Road Construction Workers in the Midwest are VERY Productive

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI). Visit MEPI online follow the affiliated Illinois Economic Policy Institute on Twitter @illinoisEPI. Construction workers who specialize in road and bridge infrastructure projects are productive, high-skilled, and well-paid in the Midwest, … Continue reading Road Construction Workers in the Midwest are VERY Productive

Prevailing Wage Encourages Self-Sufficient Workers

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. Taxpayers are subsidizing the low-wage, low-skill, low-quality system in states without a prevailing wage law, according to a report released jointly today by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute and Building Strong Communities. The Policy Brief, Self-Sufficient Construction Workers: Why Prevailing Wage Laws are the Best Deal for Taxpayers [PDF], finds that prevailing wage laws (PWLs) build local middle-class jobs and drive economic development through increased consumer demand. By paying a living wage and supporting apprenticeship training programs, PWLs encourage … Continue reading Prevailing Wage Encourages Self-Sufficient Workers

The CCW is Common Sense Construction

Today, the Midwest Economic Policy Institute released Common Sense Construction: The Economic Impacts of  Indiana’s Common Construction Wage with the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations and Smart Cities Prevail. The report finds that Indiana’s Common Construction Wage (CCW) promotes positive labor market outcomes for both construction workers and contractors. Full report [pdf] One-page summary [pdf] Ten facts about the Indiana CCW: 1. The Common Construction Wage keeps Hoosier jobs local. (For more, see pages 5 and 11-13) 2. The Common Construction Wage does not increase total construction costs for public projects. (Pg. 4) 3. The Common Construction Wage promotes an upwardly-mobile, high-road economy for working families. (Pg. … Continue reading The CCW is Common Sense Construction

Collaborative Development: The Benefits of Public-Private Partnerships

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI.


A new ILEPI Policy Brief, released this morning, investigates the pros and cons of public-private partnerships in the construction industry. [Update: The Monitor article].

The report, Collaborative Development: The Pros and Cons of P3s on Construction Projects (PDF), finds that public-private partnerships (P3s)– such as the proposed Illiana Expressway– offer the potential for significant cost savings for the public sector. P3s allow governments to increase internal investment, capitalize on the efficiencies and innovations of private companies, and build infrastructure slightly less expensively and slightly more quickly. For the private sector, P3s provide stable assets (infrastructure facilities) with predictable long-term returns from user fees for portfolio diversification. P3s also allow private entities, backed by the government, to borrow cheaply.

The Policy Brief utilizes case studies to demonstrate how P3s may be mutually beneficial and discusses the expected positive benefits of three potential P3 projects in the Midwest: Continue reading “Collaborative Development: The Benefits of Public-Private Partnerships”

@SaveTheWage: Defending Common Construction Wage in Indiana

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. The Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) is pleased to announce the launch of @SaveTheWage! The Save The Wage campaign is led by a coalition of organizations committed to defending Indiana’s Common Construction Wage (also called “CCW” or the “prevailing wage”) from unjustified claims and attacks. Supported primarily by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (@IllinoisEPI), Union One (@Union1), and the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting, Save The Wage aims to promote education, awareness, and public discussion around the benefits of … Continue reading @SaveTheWage: Defending Common Construction Wage in Indiana

Discussing the NIRPC Staff Analysis of the Illiana Expressway

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI.

On November 27, the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) uploaded its completed staff analysis on the Illiana Corridor and its consistency with the organization’s 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan (CRP). The analysis reviewed all the areas where the Illiana Expressway positively or negatively impacts the quality of life for the residents of Northwest Indiana but did not offer a direct recommendation to the NIRPC Executive Board, which on December 12 will vote on whether the project should go forward.

The analysis identified 62 unique objectives of the CRP, and found that the project is consistent with 13 of those goals, inconsistent with 8, and has mixed, neutral, or uncertain impacts on 41 other goals. Below, we at ILEPI synthesize, discuss, and critique these findings.

The 13 Consistencies

  1. Congestion management process
  2. Integrate local, regional, and national transportation systems to facilitate movement of people and freight between modes
  3. Reduce congestion on major freight and passenger routes
  4. Improve the internal connectivity of the transportation network
  5. Use and expansion of transportation and other infrastructure advantages Continue reading “Discussing the NIRPC Staff Analysis of the Illiana Expressway”

Unpublished Comment to NIRPC on Illiana

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. The Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) was accepting public comments on whether to add the Illiana Expressway to its 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan, which would allow the public-private infrastructure project to proceed to the bidding process for the private sector to determine whether the road is a good idea. ILEPI has found that the project will create substantial benefits. We provided our comments to NIRPC in two back-to-back emails on November 19, one as an addendum to the other. … Continue reading Unpublished Comment to NIRPC on Illiana

Right-to-Work’s Broken Promises

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI.

Right-to-work has not worked in Indiana.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate has steadily ticked down and is nearing 7 percent. Last year, over 40,000 more business establishments opened than closed across America. The total number of Americans with a job is up almost 2 percent since February 2012. Employers are starting to hire again and consumer demand is slowly rising.

And with the passage of a right-to-work law on February 1, 2012 (which proponents claimed would attract businesses and create jobs), the Indiana economy has been spearheading the economic recovery, right?

Wrong.

An October 16, 2013 study (LINK) by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI), a new research and policy nonprofit, assessed right-to-work’s economic track record in Indiana thus far. Since the law went into effect, 779 more businesses have closed than have opened in Indiana, the unemployment rate has not fallen, and the total number of Indiana residents with a job has declined by 0.4 percent.

The verdict? So far the promises made by right-to-work’s supporters in Indiana have nearly all been broken.

The problem: Right-to-work is a nonfactor as an economic development incentive.

Despite claims that right-to-work entices new businesses to open up in a particular state, survey after survey of corporate executives reports that the policy is not a prevailing factor in whether a firm will locate to a state. Additionally, by limiting collective bargaining units, right-to-work laws act to take away an effective front-end solution for small businesses to hire, train, drug-test, and provide health insurance to workers. Unions have long provided these services to businesses and absorbed the costs through dues and fees. Under right-to-work, these costs shift to small businesses. Finally, right-to-work has been found to lower worker wages by around 3 percent annually. With lower incomes, workers have less money to spend. Why would a private business want to relocate to a state where consumer demand for its product or service is diminished? Continue reading “Right-to-Work’s Broken Promises”

Debunking 10 Myths about the Proposed Illiana Expressway

In the past few weeks, the proposed Illiana Expressway has been subject to much criticism. Most of this criticism, however, has relied more on rhetoric and misinformation than actual fact. Below, 10 myths about the Illiana Expressway are debunked.

Myth #1: The Illiana Expressway will serve little to no purpose.

Truth: The Illiana Expressway is a proposed 47-mile toll road that would link I-55 in Will County, Illinois to I-65 in Lake County, Indiana. The corridor is intended to primarily benefit the heavy-trucking industry in the short run, servicing the growing intermodal freight system in south Chicagoland. Diverting trucking traffic from I-80, I-90, and Route 30, however, relieves congestion and benefits commuters and families. One southern Chicagoland government official told me that “to those of us who live with the truck traffic congestion on local roads with the related increased costs of maintenance and public safety issues, the need is far more obvious” than to those outside of southern Chicagoland.

Additionally, the expressway will have long-term transportation benefits, as the population of Will County is expected to grow by 548,000 (CMAP) to 695,000 (IDOT) people by 2040. The Illiana Expressway is a forward-thinking project that will be vital to these future families, businesses, and visitors. Finally, the likely construction of the South Suburban Airport (often called Lincoln National Airport), which also is projected by CMAP to generate 7,737 direct jobs and 42,739 additional jobs, only raises the need for the Illiana project.

Myth #2: The Illiana Expressway will unnecessarily burden taxpayers. Continue reading “Debunking 10 Myths about the Proposed Illiana Expressway”