AGC Testifies Before Congress on Workforce & Inflation

An AGC of South Dakota contractor told Congress how new labor mandates would make workforce issues worse and that construction material cost increases were significantly impacting projects.

On April 27, Kari Karst, President and Chief Executive Officer of BX Civil and Construction and an active member of the AGC of South Dakota, testified for AGC of America before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. In her testimony, she highlighted the challenges of finding enough skilled workers to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. Specifically, she mentioned how the administration’s recent attempts to prioritize the selection of projects based on labor preferences and the mandate on project labor agreements through executive order paper over the real problems facing the construction workforce and miss the mark. She stressed that these policies will neither attract nor prepare workers for a long-term career in construction. They attempt to treat the symptoms—not the root causes—of workforce shortages.

In addition, she discussed the challenges related to the current supply chain – specifically the availability and price escalation of materials. She stressed how the lead time in bidding these projects is so long that they are unable to predict the availability and price of some of these materials. In addition, companies are unable to foresee things like a Russian invasion, spiking oil prices, and soaring inflation and therefore, in some instances, are forced to absorb these increases because there is no price escalation clause available to them.

Also related to the supply chain, AGC led an effort with 58 other associations, calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation to dedicate as much as allowable by law in discretionary grants to support projects that will facilitate and ease the movement of goods. Specifically, they should focus on improvements to port infrastructure, addressing freight bottlenecks at major highway interchanges, or investing in grade separation projects. These investments will not only improve safety and air quality but will better the U.S. economy.

For more information, contact Alex Etchen at [email protected].

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