Link-Belt Supports Washington Rally for a Fully Funded Highway Bill

Start Us Up USA rally and caravan to circle Capitol Hill on Wednesday October 28, 2009.

Link-Belt will support the Start Us Up USA rally and caravan of idle equipment, Wednesday, October 28, 2009, in Washington D.C. The caravan will circle Capitol Hill and include an HTC-8660 telescopic truck crane transported by Keen Transport from New Kingstown, PA, USA. The rally and caravan aims to pressure Congress to swiftly reauthorize and fully fund federal road, bridge, transit, and rail programs to spur a jobs recovery. The Start Us Up USA initiative is a collaboration of the Association of Equipment Manufactures (AEM) and the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED).

On Saturday, October 31, current government highway funding programs, called SAFETEA-LU, will expire. Many in Washington want to pass only an 18-month extension and put off the real work of creating a new bill. An 18-month extension makes it impossible for highway officials to plan ahead. If they can't plan, they can't hire equipment companies to supply the equipment and do the work. This congressional action would ignore the deep depression into which the construction equipment industry has sunk.

Among the key findings of a study commissioned by AEM and AED, "U.S. Construction Equipment: Powering Jobs and Dollars," outlined in a letter to the congressional leadership, the construction equipment industry has shed 37 percent of its workforce since the equipment market peak in 2006. The construction equipment industry now has an unemployment rate twice that of the construction industry as a whole and more than three times that of the general economy. The construction equipment industry's output has contracted by nearly 40 percent resulting, directly and indirectly, in the loss of 550,000 jobs-fully eight percent of all jobs lost since the start of the recession.

In addition to participating in the rally, Link-Belt urged its employees, customers, and distributors to sign the Start Us Up USA petition, contact their representatives in congress, or write letters to the editors of their local newspapers.

Jeff Weller, General Manager of Link-Belt Mid-Atlantic, Richmond, VA, the Link-Belt crane distributor supplying the HTC-8660 for the rally, said that the industry is not asking for a handout. "The intent is to demonstrate to our elected leaders that the industry needs some decisive action on their part to pass a multi-year highway bill that will give the industry the confidence to invest in new equipment and job creation."

Chuck Martz, Link-Belt Chairman, CEO and President added that "this funding is critical, long-term, not just to our industry, but to our country. It directly affects our international competitiveness. Similarly, delaying this funding not only affects the industry, but also the overall employment rate and our prospects for economic recovery."

See for more information regarding the rally.

Link-Belt Construction Equipment Company, with headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, is a leader in the design and manufacture of telescopic boom and lattice boom cranes for the construction industry worldwide.

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