Jay Timmons' Remarks at Infrastructure Week Advocacy Day Press Event (Washington, D.C.)

Thank you, Secretary LaHood, for that kind introduction and being an outstanding champion for a modern transportation system vital to growing manufacturing in the Unites States and maintaining our nation’s mantle of economic leadership.

I want to thank Senator Shaheen for helping to bring us together this morning and for your strong support of renewing and rebuilding our infrastructure.  

And it’s great to share the stage with Mayors Becker and Tait. And to once again join with my friend Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LiUNA, to not just show lawmakers that both workers and job creators speak with one, unified voice for the future we must build. But to make clear that the outcome we desire—and all Americans deserve—requires leadership now.

The clock is ticking. Not just on federal highway and other transit programs funding—with only 18 days left before that funding expires. But the clock is ticking on America exceptionalism.

While other nations—who constantly work to take away our mantle of economic leadership and make it their own—while they continue to invest in infrastructure, as the NAM’s Catching Up Report detailed, the United States is stuck in a decade-long period of decline in overall infrastructure capital spending that seriously endangers the livelihoods of all Americans, our future productivity, and our ability to compete head-to-head with companies all over the globe. From 2003 to 2012, capital spending on infrastructure has decreased by 10.5 percent in real dollars. The investment in highways and roads was almost 20 percent lower than in 2012 compared to 2003.

Manufacturers in the United States are powering an economic revival, generating a record $2 trillion for the U.S. economy, and employing more than 12 million Americans. But that’s progress we cannot sustain if we do not address the crisis of ports, roadways, railways, and runways designed for a bygone era.

Patchwork solutions are not enough. Another short-term extension would be the 33rd time – 33rd time—in six years that Congress has failed, when faced with the need for a new transportation measure—not just highways—to take decisive action to build a foundation for sustained prosperity.

This is unacceptable—and disserves the hardest working, most innovative, and most productive workers in the world. It’s past time for a well-funded, multi-year surface transportation authorization.

We cannot be the first American generation that lets down the next generation. We have the means, and the know-how, to secure a more prosperous, safe, and stronger country.

That’s why manufacturers today, this week, and every day—joined by our partners here and across the country, traditional and non-traditional allies—are urging Congress to take the right, long-term action now to ensure our nation is properly set on a prosperous course.   

As a people and as a nation, we don’t settle for less than what is achievable. We make our own destiny. This is the time when our nation’s leaders must choose our future.

The opportunities are too great not to catch up and lead the world again.

Thank you.