ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland contractors have noticed a steady increase in the price of building materials since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. One contractor tells WJZ at first he thought the pandemic was driving up costs, but now he thinks it’s price-gouging.

“Ten percent here, 10 percent there and then before you know it — it’s just 30 to 50%,” said private contractor Robert Trombero, “and it’s really going out of hand.”

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The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports a steady increase in the price of lumber since February 2020.

Trombero has seen it first hand.

“Two-by-fours are up to $8,” he said. “You could get them for about $2.85.”

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The Association General Contractors of America took a poll and reported that 93% of contractors polled saw an increase in the cost of their projects.

They are now calling on the federal government, Congress and the Biden Administration to eliminate tariffs on key materials, address shipping backups and boost funding for new infrastructure.

Trombero does not want to get the government involved and thinks contractors should put their foot down now.

“It’s putting people out of business, almost because if things don’t come down it will end,” he said.

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Rachael Cardin