By Brandon Pensick, ECA President Email: [email protected]
So it’s here…2017. Amazing how time flies. But it did and now we can look to the future. As a contractor I can tell you that things look pretty bright; our backlog is strong, our current projects are humming along and, with the help of the Engineering Contractors’ Association, local governments are starting to look at putting more work out for bid.
Let’s talk about the relationship of local agencies and public works for a moment. We know that if private construction spikes, local agencies tend to cut back on public work—not be- cause they don’t need the projects, but because the demand for inspectors has been redirected to the private work.
ECA is carrying the message to local governments, big and small, that it’s time to put more attention, money and inspection activity on water, sewer and other infrastructure work. Every candidate in the last election gave at least lip service to the need to improve these critical community needs.
Now that the elections are over, we intend to help the winners match their rhetoric to their budgets for public works projects.
Money Is Filling the Project Pipeline
There is already a lot of money coming this year: $1.425 billion from the Prop. 1 bond issue is starting to fill the funding pipe- line of the state revolving funds for water and sewer work. The first bill introduced in the new legislative session in Sacramento, AB 1, is yet another attempt to provide much-needed funding for road and other transportation work in our state.
On the national level, Congress passed a new Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, a huge bill that protects safe drinking water, provides upgrades to infrastructure like ports, dams and levees and provides $558 million dollars in drought relief for California. The new administration, working with Congress instead of fighting it, is promising to deliver more funding for infrastructure work, lower corporate taxes and reduced regulatory burdens. That can’t hurt.
Our New Year’s Resolution
I can tell you this…with assured sources of revenue and improved business conditions, we can take the message to local governments throughout southern California that it is time to blow the dust off their plans, hire and train enough inspectors and managers to cover the work and get the projects ready to bid. My resolution for the New Year for ECA in 2017 is really simple—grow our membership. Join us as we work with local agencies to help our members to a better, more prosperous New Year.