The post-election frenzy has started to settle, as President-elect Donald Trump prepares his transition team in advance of Inauguration Day. While Trump's win came as a surprise to many analysts and pollsters, Americans are now turning their attention to how his policy proposals will impact their lives.
The construction industry has found itself in a rare position, as Trump's win thrust it into the spotlight. His development experience and $1 trillion infrastructure proposal has resonated with construction companies and their investors. And, after we published a survey in the days following the election asking readers whether they were satisfied with the election results for their business, Trump's plans seemed to have struck a chord with them as well.
Trump's team said his infrastructure program would be largely funded through private investment, with tax credits going to investors willing to put up an equity stake in revenue-generating projects. Although industry experts have questioned the funding sources and feasibility of his proposal, construction and engineering stocks soared last week following Trump's win.
Trump's promises to cut back on regulations and reduce the corporate tax rate have also garnered favor among construction business groups.
Brian Turmail, senior executive director of public affairs for the Associated General Contractors of America, said the election results demonstrated that Americans want a change in Washington, as they are "fed up with the growth of the regulatory state" and "tired of policies that discourage job creation."
The Associated Builders and Contractors said in a statement, "With his background in real estate and development, Trump is very familiar with the obstacles to economic growth ABC members face."
The homebuilding side of the industry has also expressed optimism regarding the incoming president. Jim Tobin, chief lobbyist at the National Association of Home Builders, told Construction Dive last week, "Our membership felt very strongly that Donald Trump was going to win. Talking to a lot of them across the country over the last months, his message was resonating outside the Beltway."
We surveyed our readers to find out whether they were satisfied with the result of the election for their business. A majority of respondents (62%) said they were satisfied, while fewer (38%) said they were not satisfied.
These figures contradict the results of a previous Construction Dive survey in August, after each major party selected its candidate for the general election. In that survey, 51% of readers said they believed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would be better for the construction industry, while 46% chose Trump, and 3% chose "Other." At the point of the August survey, Trump hadn't released as many details about his infrastructure proposal and other plans for the economy.
Our survey last week also asked readers which issue they considered most important for the Trump administration to succeed in implementing. Boosting infrastructure spending drew the most support (40%), followed by reducing government regulations on businesses (36%), championing technical education to bring more workers into the industry (18%) and enacting housing policy reform to improve homeownership rates (6%).
The fact that increased infrastructure investment snagged the top spot wasn't a surprise, as construction groups have consistently called on government at all levels to find funding solutions for crucial transportation projects.
Survey respondent comments
We also asked readers to let us know why they were satisfied — or not — with the election results. Several cited Trump's business experience and said they believe the economy will grow under his administration. "Hopefully government will get out of the way and stop imposing burdensome policies and regulations on small and large businesses alike," one respondent wrote.
Another respondent said they were satisfied "because I am in the highway construction business," as Trump's infrastructure plan — if passed — could be a boon for business.
Other survey respondents expressed concern about the incoming president. One person wrote, "As Trump only serves his personal interests, it makes him capricious and unpredictable .... dangerous for any industry where unpredictability is rife and a stable backdrop is desperately needed."
Others pointed to his immigration proposals as potentially detrimental to an industry that relies heavily on immigrant labor. "He wants to deport our workforce," one respondent said.
As is the case with any candidate, transitioning campaign promises to actual legislation is a difficult task. The coming months will offer a better look into the feasibility of Trump's proposals, and their potential impact on construction companies.