We are long overdue for an infrastructure bill: PPG Industries CEO

It’s high time to fix a whole lot of potholes across the country.

America’s infrastructure continues to crumble into disrepair after years of inaction by lawmakers. The buck has now been passed to the Biden administration to finally get a large infrastructure bill passed, or risk putting the country’s economic future at risk.

“We’re long overdue for this [infrastructure bill],” PPG Industries Chairman and CEO Michael H. McGarry told Yahoo Finance Live. “It is a little embarrassing when you travel the globe as much as I do — although not in the past nine months — about how much more money, our peer countries put into infrastructure that we haven't been putting in.”

The potential damage to the U.S. economy from the lack of an infrastructure plan mustn’t be understated.

According to new research from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. economy stands to lose $10.3 trillion in GDP by 2039 if an infrastructure bill isn’t passed. A total of $9 trillion in disposable income among households will be lost over the next 20 years, the research shows.

The current state of America’s infrastructure — including gaping potholes on roads and suboptimal public transport — is costing the average household in the country $3,300 a year.

Then presidential candidate Joe Biden outlined a more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan called Build Back Better. He said it would be the “largest mobilization of public investment since World War II.” Among other proposals in the plan, Biden would devote about $400 billion to expanding clean vehicle technology, steel production and other building materials. He is also earmarking $300 billion for investments in 5G and artificial intelligence.

Now as president, Biden is expected to make a push for the Build Back Better plan once another round of COVID-19 relief gets passed.

Good for the economy and business

As for PPG Industries, it’s recognized as the global leader in paint for cars and industrial coatings. It will play a key role in modernizing the country’s infrastructure should a bill finally get signed into law. Indeed the company is preparing today for that eventually happening.

PPG recently closed on a $1.15 billion deal for Ennis-Flint, which is a major player in paint used for highway markings. Ennis-Flint has also developed intelligent transportation systems meant to support the future of autonomous driving.

Ennis-Flint had $600 million in sales last year.

“It's always been too far down their priority list,” McGarry said on the response by lawmakers to the highway paint technologies Ennis-Flint has developed. “They've always been much more focused on right now, and now they're focused on the pandemic. This could create a lot of jobs — when you do road work those jobs can be socially distanced and safely done. And so we would very much like to see this done. I mean, at the end of the day, whether you're Republican or Democrat, this is good for the economy and it's good for business, and it's good for the country.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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