Associated Builders and Contractors member Aric Dreher, assistant general manager, Cianbro, headquartered in Pittsfield, Maine, today testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit during the hearing “Reviewing the Implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”
Testifying on behalf of ABC, Dreher said that, since the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law in 2021, the construction industry has been faced with record inflation, supply chain delays, continued workforce shortages and an ever-increasing regulatory burden.
“The bipartisan IIJA has been hailed as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build and repair our nation’s most critical infrastructure, including the highways and bridges that have been in need of investment for decades,” said Dreher, but “it is becoming increasingly difficult for construction projects to continue as originally planned.”
Dreher said that construction materials prices are up 11% since the IIJA was signed into law; the industry workforce shortage is more than half a million; and supply chain snarls have resulted in limited materials availability and unpredictable delivery times. Coupling these economic headaches with cumbersome regulations like Buy America provisions and anti-competitive, inflationary project labor agreement mandates on federal and federally assisted construction projects via Executive Order 14063 could potentially negate the intended positive impact of IIJA funds throughout communities.
“Americans deserve more efficient and effective policies that will encourage all qualified contractors and their skilled workforces to compete to build long-lasting projects at the best price,” said Dreher. “Upholding the bipartisan principles included in the IIJA will be key to the enduring success of this legislation and the effective modernization of our country’s infrastructure.”
Founded in 1949, Cianbro is one of the country’s largest, 100% employee-owned, open shop construction and construction services companies, operating in more than 40 states and employing more than 4,000 team members. Overseeing all operations in Cianbro’s infrastructure market, Dreher led teams on some of the company’s most innovative and challenging infrastructure projects, including the phased development of the District Wharf in Washington, D.C.; construction of the 175-foot-tall Capital Wheel at National Harbor overlooking the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Maryland; and the U.S. Naval Academy’s McNair Road Bridge replacement in Annapolis, Maryland.
Read the full testimony here.