The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said President Bush’s federal budget recommendations for Fiscal year 2007 include, for the first time ever, specific funding totaling $50 million in grants to construction contractors wishing to retrofit equipment.
AGC said it supports the increased funding for highways, but is concerned about the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr noted, “We support the ‘Open Roads Financing Pilot Program’ that would attempt to identify alternative sources for collecting highway user fees.” AGC reported it was also concerned about cuts to vital infrastructure programs, such as wastewater and drinking water funding, as well as the safety training grants.
“Budgets from every president present a mixed bag,” said Sandherr. “In this instance, the President has demonstrated his commitment to the highway program and to ensuring a healthy construction economy by proposing to make tax cuts permanent.”
Much of the budget’s focus, however, is on the build-up of military capacity and defenses against terrorist threats on U.S. soil, as has been the case for the last two years. The $2.7 trillion budget plan also calls for restraining expenditure on many domestic programs, including the elimination and/or reduction of 141 programs for a savings of $14.5 billion annually.