The post-COVID economic recovery will be front and center in President-elect Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Now, more than ever, Americans understand that our strength as a nation — for both our economic and general well-being — relies on a robust domestic supply chain driven by the American industrial economy that forged the spirit of skyscrapers, bridges and highways across the country.
In my former congressional district, which includes areas around Pittsburgh, the steel industry was the backbone of our local economy and the American structural steel industry’s dedication to constant improvement can return to that greatness by expediting and transforming the ways in which we rebuild the economic backbone of our nation.
During my time in Congress fighting for the hardworking men and women of Pennsylvania, I represented places like Aliquippa and Midland, home to the forgotten men and women of America, who were forced to see steel fabrication jobs shipped overseas due to mass foreign government subsidization. President-elect Biden will stand strong with America’s steel industry and our new commander-and-chief will protect us from foreign countries that cheat. Most importantly, President-elect Biden will encourage the use of new steel technology that will help us Build Back Better and create tens of thousands of new American jobs.
“Better” means embracing exciting innovations that move us forward and literally build a stronger future. The steel industry is leading the way with new innovations, like SpeedCore, a revolutionary, nonproprietary composite steel core wall system that reduces the time and costs associated with constructing tall buildings. At its essence, SpeedCore is a sandwiched panel of steel plates and concrete. The steel goes up very quickly and can support four floors of steel decking even before the concrete is poured. The system is faster because it eliminates time traditionally spent waiting for concrete to cure.
In Seattle, the new Rainier Square Tower is leading the way as the first project built using this innovative new steel technology, and it’s reaping extraordinary benefits. In fact, SpeedCore shaved 43 percent off the construction time. The 850-foot-tall tower was erected in just 10 months — with up to four floors built in a single week! When tenants move in this spring, they’ll see exposed SpeedCore on display in the lobby, showcasing what makes the building so unique.
Researchers at Purdue University and the University at Buffalo are continuing to find additional ways SpeedCore can save time and money, and Seattle is not the only place where SpeedCore is being implemented. 200 Park in San Jose, Calif., will be the next SpeedCore project, and a Boston project is on the horizon. The New York City Department of Buildings recently approved the use of the steel technology in all its five boroughs. And SpeedCore will be explicitly included in the next updates to national design standards and the building codes that reference them.
My friend Joe Biden won Pennsylvania, because he understands that we need a robust domestic supply chain that creates more jobs for American workers and their families. That is why we must embrace new steel technologies like SpeedCore that will create good paying middle-class jobs as we work together to rebuild America.
Having spent years in Congress representing steel towns, I’ve seen firsthand how these types of steel innovation can drive whole sectors of the American economy. America’s best days are yet to come, and I know that American steel will be a critical component of the president-elect’s plan to build new American landmarks across the nation.
As Congress works to finalize the stimulus package and we turn the page on the Trump administration, now is the time for millions of Americans to come together and support President-elect Biden’s economic plans to help us Build Back Better.
Democratic Rep. Ron Klink served four consecutive terms representing American steel workers in Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District.
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