AGC to discuss rising steel costs

The Associated General Contractors of America met with board members from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Thursday to discuss the rising prices of steel and other construction materials.

“Steel increases have been sudden, steep and devastating,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC. “AGC has heard in the past week from members all over the nation who report double-digit increases.”

According to the AGC, the price spike could cause bankruptcies and job losses. I addition to steel, Simonson noted that the costs of copper, wood products, natural gas and petroleum products such as asphalt and diesel fuel have risen.

Simonson will present specific examples provided by AGC members at a “listening session” Thursday afternoon in Arlington, Va. In addition to the AASHTO board members, representatives of the Federal Highway Administration are expected to attend. One of the main topics Simonson will discuss is how the actual costs of many projects have risen by millions since contracts have been signed due to increased material prices.

“The cost of steel for one bridge project has risen by $15 million since the contract was signed,” Simonson reported. “Few construction companies can afford to absorb cost jumps of that size.”