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American Steelmakers Push for $1 Trillion Infrastructure Boost

Joe Deaux
·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- The American steel industry is pivoting its focus from tariffs to infrastructure, pressing President-elect Joe Biden’s team for a major package that it says could add at least 3 million jobs.

The Steel Manufacturers Association, which represents a handful of producers including the largest U.S. steelmaker, is pushing for a five-year, $1 trillion-plus infrastructure package to be funded as part of a Covid-relief bill. Funding should come from a “modest” increase in the gasoline tax, according to Philip Bell, the group’s president.

The group has shifted to infrastructure after successfully backing tariffs in 2018. The comments come after a hotly contested election, during which both Biden and President Donald Trump boasted platforms that promised infrastructure investments. Major questions remain whether a potentially divided Congress will pass a broad relief bill amid the waning days of the pandemic.

States face major budget shortfalls that could prevent some projects from moving forward. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said infrastructure stimulus must have some form of revenue source, and he complained against “blue state bailouts,” referring to stimulus being used by “bankrupt states” to shore up things like state pensions. Bell said dividing the infrastructure issue between red and blue states is misguided.

“It’s not a blue state versus a red state issue,” Bell said in a phone interview. “When you have infrastructure investment, it grows out from the center, so you might have a situation where there’s a project in Texas but you need engineering from California, contractors from Arizona and steel from a mill in Alabama to get that done.”

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