Terex welcomed Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn., 8th), chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, for discussions and a facility tour at its compact equipment manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids, Minn., on Nov. 30.
The visit, an invitation from Terex, provided both an opportunity for the Congressman to learn more about construction equipment made in his District and for Terex to thank him for his leadership in seeking reauthorization of surface transportation programs legislation known in Washington as SAFETEA-LU and most often in the construction industry simply as “the Highway Bill.” The legislation will expire Dec. 18 without further Congressional action.
“The economic downturn has had a significant impact on our business,” said Lisa Walsh, general manager of the Terex Construction Americas facility in Grand Rapids. “We are positioning ourselves to keep and grow jobs here in Grand Rapids with lean manufacturing practices, but we can’t do that unless there is a market recovery. We greatly appreciate Congressman Oberstar’s leadership on transportation infrastructure investment and are extremely pleased he came to meet with us and see our facilities.”
The construction industry, which includes manufacturing, distribution and equipment service, has been hard hit by the recession — as much as 8 percent of all job loss during the recession, according to an IHS Global Insight study. The Associated Equipment Distributors and Association of Equipment Manufacturers say uncertainty surrounding new federal transportation program funding, coming on top of the most severe downturn seen since the end of World War II, seriously endangers the long-term health of the industry.
Tim Mathews, co-owner of Mechanicsville Rental Center and Power Equipment in Mechanicsville, Va., a Terex compact equipment distributor, recently participated in the Start Us Up USA! campaign equipment caravan and rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., organized by AEM and AED. The event was staged to emphasize the 550,000 jobs lost in the construction industry and to encourage Congress to reauthorize the Highway bill.
“Infrastructure development and maintenance accounts for a large part of our country’s economic recovery,” said Mathews. “A new surface transportation programs bill will have a positive effect on our economy — it creates work for construction contractors, which leads to jobs and investment in new equipment. This bill is the best way to jump-start the entire construction industry.”
Terex Corp. is a diversified global manufacturer with 2008 net sales of $9.9 billion. Terex operates in four business segments: Terex Aerial Work Platforms, Terex Construction, Terex Cranes and Terex Materials Processing & Mining.