It is time for our leaders to strengthen the foundation of our society; to reinvest in that which makes our work and our daily lives possible: our nation’s infrastructure. Crumbling infrastructure impacts lives, families, jobs, communities and the economy.
For too long we have treated infrastructure investment as some kind casual choice that could be deferred indefinitely and addressed through superficial platitudes. It is time to turn promises into projects. Across the nation, Americans recognize that we have an urgent need to modernize our domestic infrastructure. With so much at stake, we cannot afford to wait any longer.
Every day, Americans see the consequences of lagging investment in our infrastructure. Roads are crumbling. Bridges are failing apart. Ports and waterways are backlogged with long-needed repair projects, airports and runways are clogged and congested, and the nation’s electricity grid is balanced precariously on the edge of failure. The nation’s water systems are strained, and our water pipes are deteriorating. The need for a national broadband system has been added to the ever-expanding list of Infrastructure focus areas, and it too requires steel for implementation.
We must commit to addressing these challenges, making these needed investments in a targeted, long-term, substantial way to ensure that America can remain a nation that creates and makes its future, thereby shaping our own destiny and enhancing our standard of living for decades to come. Our nation must commit to addressing these challenges through promoting domestic industrial production across all sectors to produce the materials that are needed to rebuild our infrastructure focus-areas.
Domestic procurement preferences such as “Buy America” creates benefits throughout the domestic supply chain, and promotes all the beneficial impacts that the U.S. EAF steel sector provides (employment; reduction of environmental impacts and generation of tax revenue).
Rising transportation costs are negatively impacting domestic steelmakers, and growing service issues are threatening relationships with important steel customers. We have reached a tipping point where the lack of competitive rail service is having a detrimental impact on making steel in America. We want to see healthy, profitable railroads that make investments to serve our industry and that operate in a market-oriented manner. That’s why SMA supports sensible improvements that would increase access to competitive freight rail service and that would modernize the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Specifically, we support the Board’s proposal to allow shippers access to reciprocal switching as a way to provide more freight rail options and maximize the efficiency of the existing rail network.
If America prioritizes its infrastructure, members of the SMA are ready to meet the challenge by supplying domestically produced sustainable steel. We cannot simply hope for a better tomorrow. We must build one.