Washington, D.C. - Ohio general contractor Brian Burgett today told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to recommend to the full House economic stimulus activities that would have an immediate positive impact on economic activity.
"An infusion of federal infrastructure funding would have a direct stimulus effect by putting more contractors and their employees back to work," said Burgett, President and CEO of the Kokosing Construction Company, Fredericktown, Ohio. "We have excess capacity at Kokosing and throughout the construction industry. Federal investments will create jobs in the Midwest and throughout the country. Additional public infrastructure projects will allow our industry to maintain our work force and necessitate hiring more workers. It will allow us to purchase equipment and preserve manufacturing jobs."
Burgett testified on behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC strongly supports increased investment for America's transportation, federal and water infrastructure and other public works programs.
Burgett noted that state and local budgets have declined significantly and hampered the ability of those governments to borrow short term, delaying or eliminating various infrastructure improvement projects. With fewer projects to bid on and increased materials prices, contractors and their suppliers are forced to reduce their work force.
"Kokosing employs approximately 3000 workers and the consequence of this decline in construction activity is the anticipated reduction of our work force by 15 to 20 percent in the coming year," said Burgett. "That translates to 450-600 good, skilled, and safe workers who will lose their jobs because of these bad market conditions." Burgett added that there has been a more than five percent decrease in heavy and civil engineering construction employment over the past 16 months, which equates to more than 52,000 construction employees now out of work.
Burgett noted that under current conditions companies will be forced to trim plans for expansion or investment in equipment, leading to a broader negative impact on the economy. "Each year we typically replace ten percent of our equipment fleet and in a growing market we would also purchase additional equipment," said Burgett. "The cost of this investment over the past few years has averaged $35 million per year. We have already canceled some planned purchases for next year and are putting many others on hold until we see what funding is going to be available for new work."
A complete copy of Burgett's remarks and prepared testimony are available online at www.agc.org.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC represents more than 33,000 firms, including 7,500 of America's leading general contractors, and over 12,500 specialty-contracting firms. More than 13,000 service providers and suppliers are associated with AGC through a nationwide network of chapters. Visit the AGC Web site at www.agc.org.