Highway Trust Fund patches stifle manufacturing growth, Volvo Construction Equipment chief says

Congress’ frequent patches to the Highway Trust Fund do not give construction equipment manufacturers the confidence they need to make long-term investments in their companies, according to Göran Lindgren, president of Region America at Volvo Construction Equipment. 

“As manufacturers of construction equipment, Volvo’s customers are the very companies that build roads and bridges and runways,” Lindgren told Equipment Reporter in an emailed statement. “A more sustained and focused effort is needed to help put this country’s infrastructure on more solid and robust footing. Volvo believes Congress must move quickly to fully fund a long-term re-authorization bill.”

In response to the challenges of conducting business with Congress implementing short-term extensions for the Highway Trust Fund, Lindgren said Volvo has gotten creative.

“We are offering more short-term rentals, more creative short-term leases and longer-term financing products to help our customers with their cash flow,” he said.

Lindgren said he believes the long-term answer is increasing the federal user fuel tax.

“Fuel taxes are the best way to fund our transportation system. Increasing fuel taxes, which have not been raised since 1993, and have not kept up with inflation, are the most direct way to resolve the funding problem. However, we will consider other funding options that Congress might consider to fund our infrastructure.”

Lindgren said equipment manufacturers are counting on Congress to help facilitate commerce with a well-funded, multi-year surface transportation authorization that secures the financial health of the Highway Trust Fund.

“This will go a long way to restore confidence by manufacturers like Volvo, our suppliers, our dealers and customers, and most importantly, the hundreds of thousands of employees working in the manufacturing industry.”

Lindgren said if Congress patches the Highway Trust Fund again at the end of July, that will not have the impact that a long-term solution would provide.

“A short-term solution will not give contractors the confidence or long-term visibility they need to make capital investments and this could have major impacts for businesses,” he said.