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AEM highlights need for infrastructure investments

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers is highlighting policy recommendations that could help revitalize U.S. infrastructure as negotiations continue in Washington D.C.

AEM President Dennis Slater says infrastructure investments are critical to American competitiveness.  

“I think it used to be that you just made the case for the need to repair things, but now that’s not enough anymore,” he says. “It has to be making a case for how this would be a better system to position the U.S. to be competitive in the world marketplace. That’s something we have to be very careful about here as we’re losing the competitive advantage that we have in our transportation market.” 

AEM recently partnered with the Brookings Institution to release the report, Rebuild with Purpose: an affirmative vision for 21st century American infrastructure.

“If you show the value of what we’re trying to do here about the investment in infrastructure, particularly future thinking with what’s going to happen climate change and resilience and adopting the right workforce for this, I think you’re making the case that goes beyond just roads and bridges,” he says. “That’s the key where we feel confident that rebuild with purpose really could work with that.”

He says now is not the time to get stuck on the cost of infrastructure. For example, a bipartisan group of senators is calling for $580 billion in new spending for infrastructure. 

“We have this $580 billion plan out there that can transform the investment in infrastructure and the two sides are disagreeing on how much more to do,” he says. “We can’t have it happen where we can’t agree on anything and get nothing out of this.”

Slater made these comments on a recent call with reporters.

The report says now is the time to act on infrastructure in four key area: fiscal health, resilience, workforce, and digitalization.

AEM is calling on lawmakers, the manufacturing community, and stakeholders to support transition to renewable energy sources; expand broadband connectivity; ensure states and localities are on stable fiscal footing, and to create new sector partnerships and expand work-based learning programs and outreach.

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