Caterpillar's CEO Oberhelman: U.S. Needs an Infrastructure Program

Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman called for U.S. policymakers to launch a strong infrastructure repair program to upgrade ports and domestic transportation networks.

He said its Illinois factories are producing about 80 to 90 percent of their heavy construction or mining vehicles and other products for the export markets. But "we worry about the port structure in the United States, and the basic transportation system as we try to get export goods out of this country or components into this country from our suppliers," he said.

Although Caterpillar has plants in other states, it is based in Peoria, Ill., and has many of its key factories in that state. That includes "our most important mining plants, our big tractor plants, the backbone of our company (and) right now they're all running on exports," Oberhelman told CNBC.

The condition of the nation's infrastructure makes it tougher to ship Caterpillar's products from interior plants to seaports or bring supplies in, he said. "It's every day harder and harder and harder, because we're clogged, we're antiquated, we've not invested in those" transportation systems.

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