Jim McCullough, CEO and president of CNH Construction, which offers Case, New Holland and Kobelco construction equipment, this week testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to report on progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
McCullough, who also serves as vice chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, noted that the association this week launched “I Make America,” a national grassroots effort to broaden awareness about the vital impact of equipment manufacturing both on the U.S. economy and global competitiveness. “Our members don’t just make equipment,” he said. “They make prosperity.”
McCullough pointed out that the heavy construction equipment industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy and substantially impacts the economy of every state and congressional district.
“In 2008, equipment manufacturers, distributors, and independent maintenance providers had a $364.9-billion impact on the U.S. economy, supported more than 2 million American jobs, and paid $111.3 billion in wages, salaries and benefits,” McCullough said. He added that a 2009 study by IHS Global Insight showed that during this recession the sector lost approximately 50 percent of its pre-recession activity.
McCullough emphasized the need for long-term funding solutions, rather than short-term extensions, noting that research shows that investment in the nation’s highways, bridges, water and transit infrastructure creates about 18,000 jobs for every $1 billion spent.
McCullough pointed out that, although AEM members have started to see some impact from the highway bill and other stimulus spending, funding is “as the committee is well aware, far below the required investment needs. We know that construction has lifted this country out of prior economic recessions. Now, we need to invest in what we know works to build both economic momentum and an infrastructure that will create long-term value for all of us.”
He said the emphasis on “shovel-ready” projects resulted in the majority of early investment going to road resurfacing, reconstruction and rehabilitation of existing bridges and roadways. “A long-term transportation bill will provide critical funding for ‘bulldozer-ready’ projects with the continuing benefit of easing congestion and more efficiently moving people and goods.”
For more information on AEM’s “I Make America” campaign, visit www.IMakeAmerica.com.