NAM chief sees potential bipartisanship on infrastructure projects

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Poor infrastructure is impeding the ability of U.S. manufacturers to compete globally, said National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons, who spoke this week to Fox Business on the possibility of a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

There are ways that Congress can fund infrastructure improvement, including raising the gas tax, public-private partnerships, tolls or figuring out a system that charges per-vehicle-miles-traveled, Timmons said.

“There’s a ton of different things that can be considered to pay for what we’ve called for in our Building to Win proposal — somewhere between $500 [million to] a trillion in need out there,” Timmons told Stuart Varney on Varney & Co. Tuesday.

“I think we can do that in a very logical bipartisan way, and I think now’s the time for us to really focus on that. Because it really is impacting our ability to compete and succeed in the world economy.”

Permitting has been a huge impediment to starting new projects, but the Trump administration has been focused on removing those barriers, Timmons said.

The three things most important to manufacturers that NAM outlined at the outset of 2017 were taxes, regulations and infrastructure, Timmons said. Of those, infrastructure has been the issue believed to draw bipartisan support.

“I think that everything should be on the table,” Timmons said. “There’s been a long-standing discussion on whether to raise the gas tax. To manufacturers, that’s just one possible solution.”

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