Several construction industry groups sent a letter to the White House today urging Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, to review the use of taxpayer dollars to projects that promote one building material over others.

The American Concrete Pumping Association, American Institute of Steel Construction, American Iron and Steel Institute, California Construction and Industrial Materials Association, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, National Concrete Masonry Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Oregon Concrete & Aggregate Producers Association, Portland Cement Association, Steel Framing Industry Association and Steel Manufacturers Association expressed disappointment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s awarding of more than $8.9 million in federal funds for 29 projects designed to expand markets for wood products, particularly mass timber, for building construction.

While acknowledging the increase in cross laminated timber (CLT) projects domestically in recent years, the letter expressed concern about key questions that still exist about the performance of CLT on a large scale. “While it is important to resolve the answers to these concerns, it is not appropriate for the federal government to provide funding to obtain them, nor to provide funding to advance those materials in the marketplace while those questions exist,” the letter claims.

“We hope you agree that these grants unfairly promote, at taxpayer expense, one building material—mass timber—in the construction materials marketplace. This would advance an unbalanced promotional program for only timber products. In any event, the federal government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers among competing materials in the construction marketplace by so blatantly putting its thumb on the scale in favor of wood products,” the letter concludes.