Like many of you, I stayed up late on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning to watch the 2016 election returns. I dragged myself into the office after only a few hours of sleep and my phone was immediately ringing. Some clients. Some association contacts. Some reporters. They all wanted to talk about the same thing: What would Donald Trump do as President when it comes to construction and development?
If you listened to President Elect Trump’s victory speech, you learned a few things that will impact individuals and business owners in the construction world:
- A President Trump will likely move on illegal immigration. As I commented to the Nashville Business Journal’s inquiry on this subject, this will unlikely affect unskilled labor shortages hurting many states:
“How does that affect various states with labor shortages? If we pull those back, it’s only affecting a small subsection,” DeVries said. He noted that both government agencies and many large private contractors have policies prohibiting the use of illegal immigrants on construction projects.
“I don’t think him being elected as the new president is going to have a direct effect, negatively or positively, on this particular issue of a lack of skilled labor,” DeVries said.
- A President Trump will push for major stimulus package for investment on infrastructure improvements. Indeed, by pledging to double Clinton’s $275 billion proposal, Trump indirectly pledged to spend more than $500 billion repairing America’s roads, bridges, highways, airports, waterways and other infrastructure. ENR reports that the proposal could be as much as a $1 trillion, 10-year plan. The real question is whether he will find enough allies in Congress to get a growth package in place and passed in order to stimulate the road-building industry.
- A President Trump will likely move to repeal or otherwise limit a number of the policies put in place by Executive Orders by President Obama. Many Republicans in the House and Senate oppose the various regulatory rules and Executive Orders that touch the construction industry, and they want Trump to move quickly. These include regulations on wages and overtime for Federal contractors, OSHA and other safety issues (like silica dust) and environmental hurdles.
- A President Trump is expected to overhaul or repeal the Affordable Care Act, which affects many small- to medium-sized business owners in the construction industry. While affordable healthcare is an ancillary issue to construction executives, it remains a significant business issue that a new administration will tackle in 2017.