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AED Washington Insights Newsletter

AED Washington Insights

March 2011

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Prepared by Christian A. Klein, AED Vice President of Government Affairs
and the AED Washington team

In this Issue:


The Time is Right: Put Highway Reauthorization in the Fast Lane

On March 3, President Obama signed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011 (H.R. 662) into law, extending the federal highway program through Sept. 30, 2011. Given the uncertainty surrounding all federal programs, H.R. 662 was a major victory for AED and our allies.

This marks the seventh extension of SAFETEA-LU, the most recent multiyear highway law, since its September 2009 expiration. To speed up the reauthorization process and ensure that yet another extension is unnecessary, equipment distributors must ramp up their outreach to Congress and urge swift action from lawmakers.

"Congress must use this new extension period as a 'must do' window to enact a robust, long-term surface transportation bill," said AED President and CEO Toby Mack. "Lawmakers must recognize that surface transportation investment is the 'bricks and mortar' that creates and maintains the physical structure upon which our economy operates and grows, and is an urgent national priority."

The latest extension provides some near-term certainty to construction and equipment markets, allowing states to proceed with project lettings as the construction season gets underway. However, the long-term predictability and planning in transportation spending that the industry so desperately needs remains impossible without a new multiyear highway bill.

AED Hosts Highway Reauthorization Webinar
With Congress slowly moving forward on highway reauthorization, it is critical that lawmakers hear from their constituents about the need for urgent action, AED Vice President of Government Affairs Christian Klein told equipment distributors.

In a March 11 webinar, "The Road Ahead for Highway Reauthorization," Klein surveyed the opportunities and challenges surrounding the push for a new, multiyear highway bill and detailed the actions AED members can take to speed up the process.

"Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica (R-FL) have made highway reauthorization a top priority. However, many notable speed bumps remain, including a dramatic shortage of resources, the ongoing debate over the size of the federal budget, and the scope of the government's role," Klein said.

Klein warned that a limited window exists for completing work on a new highway bill and encouraged industry leaders to urge their lawmakers to make reauthorization a top priority. Without significant progress in the coming months, transportation infrastructure advocates will bump into the politics of a presidential election year, further diminishing the chances of completing the highway reauthorization process this Congress.

If you missed the highway reauthorization webinar, please click here to listen to the presentation and view the PowerPoint slides.

Help Wanted! Attend the AED Washington Fly-In
To jump-start the reauthorization process, all industry members are encouraged to attend the upcoming Washington Fly-In. Held May 11-13, AED's Washington Fly-In brings equipment dealer executives from across the country to Capitol Hill for briefings on the current political landscape and policy priorities for the industry. Attendees will then walk into House and Senate offices to let their voices be heard in face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and Congressional staff. This kind of active participation sends a powerful message to lawmakers while reinforcing the association's actions in Washington. Click here to register for the Fly-In.

In the meantime, AED and its allies in the construction industry and business community are aggressively lobbying Congress to swiftly enact a new surface transportation authorization law. However, it is critical that your representatives and senators hear from you about the need for a new highway bill and the difference between smart investments in our nation's future and wasteful spending. Click here to send a note urging your lawmakers to make surface transportation reauthorization a top priority.



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Help AED Shape the Highway Debate – Support AED WEF Today!

The debate over the reauthorization of a new multiyear highway bill is beginning to take shape in the 112th Congress and AED stands ready to be a key player. The equipment industry has a lot at stake in its outcome. According to an AED study, equipment spending accounts for 6.4 cents of every dollar spent on highway construction.

To shape the debate over the future of federal surface transportation, the association must have adequate resources. Your support allows AED to be an industry leader in Washington, connecting distributors with lawmakers and leading industry partnerships. Without robust support, AED's ability to be a successful and forceful advocate for distributors is severely limited.

Your support for AED's Washington Education Fund (WEF) is a critical component driving the association's broad outreach efforts. Among other things, your contribution to WEF allows us to:
  • Maintain our AEDaction.org grassroots website, making it easy for distributors and their employees to communicate with Congress about key issues
  • Lead lobbying coalitions to reauthorize highway and water programs, permanently resolve the death tax issue, protect LIFO, prevent anti-employer bills like Card Check from moving forward, and fix the health care reform law
  • Send AED staff to equipment industry local group meetings around the country to build the industry's grassroots network and encourage distributor political activism
  • Produce our state equipment dealer law book, scheduled for update this year
  • Conduct economic research to help tell our industry's story on Capitol Hill
Corporate contributions to AED WEF are welcome, and there is no limit on how much you can give. Any company with a stake in AED's success in Washington is encouraged to participate.

No contribution is too small (or too big!). You generous support helps ensure AED's strength and leadership in Washington.

Please use the online pledge form (http://www.aednet.org/government/wef.cfm) to provide AED with the resources for success on the Hill.

For more information, please contact Crystal Maguire at 703-739-9513.

Thanks to all the equipment industry leaders
who supported AED WEF so far in 2011:


Champion ($2500)
Stowers Machinery Corporation
Yancey Bros. Co.

Patron ($1250)
Brandeis Machinery and Supply Co. (BRAMCO)
Caterpillar, Inc.
Erb Equipment Company, Inc.
Kirby-Smith Manufacturing, Inc.
Ohio CAT
ROMCO Equipment Co.
Vermeer Midsouth, Inc.
Whayne Supply Co.

Donor ($750)
Accruit
Alban Tractor Co., Inc.
Arnold Machinery Company
Clyde/West, Inc.
C.N. Wood Co., Inc.
Hoffman Equipment Co. ($1,000)
McCann Industries, Inc.
Miller-Bradford & Risberg, Inc.
Road Machinery LLC
Stephenson Equipment, Inc.
West Virginia Tractor Company

Friend ($350)
Berry Companies, Inc.
Cate Equipment Company
Construction Equipment Guide, Ltd.
Faris Machinery Company
Garden State Bobcat, Inc.
H.O. Penn Machinery Company, Inc.
Lowe Manufacturing Company, Inc.
Metrolift, Inc.
Power Equipment Co.
Rockland Manufacturing Co.
Walsh Equipment, Inc. ($500)




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House Approves 1099 Repeal

On March 3, the House approved a bill (H.R. 4) that would repeal the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1099 reporting mandate in the 2010 health care law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

Earlier in February, the Senate approved an amendment removing the onerous requirement as part of the FAA bill (S. 223). While strong bipartisan support exists in both chambers for repeal, a difference in the bill's offset to the projected revenue from the 1099 provision has delayed action and set up a showdown between the two chambers.

In a March 2 letter to House leadership, AED joined a coalition of small business groups urging immediate action to repeal the requirement that companies report every transaction with an outside vendor totaling more than $600 on an IRS Form 1099 beginning in 2012.

The association will continue to urge the House and Senate to resolve the matter as soon as possible, as businesses are already preparing to implement procedures to comply with the mandate.



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AED Joins Canadian Chamber of Commerce

In AED's ongoing efforts to better serve our Canadian members, the association joined the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 28. Chamber membership with Canada's largest and most influential business association gives AED a vital connection between business and the federal government.

"Membership in the Canadian Chamber was a logical step for AED's expanding role in Canada," said AED President and CEO Toby Mack. "The association's membership gives it access to a broader range of resources in representing the interests of our Canadian members."

AED has rapidly moved to build its relationships with members of the Canadian Chamber. AED Vice President of Government Affairs Christian Klein has been traveling to Canada to learn more about Canadian policy issues and meet with Canadian Chamber officials, as well as AED members.

"Our membership in the Canadian Chamber is just another in a series of ongoing steps to ramp up our representation in Canada, and I look forward to our expanded presence," Klein said.

Representing more than 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade comprising 192,000 companies in all sectors of the economy, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce works to impact public policy and decision-making to the benefit of Canadian businesses, communities, and families.



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U.S. Chamber Study Details Economic Cost of Stalled Energy Projects

As part of its "Project No Project" initiative, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a first-of-its-kind economic study identifying 351 stalled energy projects nationwide. The construction phase alone of these stalled projects could contribute $1.1 trillion in GDP and 1.9 million jobs a year.

The study estimates the potential loss of investment and jobs in the 351 proposed renewable, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and transmission projects in 49 states that have been delayed or cancelled due to "Not in My Back Yard" (NIMBY) activism, a broken permitting process, and a system that allows for limitless lawsuits by opponents. The report features a state-by-state analysis detailing the economic output and jobs these stagnant projects could create.

Among the study's notable findings is the fact that almost half of the projects identified in the study are renewable energy projects. Other highlights include:
  • Investment Phase – Planning and construction of the study's projects would generate $577 billion in direct investment and would result in an approximately $1.1 trillion increase in U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An estimated 1.9 million jobs would be required during each year of construction.

  • Operations Phase – Operation of the study's projects would generate $99 billion in direct annual output, yield $145 billion in increased GDP, and create an average of 791,200 jobs per year of operation.

  • Total Benefits – If constructed and operated for 20 years, the study estimates a total benefit of $3.4 trillion in GDP, including $1.4 trillion in employment earnings on top of an additional one million annual jobs.
Read the full study.



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Alternative Infrastructure Financing Bills Unveiled

With highway and water infrastructure reauthorization proposals delayed because of lack of revenues and a difficult budget environment, pro-infrastructure lawmakers are looking to innovative financing to invest in projects.

Building American Jobs Act
On March 10, House Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) introduced the Building American Jobs Act (H.R. 992). The legislation extends the Build America Bonds (BABs) program for two years with a 32 percent subsidy rate in 2011 and 31 percent subsidy rate in 2012. According to the Ways & Means Committee Democrats, the BABs program helped finance $181 billion in infrastructure projects in the last two years. Republicans have been critical of BABs, claiming the program provides a large taxpayer-subsidized benefit to big banks.

Additionally, H.R. 992 would eliminate the state volume caps on the issuing of private activity bonds for water and sewage facilities. The Environmental Protection Agency has suggested that eliminating the cap will attract as much as $6 billion per year in new private capital for water projects.

Read a full summary of H.R. 992.

BUILD Act
On March 15, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced the Building and Upgrading Infrastructure for Long-Term Development (BUILD) Act (S. 652). The legislation would create an infrastructure bank (American Infrastructure Financing Authority [AIFA]) to provide loans to private investors to build transportation, energy, and water projects.

The AIFA would initially require $10 billion from the federal government. However, following the original investment, the entity would be self-sustaining, relying on loan repayments and interest. For more information about the BUILD Act, visit http://kerry.senate.gov/press/release/?id=c53e83c0-b95d-4e2d-9816-d5726d2b0d6c

Both the Building American Jobs Act and the BUILD Act have been referred to the appropriate committees for consideration. Stay tuned for further updates as the proposals move through the legislative process.



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AED Joins Coalition to Save Our GPS

In Washington, the key to success on any given policy priority is to join together with like-minded groups to coordinate efforts, pool resources, and share intelligence.

Consequently, AED has been an active member of the Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM), the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), and the Clean Water Council (CWC) to push for highway and water infrastructure investment. The association is also a member of a number of other coalitions focused on issues ranging from health care reform to death tax repeal. It is time to add one more partnership to the list: The Coalition to Save Our GPS.

Recently, a company called LightSquared applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a waiver allowing it to repurpose the satellite spectrum immediately neighboring that of the GPS for use in extremely high-powered ground-based transmissions. This has caused serious concern among many industries, including the construction equipment sector, since this planned use is fundamentally incompatible with existing GPS uses. Initial technical analyses have shown substantial GPS interference from the high-powered LightSquared network of ground stations.

AED worries that the LightSquared system will interfere with the GPS signals used by equipment distributors (and their customers) to manage and monitor fleets. Therefore, it is imperative that the LightSquared system not deploy unless the GPS system is safe from radio interference.

We have joined with a wide variety of associations and companies representing many different industries to ensure that the FCC and lawmakers are aware of our concerns with the LightSquared system. The coalition includes the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, CNH, John Deere, and Caterpillar.

To learn more about the issue and the Coalition to Save Our GPS visit the group's website: http://www.saveourgps.org.



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