Time to build
Building out and modernizing our region's and the nation's infrastructure is a critical goal that's broadly supported by voters across the political spectrum. Regionally, infrastructure development is a clear winner for Pennsylvania. According to a recent report from consulting firm ICF, U.S. energy infrastructure development can create more than 1 million new American jobs by 2035. In Pennsylvania, two critical energy projects, Mariner East II and PennEast, are projected to support more than 25,000 good-paying local jobs, including many for building-trades union members.
To meet these growing demands, local unions are expanding their apprenticeship programs to prepare workers for energy careers. As International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66 business manager Jim Kunz said in the article “Heavy equipment apprentices anticipate construction boom, train near New Alexandria,” energy development is “definitely good for our members, but it's also good for the region. ”
Infrastructure is enabling a manufacturing revitalization for Pennsylvania families and workers. We're seeing this at the Shell petrochemical facility in Beaver County. And there's more opportunity on the horizon. A new IHS Markit report, commissioned by Gov. Tom Wolf's administration, highlighted those opportunities, noting Pennsylvania's abundant energy resources can transform the commonwealth into a petrochemical manufacturing hub. With the right regulatory and tax policies, given our world-class natural gas resources and workforce, Pennsylvania has the potential to attract investment, create jobs and fully realize a bright and promising future. For these reasons, and many more, it's time to build.
Erica Clayton Wright
The writer is vice president of communications and membership for the Marcellus Shale Coalition (marcelluscoalition.org).