If Congress approves a national public-works program next year that Democratic and Republican leaders are proposing, President Donald Trump’s trade war could inflate the price tag, costing taxpayers and construction companies many millions of dollars.
A three-quarter-mile stretch of Detroit’s Lower Rouge River illustrates the problem. Known as the Old Channel, it was contaminated from decades of industrial-waste discharges. To clean the waterway, workers are installing a 2,500-foot-long, sheet-pile bulkhead wall to support the riverbanks. Once that’s built, polluted river sediment and debris will be removed starting early next year.
The $10 million cost of the steel for the wall, imported from China, has risen by about $1.3 million because of Trump’s tariffs, potentially raising the project’s overall price, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Similar hikes are hitting public-works projects in California, Utah, Virginia, and other states.
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