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Opinion | Gov. Ivey: Biden policies may slash federal investment in Alabama infrastructure

If we capitulate to their policy-favoring special interests, out-of-state contractors and labor will win contracts.

Governor Kay Ivey gave remarks at the Economic Development Conference, Governor’s Luncheon at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel, Tuesday February 1, 2022 in Montgomery, Ala. Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager

Alabama taxpayers, small businesses and construction workers share my concerns about anti-competitive and costly policies attached to federal and federally assisted construction projects as a result of recent executive actions by the Biden Administration.

With the stroke of a pen and some federal agency sleight of hand, the Biden Administration is pushing controversial policies that undermine opportunity for all of Alabama’s construction industry to compete fairly to build taxpayer-funded public works projects.

For example, President Biden’s Executive Order 14063 requires union project labor agreements – which steer taxpayer-funded contracts to union contractors and grant union labor a monopoly – on federal construction jobs exceeding $35 million. That’s bad news for local, non-union businesses and workers, who compose 95 percent of Alabama’s construction workforce and build our state’s six federal military bases.

In addition, new lose-lose federal agency policies make it difficult for Alabama to win competitive grants for federal infrastructure dollars to improve roads and utilities unless we agree to mandate union labor by requiring contractors to follow union collective bargaining agreements.  If we capitulate to their policy-favoring special interests, out-of-state contractors and labor will win contracts, denying jobs to local, experienced firms and workers. If we don’t agree, federal infrastructure money will flow into other states willing to turn a blind eye to discrimination. Either way, all taxpayers are denied the benefits of open competition and the free market.

In short, this executive order clearly displays the Biden Administration’s apparent desire to pick winners and losers for some perceived political gain with no regard to the loss of financial opportunity that would be the result by freezing out Alabama non-union workers and Alabama-based, union-free businesses.

We stand ready to work with the Biden Administration – or seek justice through the judicial system – to make sure we are not saddled with burdensome, administrative red tape that will counter actual improvements and meaningful results taxpayers expect from government.

Gov. Kay Ivey is the governor of the state of Alabama.

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