Guest Editorial
Tuesday | 16 May, 2017 | 2:15 pm

Fund it, build it

By William Feniger

Infrastructure: Get it off the back burner

MM 0517 guest leadMay 2017 - If we, in the steel industry, were ever to stand up and scream at the top of our lungs about moving forward with the touted $1 trillion for our nation’s infrastructure, now is the time to be heard. The stars are all aligned, Washington.

This country needs to catch up globally and infrastructure is a tried and true way to rebuild America and our economy. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan understood. Infrastructure has, and will, build long-term jobs, economic stability and a foundation to keep us competitive around the world.

America cannot afford to miss this unique opportunity in American history. We have been falling behind in our infrastructure and, therefore, the ability to deliver products efficiently and globally. 

We now have a chance to not only catch up, but once again become the leader in producing and delivering the best products at the most competitive pricing. 

America, we cannot afford to let ourselves miss this generational opportunity. Now is the moment to stand up and accept nothing less than “yes” from those who represent us in Congress as well as at the state and local levels. Tell them that the time to move ahead is already here; not next year, not in four years, but now. 

Rebuild America’s bridges, rails, roads and airports, and start the projects now.

When we combine improvements in infrastructure with other market indicators such as housing starts, commercial construction and growth in manufacturing, there is reason to be optimistic for America’s continued economic strength.

Automobile manufacturing has maintained its 17-million car and light truck production levels, and the energy industry is once again opening fields with rig counts on the rise. The tubular industry is showing nothing but positive results in pricing and production as the government renews our exploration of oil and gas throughout America.

For every job that infrastructure, home building, commercial construction, manufacturing and energy bring to the table, we can count on at least three ancillary jobs created in insurance, hospital, police and other municipal government, and utility services. All of these then become the foundation for our new America.

The steel industry needs to push in all directions to get the infrastructure program off the back burner and turn up the heat. We need to tell our elected officials that they must either do their job or lose their job. The consequences of postponing America’s infrastructure needs any longer will have a hugely negative impact on America’s, and their own, political future.

It has been decades since we have had this opportunity to generate true growth and renew our nation’s very circulatory system. Failing to act now will only jeopardize the health of our nation and future generations. MM

William Feniger is president and CEO of Universal Metals LLC and American Posts, Toledo, Ohio, 419/726-0850, He has served on the board of the Association of Steel Distributors and chaired ASD’s conference committee.

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