Trump’s steel tariff affecting Taylor County Expo project

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) – A decision by President Donald Trump to put tariffs on two major imports is affecting a major project in the area.

The Taylor County Expo Center is adjusting the budget of its new facility to meet the increased cost of lumber and 20 percent increased cost of steel, according to Rochelle Johnson, executive vice president of the expo center. 

“When this whole issue with the increase in steel came to light, we knew we were going to have to look at budgeting,” Johnson said. 

The Taylor County Expo’s new facility referred to as “Phase Two” is undergoing some tweaks to manage cost. 

“Unfortunately buildings cannot be put up over night, and so you’re always faced with items that the price of something goes up.”

The major assets of the building will still be built as planned, according to Johnson. 

“We’re looking at any way that we can cut costs without cutting the functionality needed for the people that rent the facility,” Johnson said. 

However, the “eye-appeal” will become a second priority. 

“We’ve had to change what we thought what we might to do in terms of not trees and plants, but other types of landscaping,” said Johnson. “We looked at the things that made the building have a beautiful front to it, all the glass and all of that type of stuff.”

The expo center said its decision to extend the deadline of the finished building will better guarantee a well-built structure.

“If you tell a construction company ‘You’ve got 450 days” or “You have 350 days to build something. if it’s 350 days, they’re going to go up on their price,” Johnson said. “And, so, there’s ways that we are looking to cut costs there too.”

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