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Industry News

Built in the USA: Is the US engineering sector about to get a big boost?

20/07/2020 Jonny Cutter, VP of USA

It’s fair to say a glimmer of financial hope is more than welcome right now. So the US government has swooped in with a huge infrastructure spending plan – one that spells good news for engineering jobs.

Rebuilding America

In June, news emerged that the Trump administration was readying a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, as part of its fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic.[i]

If approved the bulk of the spending is likely to go on traditional infrastructure projects like bridges and roads. But it may also include funding for electrical grid and communications upgrades, such as rural broadband and 5G wireless networks.

The timing couldn’t be better, and not least because of the economic hurricane that is COVID-19. A smaller, existing infrastructure funding law is due to expire this September, which opens the door to approving the package. And, with the election looming soon after that, there’s enormous pressure to get the economy restarted. Spending your way out of a recession can be fraught with political challenges, but an all-out infrastructure spending spree is far more palatable than, say, corporate bailouts.

Sounds like good news for engineers

It certainly is. Assuming this plan (or something like it) goes ahead, it’ll deliver a great boost for US engineering jobs. A quick look at current mega-projects shows us where engineers might be most in demand:

  • The 78 – effectively a whole new neighborhood in Chicago, this 62-acre site will include 12 acres of public space, new transit stations, affordable housing, as well as swanky new offices and homes. The $7 billion project is expected to wrap up in 2023.
  • California High-Speed Rail – America’s first high-speed rail system, which will shuttle passengers from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours, is currently under construction and is expected to rattle on until 2033.
  • O’Hare Modernization Program – back to Chicago, and the plan to improve O’Hare airport is edging nearer to its 2026 completion date. As part of the $8.5 billion upgrade, the team broke ground on the final runway extension in late 2019.

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Source: [i]

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Jonny Cutter
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