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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Investing in infrastructure is investing in America’

Dear Editor:

John Mielke is the president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin.

John Mielke

As America continues to reel from the economic and very personal pain inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we join our colleagues in the construction labor union sector (Dan Bukiewicz letter to the editor, May 29) calling for new investment in rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin represents nearly 900 member companies that support merit shop construction. While we often find ourselves at odds with organized labor on many issues, this is one on which we can all agree. Investing in infrastructure is investing in America.

We believe Congress should make significant infrastructure investments that will be vital to the safety and security of our country and help restore our economy to its pre-pandemic might. This is also one of the few important issues that President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders agree upon.

Of course, details for such a plan matter, and when the time comes, there can be a spirited debate about funding sources and whether roads or rails, ports or airports, and residential or commercial will be included. The current U.S. Senate surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure legislation provides a path forward on the essential infrastructure that is needed to restart the economy.

We understand this type of investment benefits the companies performing the work. More importantly, however, this is an investment in the hundreds of thousands of men and women who would use their skills to address our country’s infrastructure woes, which have been neglected for far too long. This is a chance to create new career opportunities in an essential industry where the need for skilled workers continues to grow.

Regardless of the final plan, the result should be taxpayer-funded projects with the appropriate standards for safety and quality, which facilitate and sustain long-term economic growth, embrace new technology and achieve value-added public-private partnerships.

John Mielke
President, Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin

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