Push for COVID Relief Funding Flexibility

AGC-backed regulatory and legislative changes would help alleviate supply chain challenges and further help fund infrastructure projects.

AGC recently called on U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to clarify that American Rescue Plan Act funding can be used by state and local governments to mitigate the effects of the supply chain delays and shortages. This would include, but not be limited to, material, products, and equipment price increases and the effects they are having on project costs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, price increases for steel mill products were up 22% in 2021 and up an additional 74% in 2022. Plastic construction products saw similar increases, up 7.6% in 2021 and 36% in 2022. Lead times for procurement and delivery of many of these materials has dramatically increased as well, and prospects for the rest of the year are worse.

In addition, it appears that legislation that would clarify that several categories of infrastructure investments—including transportation projects—and disaster relief are eligible for unspent COVID-19 relief dollars, eliminating ambiguity as to whether such projects could receive these funds will be included in the next round of COVID relief funding. The COVID-19 pandemic ripped a gaping hole in the budgets of many state and local governments, making this assistance crucial as the nation’s economic recovery continues. The full text of the relief package has yet to be released, but the sponsor of this proposal has indicated that it will be included.

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