“The damaging fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected how we sustain economic progress,” said Doug Carlson, NUCA’s CEO. “This legislation recognizes the important role the federal government must play in getting this nation back on its feet. This new law will speed up coronavirus vaccine distribution to industry employees and their families. And the new resources this bill directs to the utility construction industry will keep clean water flowing and help build out better fiber-optic broadband systems in thousands of American communities.“
Utility construction industry contractors and suppliers will find several provisions of this legislation supportive of their efforts to keep their business operations going:
- $10 billion for broadband-related infrastructure projects, including subsidies for schools, libraries, and homeowners to obtain modern Internet access.
- $350 billion in aid for state, local, and territorial governments, which will help these local entities continue to direct resources to community infrastructure projects or fund new ones. These new resources will greatly assist municipalities without having to choose between critical COVID-19 health services and must-have projects such as new water or wastewater lines.
- $160 billion for coronavirus vaccine and testing programs to help stop the spread of the virus and end the pandemic. The plan includes resources to create a national vaccine distribution program and offer free shots to all U.S. residents, as well as helping local jurisdictions implement testing programs and expand laboratory capacities. Expanding these programs will allows essential industries like utility construction to ensure the good health of their employees on and off the jobsite.
- Other provisions of interest to construction businesses include $8 billion for airports to make changes to facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Another $15 billion is allocated for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans and $7.25 billion for forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The legislation would also send a third round of stimulus payments directly to eligible individuals, up to $1,400.
Congress now turns its attention to a larger infrastructure package that must include increased resources for repairing and rebuilding existing water and wastewater systems, as well fortifying our national infrastructure against severe weather events. Infrastructure projects provide well-paying jobs and economic growth for America.
NUCA members see first-hand everyday our neglected American infrastructure and call on Congress and the Biden Administration to provide this year more public and private resources to address this national crisis. A comprehensive list of our industry’s 2021 legislative infrastructure priorities can be examined at www.nuca.com.