Lawmakers, academics and industry leaders convened on Capitol Hill to discuss needs, challenges and opportunities for U.S. infrastructure and the need to develop a comprehensive and sustainable vision for the coming decades.

Infrastructure Week Co-Chair Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.), Kansas City Mayor Sly James and industry leaders shared their thoughts on how to reframe public perception and chart the course for the future of America’s infrastructure.

Kennametal CEO Ron De Feo delivered the keynote remarks, which featured a preview of a Northwestern University study on the future needs of U.S. transportation infrastructure. The study was commissioned by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

“AEM is proud to be part of this diverse and committed group of stakeholders focused on elevating the issue of U.S. infrastructure both here in Washington, D.C. and across the country,” said De Feo, who serves as chairman of AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 Task Force. “It is critically important for our industry to bring together different stakeholders and perspectives to advance a concerted, unified effort toward developing an aspirational vision for America’s infrastructure.”

“How our infrastructure systems perform impacts every single person in our country, and I'm grateful to be a part of this important discussion about how we can make smarter infrastructure policies and investments today to ensure America's productivity and competiveness tomorrow,” said Graves. “The federal government is too often reactive – thinking in terms of yesterday's problems – and fails to adapt with the advancements happening around it. Efforts like these are critical to reshaping the way we approach infrastructure spending and to moving us toward future infrastructure systems that are smarter, more efficient and reliable.” 

“As one of the U.S. Department of Transportation's ‘Smart Cities’ finalists, we’ve sought in Kansas City to adopt a forward-looking approach to our infrastructure,” said Mayor James. “I appreciate AEM providing a platform for us to share the Kansas City story with members of Congress and manufacturing leaders so that we can all better partner together to achieve a shared future infrastructure vision.”

The Capitol Hill discussion is one of two events organized by AEM as part of Infrastructure Week 2016. On Monday, May 23, AEM will host a symposium in Evanston, Ill. to unveil the findings of the new study prepared by the Northwestern University Transportation Center.

The events are part of AEM’s broader Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative, which seeks to elevate the national discussion about the future of infrastructure and ensure that equipment manufacturers are positioned to help the world build its next wave of infrastructure.

The Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative also features a crowdsourced, incentivized competition to generate new ideas about U.S. infrastructure from a grassroots community of problem-solvers. To learn more about the competition, click here. Winners of the crowdsourced competition will be announced at AEM’s flagship trade show, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, in March 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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 850 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.

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