Nationally, supply chain squeezes and rising inflation create delays and higher expenses on public works projects.
Across the country, public works departments are experiencing supply chain delays and significant rising costs. Basic infrastructure items, like the hooks to hang traffic lights, have in some cases more than tripled in cost, while the cost of oil in asphalt mix has risen by 42 percent.
This jump in prices has caused concerns over the $1 trillion infrastructure deal coming out of Washington; suddenly the expected buying power of this package may not be as great as once hoped. “‘We almost have an infrastructure bill, but now the money that will be appropriated might not go as far as we once thought,’ Scott Grayson, CEO of the American Public Works Association, said in an interview. ‘It’s a real issue'” (Route Fifty).
These concerns are being felt in Maryland as well, with several significant infrastructure projects such as the purple line in the Washington DC metro-area and broadband expansion statewide. It was only recently that Maryland found a new contractor for the purple line after cost overruns forced delays and the termination of the previous contractor.
While much remains to be seen in this space, such as the long term shortcomings of our supply chain and how long inflation will remain a concern, this remains a major area for policy leaders to be weary of.