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Allegheny Conference on Community Development | Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Two of the biggest federal policy issues affecting competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region move ahead; Congressional Conference Committee is last stop before final passage


Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRR Act) reauthorization will mean that projects in Pittsburgh region will proceed
Export-Import Bank reauthorization will help level playing field for Pittsburgh firms exporting goods abroad
We are close to finish line but Congress must still act on final passage

(PITTSBURGH – November 6, 2015) The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce have called for bipartisan support of federal legislation on transportation funding and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States and issued the following statement:

Yesterday, the U.S. House passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (STRR Act) – moving ahead two issues of vital interest to the Pittsburgh region in a single bill:
  • Reauthorization of federal transportation funding for the next six years that ensures that road, bridge and transit projects throughout our region will move ahead as planned; and
  • Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, an important financing resource for exporting firms throughout the region that levels the playing field with competing exporters from other countries.

Dennis Yablonsky – Chief Executive Officer, Allegheny Conference on Community DevelopmentTransportation
“We must connect people to opportunity throughout the Pittsburgh region. Transportation infrastructure is a critical factor in getting people to work, school and other important places and in getting goods to market.
“In 2013, our state’s leaders passed a historic transportation funding package that invests an additional $2.4 billion annually in our state’s transportation network. The Allegheny Conference was a leading member of the coalition advocating for passage of that historic legislation.
“But state funding is only part of the puzzle. In general, eighty percent of funding for transportation projects comes from the federal government. If Congress doesn’t act to fix the Highway Trust Fund, transportation projects throughout the Pittsburgh region will not get done.”
Export-Import Bank
“International trade is important to the health of our regional economy. The federal Export-Import Bank provides loans, loan guarantees and export credit insurance to help cover financing gaps for American exporters. It helps level the playing field for Pittsburgh companies pursuing new sales in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. The Bank operates at no cost to U.S. taxpayers.
“Other countries such as China, France, Germany, Brazil, and Korea – our competitors in the export business – have similar export credit agencies that provide significantly more support for their exporters than the Export-Import Bank has provided to U.S. exporters. We must give our exporting businesses the ability to compete effectively.
Time to act on final passage
“The passage of the STRR Act brings us closer to the finish line on both of these issues. But we are not there yet. The Allegheny Conference calls upon our southwestern Pennsylvania delegation and all members of Congress to continue to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure final passage happens as quickly as possible.” 

Matt Smith, President, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of CommerceTransportation
“On behalf of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, we extend our congratulations to new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on moving this historic piece of legislation. We also thank the entire southwestern PA delegation for their support of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster for his leadership in advancing this vital issue.
“The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce strongly supports a long-term reauthorization of the federal Highway Trust Fund with a sustainable and predictable source of funding. The future of our region depends on it.
Export-Import Bank
“We also extend our appreciation to the southwestern PA delegation for its support of the Export-Import Bank reauthorization. The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber fully supports the long-term reauthorization of this important institution.
“In 2013, our region exported approximately $10.4 billion in merchandise, making it the 32nd largest export market in the United States. Two of the top export sectors were primary metal manufacturing at $2.1 billion and non-electrical machinery at $1.1 billion. Firms such as Westinghouse Electric, Aquatech, United States Steel Corporation, and many other smaller businesses utilize the Export-Import Bank’s services to successfully secure new sales in global markets.
Time to act on final passage
“While we’ve made great progress in advancing the competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region today, the work is not yet done. The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber calls on our Congressional leaders to convene the Conference Committee as soon as possible and on our Congressional delegation to vote in favor of the final version of this important legislation.”
Media contact:
Catherine DeLoughry
(412) 281-4783 x3131
(412) 496-8538 (cell)
The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its Affiliates – the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance – work in collaboration with public and private sector partners improving the economy and the quality of life in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, serves as the Pittsburgh region’s chief advocate at all levels of government to secure public sector investment, legislative and regulatory improvements to improve the region’s economy and quality of life.
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