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Manufacturers Urge New Congress to Start with Infrastructure

Dec. 3, 2018
Association launching campaign focusing on bipartisan appeal.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers is launching a new digital ad campaign to remind Congress and the Trump administration of the bipartisan support for upgrading U.S. public works and urging them to “start with infrastructure’’ in 2019.

The $100,000 campaign, to run Monday to Dec. 14, features a 30-second online video with a Democrat, a Republican and an independent touting the importance of modern highways in California for on-time deliveries, broadband technology in Texas for agricultural yields, and reliable infrastructure in Ohio for clean drinking water.

The campaign targets leaders of both parties, who’ve said an infrastructure measure is something that can get bipartisan support in 2019, as well as newly-elected members of Congress. The effort follows the group’s “mission not accomplished’’ campaign in August that reminded President Donald Trump and lawmakers they haven’t kept their promises to pass an infrastructure bill.

“We’re trying to show that’s it’s not a partisan issue,’’ said Dennis Slater, president of the association representing more than 1,000 companies including Caterpillar Inc., Volvo Construction Equipment Corp. and Link-Belt Cranes. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what your job is, what your politics are, a good transportation system and investing in infrastructure will help on so many different levels.’’

Trump released a plan in February to generate at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment over a decade, but it stalled in Congress and he moved on instead to trade and other issues. Democrats taking control of the U.S. House in January are promising to pursue a measure with significant spending.

The association also released a national Morning Consult poll of 1,945 registered voters conducted online Nov. 21-25. It showed that 68% said infrastructure investment was an important factor in their midterm election decisions, and that more than half said it will make commutes safer and create jobs.

The greatest benefit of a public-works bill for Ohio-based Gradall Industries Inc., which makes excavators and other equipment, would be stable demand allowing for company growth, said Mike Haberman, the company’s president.

He said an agreement is possible because both Trump and the Democrats will want to show results before the 2020 presidential election. Advocates have no choice but to pursue efforts such as the association’s campaign for the sake of the country, he said. “I don’t think there’s an option of sitting on the sidelines.”

By Mark Niquette

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