Steel Industry Seeks Approval of Transportation Bill

Steel organizations call for extension of infrastructure bill to help create industry-related jobs.

Updated: Sept. 7, 3:58 p.m. EDT

A resurrected coalition of steel industry suppliers and customers will initially focus on gaining approval of a multiyear transportation reauthorization bill that would create steel-intensive jobs, said American Steel Coalition Chairman Michael Romano, during a Sept. 7 conference call.

The American Iron and Steel Institute issued a statement later in the day also supporting an extension of the bill, known as SAFETEA-LU for the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users.

The bill is set to expire Sept. 30.

"If the Administration and the Congress want to have the greatest impact on unemployment while also addressing our nation's crumbling infrastructure, they must work together across the aisle to produce a bipartisan bill that can be quickly approved," said AISI President Thomas Gibson.

Every billion dollars invested in transportation infrastructure generates over 30,000 jobs, Gibson says.

The American Steel Coalition was first founded in 2001 to address import dumping issues in the steel industry but has largely sat dormant since relief measures were approved, said Romano, vice president of strategic accounts for Nalco Co.

"Unlike its role in 2001, we see the coalition giving members a voice year-round, not just responding to crises, but with an ongoing, intensive focus on policy issues that impact our businesses," Romano said. "We will be engaged in a number of key issues impacting our competitiveness, including our national energy policy, transportation and infrastructure, regulatory matters and international trade."

Nine founding members from companies that supply the steel industry relaunched the coalition with a broader focus on manufacturing as a whole.

The coalition's initial priority is approval of a multiyear transportation bill that would provide infrastructure-related jobs, Romano said.

Trade issues are not on the coalition's immediate agenda but could be a target in the future, Romano said.

Coalition members will personally address issues with representatives in Washington, D.C., rather than working through lobbyists.

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