The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has issued a resolution calling on the U.S. Senate to begin floor consideration as soon as possible on reauthorization of TEA-21 transportation funding legislation and for Congress to complete work on the bill by the current program’s expiration date of May 31, 2005.
TEA-21 will set guaranteed funding levels for highway construction and transit capital investment for the next four years. The legislation will help assure much-needed stability and growth in the transportation construction industry and is also critical to the entire nation’s economy, states AEM. The association is the North American-based international trade group for manufacturers of construction and agricultural equipment and related industry service providers.
AEM notes the importance of a safe and reliable transportation system to America’s economic growth, quality of life and security. The association also points out that indefinite delays in many transportation infrastructure projects have led to marketplace uncertainties that negatively impact the capital investment decisions of equipment customers. AEM is delivering its resolution to every U.S. senator as part of the association’s ongoing efforts to inform legislators and mobilize industry action on this issue.
“America needs a multi-year bill to show federal commitment to sustaining the maintenance and repair of our nation’s highway and transit systems. We also need to provide assurance to our machinery customers that funds will be there to allow them to make timely capital investments in new equipment,” stated AEM President Dennis Slater.
This is the sixth extension of TEA-21 transportation legislation, which originally expired on September 30, 2003. Its guaranteed funding levels will represent about half of the total money that will be made available for highway and transit capital investment through 2009. In early March 2005, the House approved a reauthorization bill (H.R. 3, TEA-LU), which would provide $284 billion for these programs. The Senate bill is S. 732 SAFETEA, and exact funding levels to be proposed in the final bill are not yet known.