Following the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s approval of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment & Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act (H.R. 2), Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO, Associated Equipment Distributors, issued the following statement:
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was long overdue for our leaders in Washington to provide substantial, long-term surface transportation investments to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Now, it’s absolutely necessary as the United States stares directly into a significant economic downturn, state Departments of Transportation are unable to fund future construction projects and equipment dealers and their customers are facing significant uncertainty.
“AED members across the country have seen demand for construction equipment purchases and rentals decreasing rapidly as the backlog of pre-COVID-19 construction projects diminishes. The dismal assessment will necessitate tough decisions from the small-medium-sized family-owned companies regarding employment and business investment, particularly as federal programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) end in the coming months. Indeed, even with generous government loans, devoid of long-term funding for surface transportation projects, business at equipment dealerships will grind to a halt compelling drastic employment reductions.
“Now is not the time for partisanship. The future of our country’s economic well-being and competitiveness is at stake. AED urges the House, Senate and the administration to work in a bipartisan manner to expeditiously complete the surface transportation reauthorization process. There are no more excuses—everyone in Washington knows what needs to be done and now is the time to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, put people back to work and generate economic growth for years to come."
The INVEST in America Act is expected to be on the House floor in July. Meanwhile, the Senate’s bipartisan surface transportation bill (America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act), which was unanimously approved by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee last summer, awaits further consideration.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, AED vociferously advocated for congressional action to provide long-term, infrastructure investments. Since mid-March the association has led the charge making the case that construction projects should proceed despite widespread shutdowns, urging governors to continue public works investment notwithstanding state revenue shortfalls and telling Congress and the administration that rebuilding America’s infrastructure must be the top policy priority immediately to spur economic growth.