Manufacturers appreciate the President’s recognition that transportation investments are critical to creating jobs and strengthening the economy. We look forward to working with the Administration to advance the nation’s infrastructure and to deal with the most pressing challenges facing the transportation network.
The President’s proposal to dedicate $50 billion for the most urgent repairs , however, will not fully address the diverse range of needs facing the system. Manufacturers believe that Congress and the Administration must work together to address the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and seek to pass a well-funded, multi-year authorization immediately following the expiration of MAP-21 in 2014.
Manufacturers oppose the Administration’s proposal to introduce new user fees on inland waterway barge operations. The diesel fuel tax is the best way to finance inland waterways investments as a 50-50 industry partnership with the federal government. And it is now time to update the current revenue stream in order to support a comprehensive capital development plan that will guide future inland waterway investments. Manufacturers understand the value of the nation’s 12,000 miles of navigable inland and coastal waterways and rely on its efficiency to compete and grow.
Manufacturers also oppose the President’s proposal to introduce a $100 per flight aviation user fee. Aviation supports economic activity at many levels and a new tax is contrary to the goal of maintaining a robust aviation industry that helps keep manufacturing competitive.
Improving infrastructure helps businesses compete, succeed and grow. Certainly, the private sector can play an important role but we face an important choice ahead of us. As a nation, do we allow the continued deterioration of infrastructure that is used every day by manufacturers or do we begin to make those critical investments in this budget?