AISI To Obama & Lawmakers: Pass Transportation Bill

Steel Business Briefing

With President Obama’s jobs summit approaching on Thursday, the American Iron and Steel Institute is calling on the Obama administration to create employment through infrastructure spending – specifically through passing a new, six-year surface transportation authorization bill.

The current bill was set to expire September 30, but has been temporarily extended, Steel Business Briefing understands.

Speaking to SBB, AISI President Thomas Gibson said these short-term fixes are “uncertain,” and companies can’t hire, buy new equipment, or plan projects without a committed level of funding that would come from the bill’s passage.

He told SBB passage of the bill covering highway and rail infrastructure was “imperative” and “the best thing he (Obama) could do for our industry right now.”

In his letter to Obama and congressional leaders, Gibson wrote, “The tie between infrastructure investment and economic growth can be seen in the success of China’s stimulus programs over the last year,” Gibson’s letter notes. “China’s massive government stimulus has been heavily centered on infrastructure building, and China’s economy and job creation are again expanding at a rapid pace.”

His letter also emphasized the “green” aspects of steel and the multiplier effect of jobs in the steel industry.

Gibson told SBB, “There’s a reason the President is having a jobs summit. It’s not because things are going well…If they turn on these highway projects, that will translate to jobs fairly quickly.”