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The Engineering and Public Works Roadshow made another stop today, this time in Phoenix to celebrate the Northwest Valley Infrastructure Project, an undertaking of immense size, scale, and scope, and with significant implications for both our economy and our standing in the global marketplace.

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A provision of the CHIPS Act sought to encourage semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) seized this opportunity and decided to bring state-of-the-art semiconductor technology to Phoenix, investing $12 billion to bring its manufacturing plant to the city. In turn, Phoenix committed to providing water and wastewater infrastructure that TSMC would need for its new plant.

The plant is expected to create thousands of high-quality jobs and drive economic growth in the region. During her remarks, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego (D) noted that the project is of global importance, with the capacity to help shift the high-tech center of gravity back toward the United States. “We used to export [high-tech] jobs,” she said. “Now, we’re going to be exporting goods.”

Speakers – including ACEC Chairman Jay Wolverton – noted the timing of the Roadshow stop. This week is Engineers Week, the annual celebration of the accomplishments and contributions of the engineering industry. “Projects like this shed light on the work engineers do every day,” Wolverton said. “The work we do transforms communities.” He went on to discuss the ongoing fight against R&D amortization. He noted recent passage in the House of legislation that would repeal the requirement and encouraged the Senate to follow suit. (Both of Arizona’s Senators are original cosponsors of S. 866, the Senate version of the R&D bill.)

Workforce was another recurring theme throughout the event, with speakers all urging young people to consider engineering as a career. Gallego stated that TSMC “cared deeply” about local engineering talent, and its availability weighed heavily in the company’s decision to move there. But, she said, there is still work to be done, and there is still a pressing need for more engineers who can perform that work. “We need to keep telling these stories, because we have catching up to do as a country,” Gallego said. “We have to show people and celebrate the incredible work that makes [projects like these] possible.”

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February 22, 2024



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