The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), together with the dozens of industry partners, sent a letter to congressional leadership, urging passage of a one-year extension of the current surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, before it expires on September 30.
“As our industry and our country continues to navigate the lasting effects of the pandemic, now more than ever, we need congressional leaders to rise to the occasion and help keep the wheels moving on critical infrastructure projects across the country,” said Dennis Slater, president of AEM. “As states and local governments continue to see budget shortfalls due to COVID-19, ensuring that the much-needed repair and modernization of our surface transportation system can continue will create American jobs and boost demand for construction equipment. This demand is vital to the longevity of the equipment manufacturing industry and our hardworking 2.8 million men and women.
"Extending the FAST Act, which expires in just 21 days, is the first step," he continued. "We still need for members on both sides of the aisle to work together on a long-term, fully funded reauthorization that will better prepare our roads, highways, bridges, and public transit systems to meet the demands of a globally competitive 21st century economy.”
The letter asks congressional leaders to pass a bill by September 30 that includes:
- A turn-key, one-year extension of the current surface transportation law with increased investment levels;
- Emergency federal funding for state departments of transportation and public transit agencies—$37 billion and $32 billion, respectively; and
- Provisions to ensure solvency of the Highway Trust Fund for the duration of the extension at a minimum.
"Passing legislation that includes the aforementioned priorities would enable critical improvements that increase the safety and efficiency of the surface transportation system," the letter says. "This timely action by Congress would tangibly enhance the quality of life for all Americans and jumpstart America’s economic recovery."