By Kate Fox Wood, AEM Senior Director, Government Relations
At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) sent a letter to President Trump and Congressional leadership urging them to include infrastructure investment in a government relief package. AEM supported an effort to provide additional emergency funds for state departments of transportation facing severe revenue shortfalls. AEM Chair Jeffrey Reed and CE Sector Board Chairman Rod Schrader wrote directly to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao about the importance of her leadership in ensuring Congress follows through with infrastructure investment this year. AEM played a key role in the release of a national rural roads report issued by TRIP that has been shared widely with policymakers.
During dozens of calls with lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, equipment manufacturers have reiterated their commitment to keepAEM facilities open while keeping their employees safe, and acknowledged the important role they play in supporting the nation’s critical essential infrastructure workforce like construction, utilities, and agriculture.
Equipment manufacturers also continue to make a strong case for why infrastructure investment should be a key part of any COVID-19 economic recovery plan. There is a proven track record for predictable, long-term infrastructure investment in providing jobs and boosting economic activity.
Infrastructure investment ensures critical supply chain needs can continue to be met now and in future. We cannot assume that supply chain disruptions will not develop further down the recovery timeline. Our country must be ready to weather unforeseen headwinds. U.S. roads, highways, bridges, ports, waterways, utility systems, and broadband networks must be primed and ready to adapt. We need infrastructure legislation that is bipartisan. We need infrastructure legislation that includes a plan to train a workforce that maintains and operates these important networks. We need infrastructure legislation that embraces the use of smart technology. And we need infrastructure legislation that is fully funded and long-term.
As policymakers chart a path forward during these uncertain times in our nation’s history, one thing is clear: meaningful investment in infrastructure is as important as ever. Equipment manufacturers look forward to advancing this goal, and continuing to support industries that build, feed, and fuel the world.