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US plant firms lobby for PFI funding for roads

The largest construction equipment companies in the US are lobbying the federal government to implement a new surface transportation bill before the end of the year to promote investment in road and rail infrastructure.

“Everyone on both sides of the aisle in Washington understands the need for infrastructure in the US,” said Caterpillar group president Stu Levenick at last week’s Conexpo show in Las Vegas. “It’s affecting competitiveness.”

Case New Holland (CNH) president Jim McCulloch agreed, saying: “This is ultimately about global competitiveness. Businesses make decisions on where to set up based on how easy it is to move their goods around.

“Everyone on both sides of the aisle in Washington understands the need for infrastructure in the US […] it’s affecting competitiveness”

Stu Levenick, Caterpillar

“One year ago nobody in Washington was paying attention; now people are at least saying, how are we going to pay for it.”

Caterpillar’s Levenick has also noticed a thawing on Capitol Hill on the subject of infrastructure investment.

“There’s a lot of goodwill to do it but the question is how to fund it,” he said.

Terex CEO Ron DeFeo agreed that there now seems to be a genuine consensus in Washington that more money needs to be spent on infrastructure, but said: “Our first priority should be to improve and fix the infrastructure we currently have in place, rather than tilting at windmills of major projects.”

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