Statement by Dennis Slater, President of AEM

A statement by AEM President Dennis Slater supporting Representative Jim Oberstar's proposed three-month extension for the highway bill which expires next week.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) joins the US Chamber of Commerce to urge Congress to focus on the very serious need to fund the highway bill (SAFETEA-LU) and to adopt Representative Jim Oberstar's proposed three-month extension of the current highway bill rather than the Senate's 18-month extension.

AEM, together with its colleagues at Associated Equipment Distributors, has launched an all-out effort in support of a comprehensive highway bill reauthorization. AEM commends its partners at the Chamber, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), AAA and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) for their action in sending an open letter to the president and to the Congress urging them to enact a multi-year surface transportation bill as soon as possible (see the attachment).

Our country simply cannot afford to wait 18 months for long-term investment that will provide comprehensive solutions to our transportation challenges and create jobs.

AEM has been a constant voice for adequate funding for roads, bridges and other surface transportation upgrades. Greater investment is needed for the US to maintain its worldwide economic leadership. Emerging powers are using our Interstate highway system as a model for advancement, as we neglect our own infrastructure improvements and risk losing our global competitive advantage.

You get what you pay for and if the US wants to be the global economic leader, it needs the best surface transportation to move goods to market.

Proper investment in surface transportation also means jobs for key manufacturing sectors. Construction equipment manufacturers have lost a significant number of jobs as some product categories are down in 2009 by 70 to 80 percent. We ask that you join your voice with AEM in supporting a short extension and adequate funding of the highway bill.

The status quo is unacceptable. We cannot have the economy we want with the transportation system we have.

AEM continues to encourage industry professional to take action: