After a contentious presidential election that is being disputed through the courts, news outlets this weekend called the race for former Vice President Joe Biden, saying he has more than enough electoral votes to secure a win over President Donald Trump.
This has led contractors across the country to think about what a Biden presidency will mean for the U.S. construction industry, and according to a recent Construction Dive survey, many of them are worried. From infrastructure spending and union support to immigration, taxes and regulations, construction pros are concerned about what's to come under a Biden administration.
Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents (61%) said they are not looking forward to a Biden presidency.
"It will hurt our industry on every level, " said one reader.
In addition, readers weighed in on whether they think Biden will be good for the construction industry overall:
- 55% said he will not be good for construction.
- 11% said he may be good for construction.
- 34% said he will be good for construction.
Many are worried that the Democrat will enact new regulatory burdens that will negatively affect the industry. A major initiative during President Donald Trump's administration was to reduce regulations, something many readers think will be undone during a Biden presidency.
"Biden has a history of heavy-handed regulatory oversight including OSHA, EPA, IRS, etc.," said one reader. "Much of what Trump has done to relax the regulatory burden will likely be undone by Biden, increasing the cost of doing business. Regulations hostile to nonunion contractors will also become problematic again at the expense of taxpayers and benefiting the single digit number of union employees compared to all employees."
Some lamented losing a pro-construction ally in the White House. They said that Trump, a real estate mogul, is supportive to businesses overall and to builders and developers specifically.
Biden, on the other hand, "is 20 years behind, thinking green building sounds on trend and hoping it translates to construction jobs," wrote one reader.
Even though Biden has promised to invest billions in infrastructure projects, many readers said that any advantage gained from public works projects will be offset by an increased tax burden.
"Additional funding of some programs does not make up for all the other detrimental effects of a Biden administration on construction," wrote another.
Yet some contractors are hopeful about what the industry will look like after Inauguration Day. Biden supporters believe he will bring an end to the pandemic more quickly than a second Trump presidency would.
"Biden will introduce a scientific approach to COVID-19, which will provide a pathway to resolution," said one reader. "The economy will recover when the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved with a vaccine."
They also think Biden will make more progress than Trump on a national infrastructure package.
"A Biden administration should be an opportunity to focus on real programs and solutions," said one. "This includes a consistent national approach to combating the pandemic, a real (as opposed to rhetorical) commitment to infrastructure investment as well as support for union labor and immigration reform."
Some readers also see the presumptive president-elect as a source of stability that corporations and countries across the world will appreciate.
"He will provide stability by default because he does not tweet for attention, which means the market disruptions caused by Trump tweets will no longer be a daily occurrence," said one survey taker. "Financial market stability will result in investors being more comfortable with capital expenditures."