The COVID-19 pandemic gripping the nation is taking its toll on construction businesses necessary for building and maintaining critical infrastructure used to transport essential goods and services, deliver clean water and electricity, and protect our national security. Congress must take immediate actions to enable the construction industry to do its part to support efforts to stem the pandemic through the delivery of necessary projects today and allow it to continue to do such work tomorrow.
AGC recommends that Congress take the following actions to protect construction employer cash flows so they can pay workers and maintain operations by:
- Providing additional funding for the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) loan programs for construction small businesses;
- Creating and robustly funding a similar program for construction businesses that do not qualify under the SBA loan programs;
- Providing time and money to contractors for losses incurred when public owners, who utilize federal funding, delay or terminate projects as a result of COVID-19-outbreak; and
- Suspending the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic.
Additionally, AGC and building trades unions agree that Congress must make substantial investments in federal construction accounts and programs to ensure that essential infrastructure is maintained during this crisis. Such accounts and programs include, but are not limited to the:
- Highway Trust Fund;
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund;
- Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund;
- Airport Improvement Program; and
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Military Construction and Civil Works Programs.
Lastly, Congress must also help lay the foundation for the long-term recovery of the industry and its markets by enacting:
- A multi-year reauthorization of federal highway and transit programs and a multi-year reauthorization of the state clean water and drinking water state revolving funds programs;
- Long-term investments in USACE Military Construction and Civil Works and Programs; and
- Long-term investments in social infrastructure (e.g., hospitals, medical clinics, and emergency facilities), among other things.