In a meeting today with Senators at the U.S. Capitol, Dennis Slater, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), called on Congress to address the urgent need to rebuild America’s infrastructure and to actively pursue innovative funding approaches to finance this critical investment without increasing the deficit. The meeting was hosted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Mark Begich and attended by fourteen other Senators including Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Reid and Begich organized the meeting as an opportunity for Senators and leaders from business, labor and state government to strategize about how best to work together to advance comprehensive infrastructure investment legislation in Congress this year.
AEM is a leader and supporter of policies that create manufacturing jobs and Slater, representing AEM’s I Make America campaign, was the only leader from the manufacturing community to speak at today’s meeting. I Make America is AEM’s national grassroots campaign to promote U.S. manufacturing jobs through infrastructure investment and passage of export agreements.
“We need Democrats and Republicans alike to stand up and recognize that investing in America’s crumbling infrastructure is a national imperative – critical to job creation, global competitiveness and our economic security and prosperity, now and well into the future,” said Dennis Slater, President of AEM.
“The opinion research we’ve conducted shows not only that voters nationwide overwhelmingly agree (83 percent) that modernizing and rebuilding infrastructure is both a safety and a jobs issue, but that we need to be thinking ‘outside the box’ with innovative, new funding approaches to make this critical investment without increasing the national deficit,” said Slater.
“Surprisingly, 60 percent of voters would even support a one-cent national sales tax for infrastructure that would expire in five years. What this tells us is that voters believe there is an urgent need to rebuild our infrastructure, and they are looking for leadership and action to get it done,” he affirmed.
Slater also noted that during this recession, one of the main reasons why AEM’s member companies were able to weather the economic downturn was the demand for their products overseas – export markets – and that these opportunities will be threatened if the condition of our transportation infrastructure hampers U.S. manufacturers’ ability to get their products to market quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
The following organizations and individuals were also in attendance during the meeting:
• AFL-CIO, Building and Construction Trades Department, President, Mark Ayers
• Airports Council International – North America, President, Gregory Principato
• Alaska AFL-CIO, President, Vincent Beltrami
• American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, President, Susan Martinovich
• American Road and Transportation Builders, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pete Ruane
• American Trucking Association, Chair, Barbara Windsor
• Amtrak, Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Boardman
• Associated Equipment Distributors, Chairman, Dennis Kruepke
• Associated General Contractors of America, Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Sandherr
• Building America’s Future, Co-Chair, Governor Edward G. Rendell
• CSX Corporation, Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ward
• Genesis High Speed Rail America, Chairman, Duane Wilder
• McCarran International Airport, Director of Aviation, Randall Walker
• National Asphalt Pavement Association, Past Chairman, Jim Weeks
• National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Joy Wilson
To learn more about I Make America, visit us at www.IMakeAmerica.com. Submit a photo to the newly launched Picture a Better America Photo Contest at www.IMakeAmerica.com/photocontest to win a $250 prize and help drive home for your elected officials the reality of America’s crumbling infrastructure and showcase the hard-working men and women that make and grow America.
View short videos of employees and small business owners around the country telling the real life stories of how manufacturing impacts the national economy at www.ADayinAmericanLife.com.
Keep up-to-date on the latest I Make America campaign news on Twitter @IMakeAmerica and on Facebook at www.IMakeAmerica.com.
About I Make America – www.imakeamerica.com
I Make America is supported by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and its 850+ member companies. We are joined by the memberships of like-minded associations, American business owners, and citizens and local elected officials across the nation.
About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) – www.aem.org
AEM is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 850 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors worldwide. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices in the capitals of Washington, D.C., Ottawa, Beijing and a European presence in Brussels.