ADVOCAY & LEGISLATION
Get Involved: Prosperity Project
Highway Bill in Trouble
Federal transportation and infrastructure programs have a critical impact on AEM members. On average, 6.4 cents of each dollar spent on highways is used to purchase equipment and related services. But the transportation construction industry is suffering its worst cycle since World War II, residential construction is virtually non-existent across the country and non-residential construction has started to collapse. Despite these facts, the Administration and the U.S. Senate are advocating an 18-month extension of the current highway bill, which is set to expire on October 31st. But a simple extension just isn’t good enough. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the highway program is exacerbating economic instability in the construction industry and deterioration in the construction equipment markets -- the equipment manufacturing industry and the U.S. economy need a long-term commitment to infrastructure investment now.
A multi-year, comprehensive surface transportation bill that increases infrastructure investment is the best near-term opportunity for Congress and the President to achieve real, long-lasting economic stimulus. A robust highway bill would stop the “job bleed,” put people back to work in good-paying construction, distribution, and manufacturing jobs, and yield major long-term economic, environmental, public health, and quality of life benefits. To push this critical initiative, AEM and AED have launched the Start Us Up USA! a national grassroots campaign designed to get the attention of lawmakers.
Fortunately, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, is leading the fight to start work on a multi-year reauthorization bill this year. Click here to view details of the Chairman's plan. AEM members need to help Rep. Oberstar win this fight. Get informed and get involved now.
View Video Highlights of Chicago Start Us Up USA! Rally
Visit the Start Us Up USA! Blog for the Latest
What Can You Do?
Visit the StartUsUpUSA Take Action Center to sign a petition calling for a multi-year reauthorization of the highway bill, to send a letter to Congress and the President on this issue, or to send a pre-written Letter-to-the-Editor to your local paper on the importance of investing in our nation’s transportation system. Urge your employees/co-workers to also use these resources. Numbers matter!
Why Our Industry Should be Concerned
- The highway bill represents the only REAL opportunity for Congress and the Administration to turn the economy around.
- Infrastructure investment means REAL market opportunity for new equipment.—
• For example, given that 6.4 cents of each dollar spent by government on roads is used to purchase equipment and related services, a doubling of the size of the federal highway program from roughly $40 billion to $80 billion (as some have recommended) would create more than $2.5 billion in new market opportunity.
Industry Talking Points: Why We Need A Multi-Year, Comprehensive Highway Bill. Click here for more detailed talking points and answers to Frequently-asked-Questions.
- The economy may be in a recession, but the construction and manufacturing industries are in a depression.
- Congress must pass a long-term, comprehensive federal highway bill now. Funding “shovel ready” projects or a simple extension won’t work. Only long-term planning will spur demand for new equipment.
- Reliable, strong infrastructure and a healthy manufacturing sector are inseparable – both are vital to our nation’s future. We cannot afford to wait any longer.
- Comprehensive infrastructure investment is critical to saving jobs in manufacturing, and indeed, saving U.S. manufacturing and the U.S. economy.
- Employment in the manufacturing sector has declined by 4 million jobs in the past 10 years, and is suffering severe losses in the current recession. Every one of those jobs supported family, community, countless other businesses, and critical government services.
- A recent study by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst found that roughly 18,000 new jobs would be created for every $1 billion in new infrastructure spending on the nation’s transportation, energy, water systems, and public schools.
- Manufacturing is the critical economic engine of our past, present and future. Manufacturing—
• creates good jobs with good wages and benefits,
• strengthens and grows the middle class;
• creates the economic wealth needed to fund things like health care reform, green energy and environmental protections;
• manufacturing is the strongest driver of innovation – our nation was built on manufacturing innovation and it’s the only thing that will keep our nation strong and healthy.
- Greater infrastructure spending is the most effective way to generate employment in the U.S. It will attack the gross deficiencies in our nation’s infrastructure and contribute to longer-term economic growth, particularly for our manufacturing base.
- A 21st century infrastructure system makes U.S. manufacturing – and thus the U.S. – competitive in the world. We have fallen behind and that slide must be halted and reversed.
Read new report - 'U.S. Construction Equipment: Powering Jobs and Dollars'
What Else Can I Do?
- Call your Senators and Representative to tell them to act now. Click here to look up their phone numbers.
- Visit your Representatives and Senators’ home offices to make an appeal for action in person. Click here to look up their office addresses.
- Meet with your employees/co-workers to discuss why they should get involved.
Contact Anne Forristall Luke, Vice President, Government Affairs at 202-898-9004 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more ways you can help.
What AEM is Doing
AEM’s Washington office is in regular contact with key members of Congress to highlight the critical need for a long-term transportation Infrastructure plan. In addition to our independent efforts, AEM is working with coalition organizations to further our agenda. AEM is a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition and Americans for Transportation Mobility.