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.