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Increasing Production of Domestic Energy Resources and Rebuilding Our Infrastructure Will Boost the Economy and Create Jobs

During an important speech about our nation’s economic challenges, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) recognized the importance – and potential connection – between two key policy priorities for the North American steel industry: the increased production of domestic energy resources and investing in our national transportation infrastructure. 

“I’m not opposed to responsible spending to repair and improve infrastructure.  But if we want to do it in a way that truly supports long-term economic growth and job creation, let’s link the next highway bill to an expansion of American-made energy production.   There’s a natural link between the two: as we develop new sources of American energy, we’re going to need modern infrastructure to bring that energy to the market.” – Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), speech given at the Economic Club of Washington on September 15

AISI and its member companies couldn’t agree more with the Speaker’s comments.  Expanding energy production from America’s domestic oil and natural gas resources, and using the expected revenue to rebuild our roads and bridges, will create millions of jobs and boost the economy. 

Currently, the United States ranks 23rd worldwide in quality of infrastructure.  Our crumbling bridges and deteriorating roads continue to place American workers at a competitive disadvantage as money and time is wasted sitting in traffic.  Almost 25 percent of our nation’s bridges are either structurally deficient or obsolete.  Congress needs to pass a multi-year transportation bill that is funded at levels high enough to address our current needs. 

We also need to expand our energy production.  The North American steel industry – which supports more than one million direct and indirect jobs – is a major consumer of energy.  Harnessing our domestic resources is vital to reducing energy costs for energy-intensive manufacturers.  Steel also plays a critical role in the gathering and transmission of oil and natural gas though the use of steel pipe and tubing.  Producing more oil and natural gas would help maximize key markets for our industry.

Bipartisan legislation, the Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act (HR 1861), introduced by Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Jim Costa (D-CA) and Tim Walz (D-MN) earlier this year, is one example that would achieve the connection between energy and transportation.  The bill would expand access to America’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and natural gas resources, and devote expected revenues to invest in America’s transportation infrastructure system. 

The Speaker is right—there is a natural link between these two national priorities.  By developing our energy resources and rebuilding our transportation system, we can achieve long-term economic growth and create thousands of jobs, which will be especially beneficial to the steel industry and manufacturing overall. 

-Thomas J. Gibson
AISI President and CEO 

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