In his Jan. 20 inaugural address, President Barack Obama focused on broad themes, asking his vast audience to �begin again the work of remaking America.� He said the economy needs �action, bold and swift� and then got more specific, talking about building �roads and bridges and electric grids.� That phrase no doubt grabbed the attention of recession-wounded construction officials who hope that their immediate priority, an infrastructure-oriented economic stimulus bill, also will rise to the front of the new President�s agenda.
House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), didn�t wait until Obama was sworn in to unveil a hefty �economic recovery� proposal. Their $825-billion package, released on Jan. 15, would inject $550 billion in new spending and $275 billion in tax cuts into the ailing economy. As drafted, the plan�s spending side has more than $150 billion for construction-related programs, by ENR�s calculation. Some of the tax incentives also promise to give construction a boost, including an extension of a writeoff for equipment and other capital goods.