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Industry quickly reacts to the FAST Act

By |  December 4, 2015

Passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act naturally drew a mostly positive response from industry stakeholders. Here’s how a few people with surface transportation infrastructure interests reacted to the multi-year highway bill.

Mike Johnson, NSSGA: “This critical bill gives state and federal governments the funding certainty essential for informed infrastructure investment. Our industry is ready to get to work and help improve the condition, efficiency and safety of America’s roads, highways and bridges. We commend members of Congress for seeing the value of a robust infrastructure to foster economic growth, maintain our global competitiveness and improve the quality of life for Americans.”

Dennis Slater, Association of Equipment Manufacturers: “The FAST Act will offer five years of stability to our nation’s surface transportation programs while steadily increasing infrastructure investment. This certainty extends to both the equipment manufacturing industry and the entire economy. The FAST Act means faster and safer infrastructure, economic growth and more prosperity.”

Pete Ruane, American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA): “The good news is that from a public policy standpoint, there are a number of things to like about the FAST Act: It provides five years of funding predictability and less federal red tape for state transportation improvement programs. This, in turn, will help maintain employment, assists the public and private sectors to plan ahead, and it will speed up project delivery. It puts in place a reporting process that will provide more transparency and accountability. Highway users will now be able to know how and where their federal fuels taxes are being invested in their community. And it creates the program framework to finally start modernizing our National Highway Freight Network. All that is missing is the money to get that job done right.”

Brian P. McGuire, Associated Equipment Distributors (AED): “This is more than a philosophical victory. Equipment dealers, manufacturers and their customers can now once again plan for the future. Over the next five years, the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal highway and transit investment guaranteed in the bill will stimulate more than $13 billion in equipment sales, rental and maintenance activity and support more than 4,000 dealership jobs each year.”

David Chereb, SC Market Analytics: “The new five-year transportation bill will increase funds by a modest amount for material providers and add some stability for longer-term planning. The new funds are far short of amounts needed to reduce the backlog of infrastructure needs. What remains unsolved is a reliable source of funds for the plan. In summary, this is a small step forward.”

Ken Orski, Innovation Briefs author: “The FAST Act marks the beginning of the end for the Highway Trust Fund as we have known it. The $305 billion [five]-year measure draws heavily on general funds (to the tune of $70 billion), and relegates to a virtual anachronism the ‘user-pays’ principle that was the philosophic foundation of the federal-aid highway program for the past 60 years. It’s a sad but inevitable ending to what was once a bold and innovative concept to finance highway infrastructure. Without it,  the Interstate Highway System would not have been built. But as the mission of the federal transportation program became more diffused and its scope vastly expanded, it no longer makes sense for the highway users to bear the entire fiscal burden. Unwittingly, Congress has acknowledged the changed nature of the program and has made the general taxpayer assume a major portion of the cost of  preserving and improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure.”

John Garrison, Superior Industries: “Superior was very excited to hear this as we have been working to grow and expand our company. It’s definitely great news for our industry and will help to bring some stability to our market. The long-term funding will help producers and manufacturers to better plan for much-needed projects. I’m hopeful this will be a start to getting the U.S. back to being a leader in infrastructure.”

Jim Hasler, Case Construction Equipment: “This has been a hard-fought victory with many different associations and stakeholders pushing for a solution for years now. For the general public, this will have a far-reaching effect on safety, congestion and economical development. For Case, and all construction OEMs, this is very significant. States will now plan projects with more confidence. Long-term investment where contractors can plan for a backlog of work and consistent funding helps spur workforce development and capital equipment investment.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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