(Bismarck, N.D. – August 2018) The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), in partnership with Doosan Bobcat North America, hosted a town hall to discuss the importance of infrastructure for the equipment manufacturing industry and the U.S. economy. The town hall, attended by more than 200 equipment manufacturing employees and watched by thousands more online, took place as North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum officially declared August 16th “Infrastructure Day.”
"Our state's infrastructure is the bedrock of a robust and growing economy,” said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. “We must continue to prioritize the need to update and modernize our state's system of roads, rails, bridges, waterways, airports, broadband and more, so our state can stay competitive in an increasingly global market. By doing so we can continue to make our communities safer, create more good-paying jobs, and attract new investment. It's for all these reasons that I've decided to proclaim August 16, “Infrastructure Day” in North Dakota."
Adie Tomer from the Brookings Institution, Shoshana Lew of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and David Leopold from the City Tech Collaborative, discussed topics such as the impact of infrastructure investment at the federal and state levels, how technology is changing the way we think of and interact with infrastructure, and the importance of reclaiming the U.S. infrastructure advantage in an increasingly interconnected global economy.
“Now is the time to invest in our infrastructure and strengthen our country’s global competitiveness,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “By engaging the men and women of our industry in a conversation about how infrastructure directly impacts their jobs, their communities and their quality of life, we hope to inspire change from the ground up. It is one of the most important things we can do to ensure the long-term success of our industry.”
The event was part of AEM’s I Make America Town Hall Tour, which was launched to educate and engage manufacturing voters about the policies that are critical to the future of the industry. At a time when too many policy debates that directly impact the future of the equipment manufacturing industry take place in Washington, AEM is bringing policy and industry experts to shop floors across the country for engaging and productive discussions with the men and women who help make America.
“We need Congress to pass comprehensive infrastructure legislation that addresses the persistent shortfalls in our infrastructure system,” said Doosan Bobcat North America President and AEM Board Chair Rich Goldsbury. “Doing so will help ensure that equipment manufacturing continues to thrive in the United States.”
People in North Dakota are experiencing the effects of chronic underinvestment in infrastructure first-hand according to a Morning Consult poll released today. One in five (19 percent) North Dakotans said that their summer travel plans were affected by problems related to infrastructure, and two thirds (59 percent) of people believe “getting agricultural goods from farm to table” is the number one reason infrastructure is so critical to the state’s economy.
Along with the Town Hall Tour event, AEM is currently running a six-figure, two-week public affairs campaign designed to reenergize the debate around rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. The centerpiece of AEM’s effort is a 30-second TV ad featuring men and women of the industry urging Congress and President Trump to make infrastructure investment a top priority.