April 3, 2008
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TRANSPORTATION
TCC Testimony Addresses Highway Trust Fund Solvency
LABOR
Senate Hearing on Workplace Safety Violations Held on April 1
TAXES
Final Death Tax Hearing for 2008 Held in Finance Committee
MUNICIPAL
Preview the AGC-Funded Liquid Assets PBS Documentary
FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION
AGC to Host 2008 Federal Contractors Conference

  TCC Testimony Addresses Highway Trust Fund Solvency
AGC member John McCaskie, Swank Associated Companies, New Kensington, Pa., represented the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Thursday at a hearing called by the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee to answer questions related to the impact of the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue shortage. TCC’s testimony pointed out that states are already putting fewer contracts out to bid due to the huge increase in construction material costs since 2003 that has reduced the buying power of public works dollars.


 

McCaskie (far left) noted that the reduction in contracts has lead to a 2.4 percent reduction in highway worker employment over the past fourteen months. A reduction of as much as 32 percent in federal highway funding in FY 2009 would make this problem much worse and could lead to further increases in construction unemployment and the inability of states to address their growing transportation infrastructure needs. McCaskie also noted that, “Our nation already faces a transportation crisis, is not currently investing enough to address the crisis, and cannot afford to get further behind by cutting transportation investment.”

Acting Federal Highway Administrator Jim Ray and Federal Transit Administrator James Simpson joined McCaskie on the panel and presented the Administration’s case for reducing federal highway and transit funding next year. Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Kit Bond (R-Mo.) both stated that now is not the time to reduce Federal transportation investment. Sen. Murray indicated she would be encouraging increased infrastructure investment as part of future economic stimulus legislation.

For more information contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319.
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  Senate Hearing on Workplace Safety Violations Held on April 1
This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Workplace Safety held a hearing on workplace safety violations.  The hearing focused on the seeming need for greater company accountability, increased penalties for violations, including criminal sanctions, as well as increased enforcement by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

While the focus of the hearing was not on construction, there was mention of the recent crane accidents in both New York and Miami as examples of workplace tragedies.  Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) expressed frustration that OSHA has paltry penalties and that the agency does not follow up with the companies that have repeat citations.  Though this hearing was not a discussion about specific legislation, it highlights the feelings of the majority party that OSHA needs to increase enforcement and penalties for violations.

For more information, contact Kelly Knott at knottk@agc.org or (202) 547-4685.
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  Final Death Tax Hearing for 2008 Held in Finance Committee
The Senate Finance Committee held its third and final hearing on the state of the estate tax on Thursday, with witnesses focusing on charitable giving, generation-skipping and other complications in the estate tax portion of the code.  At the hearing, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) reiterated his desire for a bipartisan compromise on the death tax, without saying exactly what that might entail. 

Under current law, planning for the death tax is incredibly difficult as the tax is repealed in 2010 and in 2011 reinstated at the pre-2001 level.  AGC supports a reasonable compromise on reform so that small businesses can plan for the future.

For more information, contact Heidi Blumenthal at blumenth@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.
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  Preview the AGC-Funded Liquid Assets PBS Documentary
AGC has provided major funding and creative input to Penn State PBS for their upcoming documentary Liquid Assets: The Story of our Water Infrastructure.  To see a preview of Liquid Assets, click here.  This film will help the public understand the unseen state of our underground water and wastewater systems in a way not previously possible.  In addition to raising awareness, this documentary will complement federal and local endeavors to help fund projects.

AGC chapters and members can get involved by encouraging their local PBS affiliate to broadcast Liquid Assets this fall.  More information will be forthcoming on how AGC chapters and members can get involved. 

For more information, contact Stu Megaw at (703) 837-5321 or megaws@agc.org
 
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  AGC to Host 2008 Federal Contractors Conference
The Federal and Heavy Construction Division will host its annual Federal Contractors Conference at the J.W. Marriot in Washington, D.C. from April 29 to May 2, 2008.  This annual conference is a unique opportunity to meet with the leadership of federal agencies and colleagues in the federal construction market to engage in constructive and in-depth dialogues.

Featured agencies include USACE, NAVFAC, USAF, GSA and OBO.  Other highlights include the Federal Owners Advisory Council roundtable discussion featuring key leaders from the majority of federal owners and opportunities to interact with your elected officials. 
 
To receive the AGC rate for hotel rooms, register by April 7, 2008.  For additional information including the conference schedule and presentations from the 2007 conference, visit www.agc.org/fedcon, or contact Perry Fowler at (202) 547-1983 or fowlerp@agc.org.
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