This year is headed to a close amid a significant amount of questions and debates related to the infrastructure bill and proposed tax changes; lingering questions about COVID-19 vaccine mandates; supply chain issues, delayed projects, and labor shortages; and questions about how to plan for a future that seems more uncertain than ever before.
Strategic planning for an uncertain future requires CFMs to reflect on the past and learn from those experiences in order to look ahead. Application of those lessons learned can help companies take advantage of opportunities or learn from past mistakes or failures.
This article will review the changes and uncertainty facing the construction industry, offer guidelines on planning, and explore how to implement a solid data strategy to navigate those changes.
Uncertainty in Washington
Very similar to the end of 2020, there is uncertainty in Washington as 2021 comes to a close. At the time this article was written, there were ongoing discussions and debates surrounding an infrastructure bill and proposed tax changes.
The Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
In late July 2021, the Senate reached an agreement on elements of the Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which would provide approximately $550 billion of additional funding.1 At that time, the estimated allocation for some of the additional funding was as follows:
- $110 billion for highways, bridges, and major transportation projects
- $73 billion for electric power upgrades
- $66 billion for passenger freight and rail
- $65 billion for broadband
- $55 billion for drinking water infrastructure
- $39 billion for public transit
- $25 billion for airports
- $17 billion for maritime ports2
The measure would also reauthorize the federal highway and transit programs for five years,3 which was previously scheduled to lapse on September 30, 2021.4
The uncertainty lies in what aspects of this proposal will actually be realized, how much funding will be allocated to the various aspects, and how it will be financed.
The potential for increased investment in these aspects of our country’s infrastructure could positively affect the entire construction industry, and it will directly benefit those companies that perform the types of work outlined previously. The improved infrastructure of our country will also create ancillary opportunities for other construction companies as created by the additional investments. Contractors should keep a close eye on how this bill evolves and what opportunities may lie in the markets in which they serve.