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Manufacturers Ask for Urgency in Washington Following Jobs Speech

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater echoed the views of industry manufacturers that transportation funding is a critical economic stepping-stone after President Obama’s jobs speech to a joint session of Congress.

“Deteriorating infrastructure isn’t a campaign-year slogan, it’s a roadblock to commerce that hurts America’s farmers and manufacturers,” he said. “The stark reality of the U.S. economy is that it cannot survive without a thriving agriculture and manufacturing base. Over the past two years, political leaders have settled for no fewer than seven short-term extensions of the highway bill. However, roads and bridges aren’t funded or built a few months at a time. These critical projects require long-term investment.”

Slater said that to compete globally, America’s farmers and manufacturers need the White House and Congress to cooperate on new policies that repair and modernize transportation infrastructure – an issue American voters agree is an essential investment in our country, and an immediate means to job creation.

“In his State of the Union address in January 2011, President Obama promised to put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges,” Slater said. And he said we will make sure this is fully paid for, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians. That was more than eight months ago, and the deadline to pass a long-term highway bill is only a few weeks away.”

America’s manufacturers are eager to rebuild and modernize infrastructure projects throughout the nation. A well-funded highway bill will allow people to get back to work, provide much needed revenue to local communities and restore a sense of optimism in our nation’s future. “What’s needed is a sense of urgency from political leaders in D.C.,” Slater said.

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Pete Ruane, commenting on the jobs speech, said, “We commend President Obama for underscoring the urgent need to improve the nation’s transportation network to boost long-term economic competitiveness and create new jobs. It’s time to move beyond the rhetoric and move forward with something much more concrete on the policy front.”

In his speech Obama reiterated previous proposals for the creation of an infrastructure bank. “This is a critical tool to advance large scale, intermodal projects, and is certainly a part of the solution,” Ruane said. “But, it will take many months to establish and have little instant impact on job creation or in fixing crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems. Most immediately, Congress should pass robust, multi-year highway, transit and aviation reauthorization investment bills that have been languishing for years. They provide the best opportunity to improve the performance of our transportation network and put millions of construction workers back on the job quickly.”