Highway Bill Reauthorization Update
‘START US UP USA!’ HOLDS RALLY IN WASHINGTON, D.C. By Gini McKain
A large HTC-8660 gray-and-red striped 60-ton Link-
Belt crane, trailered by Keen Transport from New Kings-
town, PA, lead the procession of a dozen idle pieces
of heavy construction equipment in and around the
National Mall and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on
Oct. 28. It was all part of Start Us Up USA! – the last
of three rallies held around America to call on the fed-
eral government to reauthorize critical transportation
spending. The co-sponsors of the rally, the Association
of Equipment Manufacturers and the Associated Equip-
ment Distributors, want to communicate the impact of
the recession and lack of federal funding for the con-
Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman - House
struction industry. The event expressed the critical need
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee,
of a new multi-year highway bill now.
speaks to construction industry supporters.
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) was keynote speaker,
with the Capitol and more idle equipment as a backdrop ing is a critical component to spurring a recovery of
in a field of 5,500 orange flags representing 550,000 laid the construction equipment industry nationwide and
off workers. With over a half million construction jobs improving our nation’s infrastructure,” added Dennis
lost since the height of the industry in 2006, Chairman Slater, president of AEM.
Oberstar exhorted the compelling need for the new bill The unemployment rate for the construction seg-
saying, “Our committee, for two and a half years, has ment is above 17%, more than any other industry in
held hearings on the Surface Transportation Program, America, including the auto and financial sectors. Put
and the changes we need to restructure the department another way, two out of every 25 jobs lost since the
of transportation. We need to recreate the federal tran- beginning of 2008, can be traced to the downturn in con-
sit and highway administration, and establish an office struction equipment spending.
to expedite projects in three months, instead of three There is no more short-term solution. A long-term
years as it is today. multi-