Timmons: Crumbling Infrastructure Hurting Manufacturers

We Need Leadership with Long-Term Surface Transportation Legislation

Speaking on a panel organized by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Council on Competitiveness and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered a simple message for policymakers: Our nation’s aging and crumbling infrastructure is impeding manufacturers’ competitiveness. As the kickoff event to Infrastructure Week 2014, the panel also included other national infrastructure leaders, including U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue, Council on Competitiveness President and CEO Deborah Wince-Smith and Organization for International Investment President and CEO Nancy McLernon.

“Our aging infrastructure and our failure to make adequate investments in it are significant impediments to our nation’s competitiveness and our ability to maintain our mantle of economic leadership,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers can’t afford more delays. Lawmakers must address these challenges and adopt a multiyear, fully funded surface transportation bill that offers certainty and support for infrastructure projects that improve safety, facilitate trade and create jobs. Congress must bring the federal Highway Trust Fund to an improved condition of solvency and long-term sustainability.”

Timmons also expressed appreciation to members of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) conference for recently moving forward on compromise legislation. “Manufacturers depend on inland waterways and ports to move key commodities and finished products to customers here and abroad,” said Timmons. “House and Senate negotiators should be commended for their efforts to push this important legislation across the finish line.”

The NAM recently joined with Building America’s Future to commission a survey of manufacturers’ view on infrastructure. According to the survey of more than 400 manufacturers, the majority of respondents believe American infrastructure is in fair or poor shape, while roads in particular are getting worse. There is strong agreement among manufacturers that U.S. infrastructure is not positioned to respond to the competitive demands of a growing economy. To read a summary of the survey results, click here.