year. AGC made a pitch for a healthy amount of transportation infrastructure investment, and I think Sandherr and AGC are right on the money. From the standpoint of this industry, infrastructure work, especially work on roads and highways, gets the big pavers back on the big jobs and frees the rest of the paving community up to work on commercial and industrial jobs as well as on low-volume roads. The long-line stripers get more work as more lane miles are paved, and the rest of the paving and pavement maintenance community can settle back into their respective niches -- without being pestered by the big guys foraging for any work they can find. So from an industry-specific perspective increased infrastructure investment is a no-brainer. But looking at it from a bigger picture, investment in infrastructure is more than a short-term economic fix (employing more people, generating more personal income and taxes, keeping people off government subsidies), it's a long-term fix in that what is constructed or repaired (whether we're talking about roads, bridges... levees) will last for years or decades. It's an investment in the future in more ways than one, and I while I'm certainly not the first to call for increased infrastructure investment, now might just be the time where it will -- and has to -- happen.