At a meeting of key U.S. senators, Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), relayed the direct connection between infrastructure investment and job creation for the construction industry and entire manufacturing sector.
"The single best way to bring back hundreds of thousands of good-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is to pass major long-term investments in our critical national infrastructure," Slater noted.
At a press conference following the meeting, Slater spoke alongside Senators Boxer and Bob Casey (D-PA) and two representatives of national labor organizations. Slater stated, "What we heard today was not only a commitment to a near-term jobs creation package, but a commitment from Senator Boxer to write a multi-year highway bill this year, and to start that process in March. We fully support this commitment and look forward to working with Senator Boxer and her colleagues as they write this critical legislation."
Slater provided a variety of facts relating to the issues:
- 1.25 million. That's how many jobs the construction equipment industry supported in 2008.
- 550,000. That's how many jobs the construction equipment industry has lost in this recession.
- 50%. That's how much employment in the construction equipment manufacturing sector alone has declined since 2006.
- 22,000 deaths annually are related to deficient roadway conditions.
- Commuters in major urban areas waste 4.2 billion hours every year stuck in traffic -- costing another $87 billion to the economy in lost productivity and wasted fuel.
- At least 33% of our nation's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 26% of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
- $225 billion. According to the Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, the U.S. needs to spend $225 billion annually for the next 50 years to upgrade our surface transportation system. We are spending less than 40% of this amount today.
- $350. That's how much wealth is returned to the economy for every $100 invested in infrastructure, according to a University of Maryland study.
- 35,000. According to the Department of Labor, 35,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure.