National Steel Bridge Alliance
Transportation and infrastructure provide the backbone of our economy, allowing our nation to collectively move goods and services within and across state lines efficiently.
In 2018, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated that the country has a whopping 9 million roadway lane-miles, and our National Bridge Inventory consists of more than 617,000 bridges.
These crucial links must be maintained to ensure that people and goods get to their destination safely.
The highway and public transportation funding authorized by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94) expires on September 30, 2020, and the Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money by 2021 if we don't do something soon to fix it.
National Steel Bridge Alliance Priorities
1. Long-term, robust, and sustainable transportation and infrastructure funding
The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and its bridge division, the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA), welcome any proposal aimed at fixing America's aging infrastructure. Our nation's bridges are dangerously behind on maintenance or inadequate for current needs. 37% of America's 616,000 bridges are in need of replacement or rehabilitation, according to the Federal Highway Administration's National Bridge Inventory. With such a large backlog of bridge projects, it is essential to renew--and expand--the current federal highway funding. Reductions in infrastructure maintenance will only exacerbate the problem as our bridges continue to be neglected. Providing states with long-term, predictable, and flexible financing allows them to look forward and commit to major infrastructure needs like bridge repair and construction.
2. Expedited and efficient regulatory planning and reviews
A six-year transportation bill of at least $100 billion annually would support more than 2.18 million American jobs and rebuild our underperforming infrastructure. Infrastructure funding should be accompanied by regulatory reforms that significantly shorten the permitting and approval process for project delivery to put more people to work quickly. Streamlined regulations would also make America more competitive, supporting the basic needs of U.S. businesses and their workers.
3. Commitment to Buy America for infrastructure investments, across all public and private funding sources
Infrastructure is a public trust that should require Buy America principles, even if financing comes from private sources. While current Buy America requirements apply only to projects that receive federal funding, the underlying principles should apply to all public infrastructure projects, regardless of how specific project financing may be arranged.
American industry should drive American progress.
AISC and NSBA strongly support the adoption of explicit Buy America requirements in policy and legislation. For example:
a. Tax Credits
Tax credits currently incentivize a variety of private investments for the public good, including research and development, energy exploration, urban investment, and energy-efficient consumer products. If a federal tax credit program is used to promote private investment in public infrastructure, the credits should only be available for projects that comply with Buy America requirements.
b. P-3 Projects
The "Public" component of Public-Private Partnerships (P-3s) acknowledges the inherent public interest in infrastructure. Accordingly, P-3 infrastructure projects should carry the same Buy America requirements as projects receiving taxpayer-financed federal-aid and assistance, regardless of whether the P-3 is engaged in the initial construction of a project or in a sale/lease/toll arrangement.
c. Infrastructure Bank
Any federal legislation or regulation that authorizes an infrastructure bank should make the loans used to support infrastructure projects subject to Buy America rules, similar to the rules for TIFIA credit assistance projects.
AISC and NSBA members are ready to fabricate and supply steel for any bridge and structure that will serve our national needs for decades to come. The investment is essential to grow our economy, our jobs, and our national strength.
NSBA position papers
Transportation industry resources
- March 31, 2020 | Five major steel industry groups strongly urged Congress to include significant infrastructure investment in the next phase of COVID-19 stimulus legislation to provide a clear path toward our nation's recovery.
- April 16, 2020 | NSBA sent a letter to Congressional leadership, urging them to include an immediate $50 billion in flexible federal funding to offset state budget shortfalls.