This article was originally posted in the Star-Telegram. To view the original article, click here.
The water main break and subsequent sinkhole near University Park Village (“SUV falls into sinkhole in Fort Worth,” June 10) highlights the need for a long-term infrastructure investment plan for the nation.
Communities across Texas and the entire country are plagued by inadequate pipes, roads and airports, structurally deficient bridges, and crumbling dams and levees.
Time is wasted in traffic or sitting on an overcrowded runway. Clean water is squandered and roads flooded as water mains break. Lives are put at risk and economic growth is hindered.
Our infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy. It impacts our quality of life, the competitiveness of our businesses and the safety and security of our country.
We can’t forsake our responsibility when it comes to infrastructure upgrades.
Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, Fort Worth
This article was originally published in Transportation Today. To view the original article, click here.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) addressed the need for Congress to pass an infrastructure package, as well as mining, tax and workforce issues of importance to the heavy equipment distribution industry during a visit last week to Road Machinery & Supplies Co. (RMS) in Savage, Minn.
Paulsen, who serves on the House Ways & Means Committee, said he is hopeful that a legislative package to address the nation’s infrastructure needs will come together. But he acknowledged that one potential funding source for highway projects, raising the gas tax, has little support in Congress.
Paulsen said that Congress has been working on approving the Water Resources Development Act, which aims to make improvements to the nation’s ports, locks, dams and other water resources infrastructure. Lawmakers also have been focused on legislation concerning energy infrastructure and renegotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, the congressman noted.
“Overall the tax changes implemented by the Republican Congress have been good for our industry,” RMS President Russell Sheaffer said. “There is confidence out there and we are investing in equipment and personnel. I know Rep. Paulsen understands our issues and we look forward to partnering with him to further strengthen the economy.”
RMS is a distributor of construction and mining equipment with sales and support operations throughout the Upper Midwest region.
“You create good paying jobs and careers that contribute to our economy in a big way,” Paulsen said of the company. “I recognize the workforce shortages you struggle with,” Paulsen said, adding that U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is working on those issues.
“It was great to have Rep. Paulsen here today to discuss issues of critical importance to RMS and the heavy equipment distribution industry,” said RMS CEO Mike Sill.
Paulsen’s visit was arranged by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a trade association representing companies involved in the distribution, rental, and support of equipment used in construction, mining, energy, forestry, power generation, agriculture and industrial applications.
On June 14, AED was joined by eight other major construction industry organizations on separate letters to Senate leadership and the Trump administration opposing the recently implemented tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, the European Union and Mexico.
Other signatories were the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, the Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance, the American Concrete Pipe Association, the National Utility Contractors Association and the National Asphalt Pavement Association.
The letter to the U.S. Senate is in support of Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-Tenn.) bipartisan legislation (S. 3013) that would require congressional approval of tariffs deemed national security-related under Section 232 of the of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
In the letters, the trade organizations expressed opposition to the tariffs on steel and aluminum, particularly highlighting the impact it will have on equipment prices. “The tariffs on Canada will result in a shortage of the raw materials used to manufacture construction equipment while driving up costs for contractors and other customers who purchase the machinery,” the groups wrote.
AED and its construction industry partners also cautioned policymakers that the tariffs will only exasperate delays in manufacturers meeting customer equipment demand. The organizations stated, “The tariffs on Canada, the European Union and Mexico will further disrupt the supply chain, resulting in delays in product completion, an increase in costs for equipment purchasers and inadequate quantities of new construction equipment to help rebuild America.”
Furthermore, the trade associations warned that the tariffs will negate many of the benefits of the new tax law, which ultimately will threaten economic growth and job creation in the United States.
To read the letter to the Trump administration visit, click here.
To read the letter supporting S. 3013 visit, click here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier today, on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, AED’s 2018 Chairwoman Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales Co. demanded congressional action to invest in the United States’ crumbling infrastructure.
Benck’s call to action came during a Capitol Hill press conference where she was joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), as well as other senior construction industry leaders who participated. The event was organized by the Highway Materials Group, a coalition of trade associations representing companies that provide the materials and equipment essential to building America’s roads, bridges, highways, airports and water infrastructure. AED is a leading member of the Highway Materials Group.
With the federal Highway Trust Fund unable to support already inadequate investment levels and the nation’s infrastructure in a state of disrepair, Benck called on Congress to assume its responsibility and turn words into action by working in a bipartisan manner to rebuild the country. Benck detailed the economic impact that the uncertainty surrounding federal infrastructure programs has on the construction equipment industry, as contractors are wary to invest in new machinery without greater confidence in long-term project funding.
Discussing the economic benefits of infrastructure investment, Benck said, “Unlike many government programs, infrastructure funding provides a return on its investment through increased tax revenue and greater productivity. On the heels of the new tax law, there’s no better way to put the nation on a course for sustained economic growth than passing a fully-funded, long-term infrastructure bill.”
She also described the adverse impact that deficient infrastructure has directly on construction equipment dealers. As major users of the transportation network, AED members are plagued by congestion and insufficient highways, roads and bridges. Benck said, “Whether it’s delivering equipment to a customer or servicing equipment on a job site, the country’s inadequate infrastructure has a direct negative effect on my company. Time and fuel wasted diverts resources that could be invested in my business and hinders our ability to serve our customers.”
The Trump administration released an infrastructure proposal earlier this year, placing the ball squarely in Congress’ court to take action. AED will continue to pressure lawmakers to send a long-term infrastructure package that includes a solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s pending insolvency to the president’s desk before the end of the year.
If you have any questions, please contact AED’s Vice President of Government Affairs Daniel B. Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Wednesday, April 18 two leading international trade associations joined forces to urge the Trump administration to permanently exempt Canada from steel tariffs and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) without scrapping the accord entirely.
In a letter to President Donald J. Trump, Associated Equipment Distributors’ (AED) President and CEO Brian P. McGuire and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) President Dennis Slater commended the efforts to maintain strong cross-border relations with Canada while also warning of the detrimental impact to U.S. and Canadian equipment manufacturers and dealers from continued trade uncertainty. Both AED and AEM have U.S. and Canadian members.
“The U.S. and Canada maintain a tightly integrated market for steel,” wrote McGuire and Slater. “Canada has competitively-priced steel production and is taking measures to stop the transshipment of lower-priced steel from other countries. We strongly urge you to grant Canada permanent exemption from U.S. steel tariffs to create market certainty, economic growth and avoid economic harm to our industry on both sides of the border.”
The equipment industry leaders also cautioned the president on NAFTA, encouraging the administration to update the agreement by strengthening trade and investment in the North American market, while maintaining current market access for the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The U.S. maintains a $3 billion a year trade surplus in construction and agricultural equipment with Canada and Mexico.
McGuire and Slater suggested negotiators focus on cross-border labor mobility to help alleviate significant skilled worker shortages in both countries. “Americans and Canadians alike have difficulty crossing the border to perform highly-specialized machinery repairs and servicing,” they wrote. “By including construction equipment service technicians in NAFTA’s International Mobility Program, we can overcome this challenge and have a positive economic impact for our industry.”
The April 18 letter to President Trump can be found here: aednet.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/AED-AEMTariffNAFTALetter-2.pdf
About Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) – www.aednet.org
AED is an international trade association representing companies involved in the distribution, rental, and support of equipment used in construction, mining, energy, forestry, power generation, agriculture, and industrial applications. AED’s more than 500 member companies, which are predominantly small-medium-sized, family-owned businesses, have over 3,000 locations throughout North America, employ 40,000 people and account for $15 billion in annual sales of construction equipment and related supplies. AED is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois and has an office in Washington, D.C.
About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) – www.aem.org
AEM is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 950 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors worldwide. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices in the world capitals of Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.
Yesterday, President Trump signed two proclamations imposing steel (25 percent) and aluminum tariffs (10 percent). AED is concerned about the impact these actions could have on equipment distributors, manufacturers and their customers and the effect on the cost of future infrastructure projects. The association will closely monitor implementation of the tariffs and work with other industry organizations, the administration and Congress to limit its impact on construction equipment dealers. However, AED was pleased that certain countries were exempted, particularly Canada, and that the administration has indicated a willingness to be flexible in excluding more countries.
Following the White House announcement, AED’s President and CEO Brian P. McGuire said:
“The United States operates in a global economy and when a country takes protectionist measures it will always raise concerns about the negative impacts. However, similar to legislative and regulatory actions, the details matter and implementation is crucial. The coming weeks will be important to assess the Trump administration’s commitment to accommodating the concerns of our key trading partners and allies and the impact it will have on on-going trade agreement negotiations, such as NAFTA. Accessible and efficient international trade is critical to continued economic growth and international competitiveness.”
This morning, the Trump administration unveiled it’s much anticipated “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America.” The proposal is a broad “infrastructure plan” that isn’t limited to roads and bridges, but addresses other projects including drinking and wastewater systems, waterways, water resources, energy, rural infrastructure, public lands, veterans’ hospitals and Brownfield and Superfund sites. The set of principles tracks closely with what AED and other stakeholders have advocated for since last year.
“I commend President Trump for focusing on rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” said AED’s President Brian P. McGuire. “The administration’s proposal is just the start of the conversation. It’s now Congress’ responsibility to pass legislation that incorporates many of the principles outlined by the president combined with substantial, sustained investment and new revenue to provide long-term certainty to the construction industry. Americans are craving bipartisan leadership and this will show the country that Washington is serious about rebuilding our infrastructure. It’s time to turn words into action for America.”
Key components of the president’s plan include:
- $200 billion in total funding that will be offset by cuts to federal programs (in other words, no new revenue streams for the Highway Trust Fund or other infrastructure programs);
- Incentivizing states and localities to take on greater responsibility in the design, build and maintenance of infrastructure projects ($100 billion);
- Establishing a “Rural Infrastructure Program” ($50 billion) for capital investments in rural infrastructure investments and a “Transformative Projects Program” ($20 billion) to fund “ambitious, exploratory, and ground-breaking project ideas that have significantly more risk than standard infrastructure projects, but offer a much larger reward profile”;
- Expanding the use of private activity bonds (PABs) and existing federal credit programs, including Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) ($20 billion);
- Providing greater flexibility to toll on interstates and streamlines the permitting process by establishing a “One Agency, One Decision” environmental review structure;
- Encouraging reforms to address the nation’s skills gap, including expanding the use of Pell Grants to short-term programs that lead to a credential or certification in an in-demand fields and modernizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
Infrastructure investment will be at the top of the agenda at the 2018 AED/EDA Washington Fly-In on March 20-22. Register today and help push Congress to provide the necessary resources to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.
Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO of Associated Equipment Distributors, issued the following statement following President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address.
“While AED commends President Trump for continuing to focus on infrastructure investment, the time is long overdue for words to become action. Every day there are numerous examples of structurally deficient bridges, dams and levees and inadequate roads, airports and pipes. Time is wasted in traffic or sitting on an overcrowded runway. Clean water is squandered as water mains break. Lives are put at risk.
“Our infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy. It impacts our quality of life, the competitiveness of our businesses and the safety and security of our country. Our leaders in Washington can no longer forsake their responsibility to invest in the nation’s infrastructure in a long-term, sustainable manner. AED members are ready to work with members of both parties to help make President Trump’s vision of a world-class infrastructure for the United States a reality. Further delay in Washington is unacceptable.”
Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) elected Diane Benck to serve as 2018 Chairwoman last week at their annual Summit held in Las Vegas. Benck, Vice President of General Operations at West Side Tractor Sales in Naperville, Illinois, becomes the first woman to lead AED. She replaces outgoing Chairman Wes Stowers, President of Stowers Machinery in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“I am honored my colleagues in the industry have put their faith in me, and I am up to the task,” stated Benck. She plans to focus on enhancing educational opportunities for the next generation of equipment technicians along with working to promote AED’s positions with legislative leaders in Washington. “AED has really done a great job of enhancing our programs and offering new educational opportunities, and I want to continue that trajectory,” said Benck. “I want to continue to offer top-notch education for the next generation entering the industry,” she added.
“I think staying on top of advocacy and continuing to enhance our government affairs program has always been a prime objective for me with AED and definitely will be during my chairmanship as well,” Benck concluded.
“We are very pleased to have Diane taking the reins at AED. Her experience and leadership skills will help our association maintain its position as the leader in the equipment distribution industry,” stated AED President & CEO Brian P. McGuire. “Based on the comments out of Washington, D.C. recently in regard to an infrastructure bill, it will be a busy year for our association. We are glad to have Diane at the helm as we expand our reach in government affairs, ramp up our training offerings and continue to grow The AED Foundation.”
AED’s President and CEO Brian P. McGuire issued the following statement after congressional approval of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
“Every major piece of legislation will have some positives and some negatives. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is no different. While AED didn’t get everything we wanted, I have no doubt that had we not been at the table throughout the process the industry would be in a far worse position.
“The tax reform process isn’t over. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act will need to be refined, and many important provisions are temporary. The administration will be issuing guidance on many aspects of the new law in the coming year. AED will remain engaged, but it’s important that construction equipment dealers also continue to be involved. As this process has shown, there’s too much at stake not to advocate for your company and your industry.”
To review the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act conference report visit: docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20171218/CRPT-115HRPT-466.pdf
To see highlights of the new law for the construction equipment industry visit: aednet.org/aed-alert-final-tax-conference-committee-agreement-released/
To view AED’s letter of support for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act visit: aednet.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/AED-TaxCutsJobsActSupport.pdf