I just came back from a road trip of almost 2500 miles, mostly along America’s Interstate Highway system linking Ohio to Southern Louisiana. Everywhere I went I saw large construction projects underway and lots of people at work. Beyond those at work rebuilding and widening our Interstates there are also unknown numbers of other workers around the nation making the ingredients that go into concrete and asphalt, manufacturing steel re-bar, fencing, treated post, bridge girders and all the countless things that go into these kinds of projects.
There are also those engaged in manufacturing the heavy machinery used in highway construction. John Deere and Caterpillar products are made in places like Moline and Peoria, Illinois and since most of the major pieces of construction equipment I saw bore those names I’m sure the folks who live in those cities are pretty happy with stimulus monies.
When the stimulus was first discussed under the Bush Administration I remember saying I was for it but I wanted every dollar possible going to American companies and American workers. It is this point that sometimes has me a little perplexed; not being sure how much is being sent overseas.
For several years now the West Virginia part of US Route 35 has been under construction. From Dayton to the West Virginia border it is all 4-lane highway. In WV it has remained a heavily traveled 2-lane road for most of its way. Several years ago a company named Kokosing has been engaged in a major effort to make 35 a 4-lane road. Not knowing anything about the company other than it’s Asian sounding name I always assumed it was a foreign contractor and got just a little miffed every time I headed for the Carolinas.
Well, I finally took the time to do a little Googling and discovered that in fact, Kokosing is an American company with roots right here in the Buckeye state. And while that makes me feel better I am still bothered by seeing construction equipment bearing the name and logos of companies with names like Volvo and Komatsu. Hoping that these foreign brands were made in American factories I ran them through Google and discovered, to my displeasure, they are foreign-made. Komatsu, next to Caterpillar, is the world’s second largest manufacturer of heavy equipment and is home based in Japan.