By Kate Fox Wood, AEM Director of Government Relations

InfrastructureEver since the 116th Congress began its work earlier this year, momentum behind a comprehensive infrastructure bill has continued to build among Republicans and Democrats in both Chambers.

House Democratic Leadership has made it very clear that they want to see draft legislation by early summer – demonstrating that AEM’s repeated calls to make infrastructure a priority in 2019 are being heard. U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and fellow committee members have hosted at least one hearing a week since this year’s government shutdown ended, and they show no signs of slowing down. The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee – which has jurisdiction over things such as revenue mechanisms for the Highway Trust Fund – held a hearing just two weeks ago on infrastructure investment. This was significant, since it was the first hearing on the issue since 2015. The Senate has also hosted a range of committee hearings on infrastructure investment.

Although uncertainty is high in Washington these days, and there is no shortage of issues that dampen the prospects for infrastructure, AEM remains focused on uniting stakeholders and ensuring lawmakers know that the equipment manufacturing industry fully supports their efforts to make progress this year. Through one-on-one meetings, high-profile events, and other tactics, AEM and our member companies continue to have real skin in the game when it comes to supporting the rebuilding and modernization of U.S. infrastructure.

AEM kicked off the year with a public affairs campaign designed to raise awareness and drive the infrastructure agenda in Washington. The campaign, titled “Start with Infrastructure,” featured a 30-second video, which resulted in significant news coverage and more than 1.5 million video views and over 11 million impressions.

No LabelsThe public affairs campaign then transitioned into a two-panel event with Republicans and Democrats from the Problems Solvers Caucus as well as industry leaders in Washington, DC. The event, which took place at the Newseum, aired on C-SPAN multiple times and was livestreamed to over 15,000 viewers on Facebook and Twitter. The overwhelming theme was consensus building and moving forward with a bipartisan plan. Industry leaders from AEM, the Associated Equipment Distributors, the American Road and Transportation Builders, and the U.S. Chamber emphasized that a long-term fix to the Highway Trust Fund must be included in any infrastructure bill, and offered support for a variety of user-based funding solutions.

World of AsphaltAEM also took the infrastructure issue on the road to World of Asphalt in Indianapolis, where we partnered with the National Stone Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) and the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) for an event that made the case to Congress to incorporate workforce development into any infrastructure bill.

Most recently, AEM hosted a panel discussion at Commodity Classic in Orlando with five executives from the agriculture equipment sector. Participants emphasized the need for the broader agricultural community to unite and become actively involved in the ongoing conversations taking place about infrastructure investment due to the important role it plays in moving food and fiber across the country and to markets overseas.

Commodity ClassicThe AEM DC office is visiting with offices on the Hill, particularly freshman lawmakers, to bring them up to speed on issues like the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and the equipment manufacturing industry’s position on funding proposals.

AEM and the equipment manufacturing industry continues to put in the work to unite our partners and support efforts by Congress and the White House to get something done on infrastructure, and get it done this year. There is no shortage of partisanship in Washington these days, but our industry and partners are organized, mobilized, and ready to keep the focus on this critical issue.

Subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor for more AEM news and updates.

×