Wyoming industry groups say federal infrastructure bill will be good for business

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Published Thursday, November 25, 2021
by contributor

Elyse Kelly | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - Some Wyoming industry groups say the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill will be good for business in the Cowboy State.

As far as transportation goes, it's definitely a win, according to Katie Legerski, executive director for Associated General Contractors of Wyoming, the members of which are mostly people in horizontal construction including highways, roads and bridges.

Roads, bridges, airports, rail transit, water systems, the power grid, broadband internet and more are all targets of the spending bill with an emphasis on Democratic pet issues like climate change mitigation.

Legerski also sees the bill as an economic boon.

"We see for every $1 put into construction on a regular basis it turns over four to six times in the local economy, and it would also assist the contractors as well with additional projects," she said.

For several years, highways in Wyoming have been under a preservation system because it lacked funds, according to Legerski, who cited a study by the Wyoming Department of Transportation stating it was short $190 million a year for surface transportation infrastructure. 

"Our roads are beginning to deteriorate at a pretty alarming rate," she said. "What we're finding is for every $1 not spent today, it's going to cost us $4 to $8 in the future to take care of that road."

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For Wyoming as a whole, transportation, the energy grid, and broadband are going to get a lot of play, according to Wyoming Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell.

Dorrell said the infrastructure bill is "speaking Wyoming's language."

"When you talk about energy: so you think about carbon management, hydrogen, critical minerals and materials, even renewable energy and nuclear energy and advanced manufacturing - those are all squarely within Wyoming's economic strategy, and we have a lot of the groundwork and resources ready to go to mobilize in all of those areas," he told The Center Square.

Legerski is excited to see her state receive additional funding, and expects it to help sustain its workforce and transportation network so commerce can grow through safe and effective roads.

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