AEM: Time for Leaders to Show Their Cards on Highway Funding

Feb. 8, 2015

Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), made the following statement following the release of President Obama’s 2016 budget, which would fund transportation projects for six years through a tax on repatriated corporate income:

The equipment manufacturing industry is pleased to see the Obama administration offering a budget that contains more specificity around how they would fund critically needed improvements to the nation’s transportation infrastructure. America’s continued economic growth demands that the Highway Trust Fund have a sustainable revenue stream that provides certainty and solvency for several years. AEM hopes President Obama’s budget will help to jump-start productive, bipartisan discussions as to how the United States can most effectively repair and revitalize the transportation system that is the lifeblood of its modern economy.

And time is of the essence. It’s time for leaders in Congress and the administration to lay their cards on the table and begin intensive negotiations toward a long-term highway bill. If there’s room for bipartisan cooperation, now is the moment to begin hammering through details. That would give lawmakers time to explore sound funding options — like modestly adjusting the gas tax — if bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on alternatives falter.

Equipment manufacturers and the broader transportation community can’t afford more uncertainty; another short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund at the end of May shouldn’t be an acceptable outcome. If this Congress is able to come together to support American infrastructure, we need to find out sooner rather than later.