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Manufacturing Professionals to Trump: Focus on Infrastructure

A majority of manufacturing professionals say that Trump's plan for infrastructure spending will have a positive impact on their companies, but they are skeptical that Washington can make it happen.

(IW – Karen Field: 6-29-17) Nearly half of the 1,500 manufacturing and supply chain professionals recently surveyed by IndustryWeek and Penton Research say that investment in U.S. infrastructure should be a top priority for the Trump Administration, winning by a wide margin over other initiatives making headlines like tax and health care reform and immigration policy.

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That’s good news for President Trump, who in early June began a major push for his proposed $1 trillion investment to modernize America’s aging infrastructure, including roads and bridges, waterways and wastewater facilities, and the electrical grid.

A majority of respondents believe spending on roads and bridges (90%) should take precedence, followed by the electric grid and renewables (73%), and waste and wastewater (65%) facilities.

“Making America Great means having a great infrastructure,” said one respondent. “The USA is part of a global economy, and in order to be competitive we require adequate infrastructure that allows the movement of parts, supplies and finished goods easily and economically.”

The manufacturing industry’s enthusiasm for infrastructure projects likely stems from the belief that it will have a direct and positive impact on business. Some 71% of survey respondents said that a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure would have a moderate to significant, positive impact on their business. Moreover, 20% said that it already has.

How exactly do infrastructure projects make an impact? Industry pundits note that infrastructure spending boosts the overall economy by adding jobs and stimulating greater demand for products and services. Moreover, not only will manufactured goods flow more efficiently on improved transportation systems, but also employees will be more productive when they can get to their jobs without fighting bad roads and traffic jams.

Notwithstanding the strong support for investment in infrastructure, survey respondents expressed a healthy skepticism -- no doubt influenced by the failure during the Obama administration to get any kind of momentum around this initiative -- that President Trump, the Republicans, and the Democrats will be able to come together to effectively move things forward.

To wit, note how the normal bell-shaped curve, which would indicate an even distribution of positivity to negativity, slants to the right in the chart below (and this is not an observation about our readers’ politics!)

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IndustryWeek would like to gain more insight into how proposed infrastructure spending would impact American manufacturing and share those results back with you. Please help us by taking this quick, 10-minute survey

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