New Report: It’s Time to Build. Here’s an Alternative to Government Driven Infrastructure Investments.
WASHINGTON— Left to their own devices, the American people would pursue construction projects often and enthusiastically. Unfortunately, the construction industry in the United States is far too often held back by its regulatory environment, and calls for massive government investments in infrastructure fail to address these real policy hurdles.
In a new Joint Economic Committee report, economist Alan Cole makes the case for reforms that would unleash a stronger construction industry.
The report argues that the construction industry provides a great deal of opportunity and fairly high wages to workers who otherwise have weaker opportunities in the job market: particularly, men without college educations and Latinos. The high and growing demand for structures makes construction a more sustainable source of blue-collar jobs than many manufacturing industries. In addition, construction helps create a stronger supply of housing, making it more affordable to raise a family.
Rather than pursuing new government interventions in infrastructure, policymakers should consider reforming the regulatory obstacles that hinder construction, including NEPA, discretionary review, and residential land-use laws. Clarity in regulatory frameworks, reforms at the local level, an improved tax code, reduced tariffs, and stable monetary policy would all help the construction industry reach its full potential.
The Joint Economic Committee is Congress’s bicameral economic research center and home of the Social Capital Project, led by Ranking Member Mike Lee.