A group of leading American companies on March 24 launched the Alliance for American Competitiveness (AFAC), which is dedicated to linking strategic infrastructure investment with long-term growth and competitiveness for the U.S. companies in the global economy.
Congress last approved a federal surface transportation bill in 2012 and current authorizations for projects expire this September. Also pending are a rail authorization bill and the Water Resources and Development Act. As Congress begins the process of approving a new surface transportation bill and other key legislation, the AFAC will encourage lawmakers to work in a bipartisan fashion to approve long term infrastructure measures that support economic growth and job creation through the U.S. economy.
The AFAC is being led by Caterpillar Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Other Executive Board Members are Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), Dow Chemical, Honeywell and United Parcel Service (UPS).
"Caterpillar moves over 12 billion pounds of machines, engines and parts around the world each year. Quick delivery to our customers is critical, and requires a modern road, rail, water and air transportation system,” said Oberhelman. “While other nations are investing hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure, the United States has been under-investing in infrastructure for decades. As a result, we are risking our competitive advantage. The Alliance for American Competitiveness will work with Congress to pass legislation to make the necessary improvements to our nation’s infrastructure so that our country will continue to prosper in the global economy.
BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose said, “BNSF’s role in the supply chain is interrelated with every other mode of transportation, so federal surface transportation policy matters, even though freight rail infrastructure is paid for through railroad revenues and not public funding. I’ve always believed that the U.S. supply chain is a ‘weapon of mass competitiveness’ in the global marketplace which advantages not just U.S. companies but give the American worker a leg up in the increasingly globalized economy. BNSF is proud to be a part of the Alliance for American Competitiveness. Improving our nation’s transportation infrastructure system is essential to the success of our company, as well as the thousands of businesses we support throughout the country. We look forward to working with the other member companies to help lawmakers connect strategic infrastructure improvements with increased competitiveness for U.S.-based companies in the global economy.”
Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris offered, “As a U.S.-based company with global reach, Dow relies on an integrated infrastructure network to connect our employees and operations worldwide. We produce and market technology-based products and solutions that improve the everyday lives of people across the globe. Dow is a leading global manufacturer of advanced materials and we rely on an efficient transportation system to help us get those products and technologies where they need to be. For this reason, we are proud to join the Alliance for American Competitiveness. We look forward to being a part of the effort to help lawmakers connect strategic infrastructure investment with job creation and economic growth.”
Honeywell Chairman and CEO Dave Cote stated, “An integral part of keeping the U.S. economy competitive is having a transportation infrastructure that connects everything, while providing continued opportunity for expansion. Unfortunately, infrastructure improvement has been an afterthought in the U.S. for more than 50 years. According to a Department of the Treasury report, China spends about 9 percent of GDP on infrastructure, Europe spends roughly 5 percent, and the U.S. spends approximately 2 percent, a 50 percent decline from 1960. We need better roads, bridges, and ports. We also need to upgrade our Air Traffic Management system from its current 1950’s baseline. While overall government spending needs to be cut drastically, there is such a thing as ‘good’ or ‘investment’ spending that helps grows the pie and infrastructure is one area that the U.S. needs to address now. Through the Alliance for American Competitiveness, Honeywell looks forward to helping educate lawmakers on the need for a system that empowers economic growth and job creation.”
UPS Chairman and CEO Scott Davis said, "Transportation is the backbone of commerce and the US must invest now to modernize our roads, bridges, ports and airports if we are to continue to be globally competitive. Our economic success hinges on the quality of our infrastructure. We all live and operate in a global, connected world -- and we need connections that work, to put people to work and deliver on what they need. Growth and job creation are the destination; infrastructure is how we'll get there."
“As a former governor, I know how vital safe, reliable and efficient infrastructure is to attracting investment to a state. Economical logistics are critical to productivity increases and, therefore, competitiveness,” Barbour said. “As a nation, we are not doing enough to keep up with other countries’ infrastructure investments. We are losing out on economic opportunities and at the same time making it harder for U.S.-based companies to compete and grow. This Alliance was formed to help lawmakers look beyond roads and bridges to the goods and services that move on them – and to the millions of jobs that movement supports. This is not about short term construction jobs; it’s about long term economic growth and job creation over the next 30, 40, even 50 years. We believe strategic infrastructure investment is essential to the long-term economic success of the U.S. This is an issue of bipartisan importance that must be addressed soon.”