- - Wednesday, September 14, 2022

This won’t come as a newsflash to American families, but inflation continues to be historically bad. What’s more concerning is that the Biden administration doesn’t seem to grasp just how bad things have gotten.

In July, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit another grim milestone of 8.5%. The inflation rate is the highest it has been in over four decades, and it skyrocketed a staggering 550% in the year and a half since President Biden took office.

Americans are feeling the pain of this inflationary tax across the country.

The cost of food saw its biggest increase since 1979, and the average family is being forced to pay nearly $6,000 more this year for the same goods they bought a year ago. That’s something many families obviously can’t afford.

What may be less obvious is that some sectors of our economy are being slammed by an even higher inflation rate than the CPI. This includes the construction and infrastructure sectors.

This summer, Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee convened a roundtable discussion with construction and transportation businesses, and state and local officials to hear directly from them what impacts inflation is having on infrastructure projects. Unsurprisingly, they’re all struggling with the cost of fuel, materials, equipment, and everything else that goes into planning and building projects and moving goods throughout the country.

One state official said his department is seeing a 40 to 50% increase in costs for the top eight project construction materials, such as concrete and steel.

A local government official noted five capital projects that all experienced cost increases of at least 100% over the original project budgets, which led to at least one being put on hold for the foreseeable future.

One construction company discussed three projects it was recently involved with. Inflation caused the company’s bids for these projects to exceed the state’s estimates by 23 to 85%, and the state rejected the bids.

While multiple factors have contributed to inflation, one thing is certain: the crisis is being made profoundly worse by this administration and its allies’ trillions of dollars in unchecked government-wide spending, policies that stifle domestic energy production, and adherence to unrealistic Green New Deal objectives.

I didn’t vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, but it’s now the law of the land and this administration must at least implement it in a way that respects the law and Congressional intent: focusing on core infrastructure needs, like building actual roads and bridges, addressing bottlenecks, and improving the supply chain infrastructure. But the Biden administration is putting its woke agenda ahead of these pressing needs, and as a result, funding for real infrastructure already dramatically devalued by crippling inflation is being diluted even more.

This infrastructure bill is not what was promised to the American people when it was signed in to law last year. The administration is doing its best to ensure that taxpayers are getting even less highway, airport, port, and water system improvements than they should be getting.

With a recession likely on the horizon, I hope it’s finally becoming obvious to this administration that it must start shifting its priorities and attacking our 40-year high inflation and these other crises instead of letting them run wild.

• U.S. Representative Sam Graves, Missouri Republican, is a small businessman, a sixth-generation family farmer, and a professional pilot. As the lead Republican member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and with over two decades of experience on the Committee, Graves has been instrumental in various laws to improve America’s highways, bridges, airports, ports and waterways, flood protection, disaster preparedness, and other infrastructure. His role in transportation is critical as he works on behalf of Missouri’s 34,000 highway miles and 10,400 bridges in need of maintenance and repair as well as the 6th Congressional District’s two major rivers the Missouri and the Mississippi.

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