Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 21, 2010
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On the Inside
ELECTIONS
Upcoming Conference Call - What Do the Election Results Mean for Construction?
The Race for Speaker of the House
TRANSPORTATION
Administration Announces Tiger II Grant Awards
LABOR
AGC Project Labor Agreement Policy Update
ELECTIONS
Upcoming Conference Call - What Do the Election Results Mean for Construction?
 

AGC’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Sandherr will conduct a conference call on November 9 to discuss the results and impact of the midterm election, as well as the threats and opportunities for the construction industry in the 112th Congress.  The free one-hour call will assess the outcome of the election in the context of construction and report on AGC’s ongoing and new legislative priorities given a new political and legislative environment. 

When: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
12:30 PM to 1:30 PM Eastern
Who:
     Steve Sandherr, CEO of AGC of America
How:
     To obtain call-in information, please RSVP to legislative@agc.org or youngj@agc.org.

With only 11 days until Election Day, have you voted yet? An estimated 3 million Americans have already voted across the country. The AGCwebsite can help you through the process. It includes information on how to vote early, voting locations, and candidates who support the construction industry.

 For more information, contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org. Return to Top

The Race for Speaker of the House
 

While most political analysts anticipate the House of Representatives will lose its Democratic majority in the midterm elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on the Charlie Rose Show Wednesday that she expects Democrats to maintain control of the House and re-elect her as speaker.

Most estimates project a gain of 50 Republican seats in the House, and several incumbent Democrats already have vowed to vote against re-electing Pelosi should the party retain the majority. However, she said “I have every anticipation that we'll come together in a similar format as we are now, with me as speaker of the House.”

On the other hand, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has mostly ducked questions about the possibility of Republicans taking the majority. He stated that the election was a referendum on the Democratic leadership, noting that voter dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s handling of the economy and healthcare reforms are the root cause of any potential upheaval in control of the House of Representatives.

For more information, contact Jeff Shoaf at shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

TRANSPORTATION
Administration Announces Tiger II Grant Awards
 

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Wednesday announced nearly $600 million in TIGER II discretionary grant awards for major infrastructure projects ranging from highways and bridges to transit, rail and ports. In total, 42 capital construction projects and 33 planning projects in 40 states will receive funding from this program. According to the US DOT, roughly 29 percent of TIGER II money was awarded for road projects, 26 percent for transit, 20 percent for rail projects, 16 percent for ports, four percent for bicycle and pedestrian projects and five percent for planning projects. A list of the projects can be viewed here.

The Tiger grant program was first started as part of the ARRA stimulus legislation, which included $1.5 billion in funding. Over $60 billion was requested in the Tiger I program from the $1.5 billion made available in ARRA. The $600 million in funding for the Tiger II grants was included in the U.S. DOT FY 2010 appropriation legislation. There were over 1,000 applications requesting $19 billion of Tiger II funding. Selection for award was based on an evaluation by DOT of the likelihood of the project to address sustainability and economic competitiveness.

The planning grant portion of the Tiger II awards were selected in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) based on the ability of the projects to integrate transportation, housing and urban development. Joining DOT and HUD in the evaluation of the planning grant applications were the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As part of Livability initiative DOT signed a memorandum of understanding with HUD and EPA to cooperate on future integration of transportation and housing planning.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

LABOR
AGC Project Labor Agreement Policy Update
 

Solicitations on several federal construction projects requiring bidders to submit an executed project labor agreement (PLA) prompted AGC to write and call agency officials expressing strong concern.

  • On October 19, the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a formal information request from industry on the potential use of PLAs for large scale construction contracts ($25 million or more). AGC is working closely with the Georgia Branch AGC and Carolinas AGC to address this issue.
  • On October 18, AGC sent a letter to the USACE Hawaii District in response to a request for information on whether the District should utilize PLAs on large scale construction projects in the state.
  • On August 12, 2010, AGC sent a letter to the USACE's Mobile District demanding information about the agency's justification for including a PLA mandate in a solicitation for the construction of an Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. The letter questioned how it determined that the conditions listed in President Obama's executive order on PLAs were present.
  • AGC raised similar issues in a second August 12 letter to high-ranking officials at USACE headquarters. The letter urged the agency to exercise the broad latitude granted to it by the executive order and its implementing regulations to refrain from imposing any PLA mandates. The letter also urged the USACE to direct its division and district commands to follow suit. Given the political pressure to consider PLAs, AGC also provided the agency with a recommended approach for conducting a thorough, fact-based analysis of particular criteria for determining the appropriateness of a PLA mandate, demonstrating the many complications inherent in such mandates and the impediments that they present to achieving economy and efficiency in government procurement.
  • AGC was invited by NAVFAC officials in Guam to comment on the feasibility of implementing a PLA for military construction taking place on this island. AGC strongly encouraged NAVFAC to refrain from requiring PLAs on this work in a letter to officials sent on October 6.

The PLA requirements, along with similar mandates by other contracting agencies and tales of pressure from higher in the Administration, also prompted AGC to send a letter calling on President Obama to protect contracting officers from such political pressure, and to send an "unmistakable and public" message that political appointees should not cross the line between politics and procurement.

The letters are the latest of AGC's continuing efforts to educate government agencies about PLA issues and implications. While AGC neither supports nor opposes PLAs in general, AGC strongly opposes government mandates for PLAs on publicly funded construction projects. AGC is committed to free and open competition in all public construction markets and believes that publicly-funded contracts should be awarded without regard to the lawful labor relations policies and practices of the government contractor.

For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org. Return to Top

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