AGC member Lauren Benford testifies before Congress on inflation and the need for price adjustment clauses, a clear and transparent Buy America waiver process, and an end to the regulatory onslaught.
On January 18, AGC of Wyoming past president Lauren Benford of Reiman Corp testified on behalf of AGC of America before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on the impacts of inflation on transportation construction, among other things. Benford, an active member of AGC through the Highway and Transportation Division, is the third generation of a 76-year old construction company.
She highlighted in her testimony how inflation has driven up the cost of construction. Specifically, she noted that from February 2020 to November 2023 the industry experienced an:
- 113% increase in the price of diesel;
- 60% increase in the price of steel mill products;
- 44% increase in the price of gypsum (used in a lot of building materials); and
- 31% increase in the price of cement.
In addition to economic data and noting the need for price adjustment clauses, Benford highlighted regulatory challenges impacting the industry. For example, she explained how new Buy America requirements have added to the uncertainty construction companies are already experiencing. She went on to stress the importance of “depoliticizing” the Buy America waiver process to ensure projects that need a waiver can move forward and construction jobs are not jeopardized. Finally, she highlighted concerns with the Federal Highway Administration’s recently released greenhouse gas performance measure rule that would make it harder for some states, including her home state of Wyoming, to invest in road and bridge projects.
Members of the committee also heard from Roger Millar, Secretary of Washington State Department of Transportation, Stephen Edwards, CEO of the Virginia Port Authority, and Jeffrey Tucker, CEO of Tucker Company (a freight logistics firm).
AGC of America thanks Lauren on a job well done and the staff at AGC of Wyoming for their help preparing for the hearing. The association strives to ensure that her testimony translates into deliverable action for the industry.
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