Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress Sept. 8:
“Deteriorating infrastructure isn’t a campaign-year slogan; it’s a roadblock to commerce that hurts America’s farmers and manufacturers. 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.
“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,’ adding, ’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.”