News story

Trade group urges infrastructure funding

Thursday, 18 February 2010 ( #449 ) - Milwaukee, WI, United States
The Milwaukee-based trade group, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), is encouraging the US Congress to reauthorise transportation infrastructure funding. Councils for manufacturers of rough-terrain forklifts, elevating work platforms and aerial devices are among AEM's 34 product-specific membership groups. "Unemployment in the construction equipment industry is more than double the national average, but we can recapture these jobs with the right legislation," says Dennis Slater, AEM president. "What's the solution? Washington needs to focus on legislation for a multi-year, fully funded transportation infrastructure program that would boost employment in the construction industry, including equipment manufacturers and dealers who sell the machinery and construction contractors who buy and use the machinery." Slater notes that legislators approved two short-term extensions with the latest scheduled to expire on 28 February. "It appears that the most likely congressional action will be another extension, a move that does not create the market certainty to promote job growth or meaningful infrastructure improvement," according to Slater. AEM and the trade group Associated Equipment Distributors of Oak Brook, Illinois coordinate the information campaign Start Us Up USA! with analytical input from IHS Global Insight (USA) Inc of Lexington, Massachusetts. IHS says that the US equipment industry has lost 37% of its workforce and 40% of its economic output since 2006. "The need for jobs is serious," Slater says. "Although last year's stimulus money was helpful, it hasn't been enough. If Washington wants to put people to work now, the answer is to pass transportation infrastructure legislation - now."