Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org September 27, 2012
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On the Inside
BUDGET
AGC Expresses Disappointment Over Congress Passing a Six-Month Funding Bill
TRANSPORTATION
FHWA Releases Interim Guidance on MAP-21 Implementation
DOT Proposes Stringent Changes to DBE Program
AGC EVENTS
AGC Chapter Leaders to Visit D.C., Call On Congress to Stimulate Demand for Construction
Save the Date! AGC’s Winter Financial Issues Forum
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BUDGET
AGC Expresses Disappointment Over Congress Passing a Six-Month Funding Bill
 

In a Sept. 25 letter, AGC expressed its disappointment in Congress for passing a six-month, FY 2013 continuing resolution (CR)—funding the government through March 27, 2013, at about FY 2012 levels—and urged it to return to the practice of enacting traditional, year-long funding measures that provide some certainty to the construction industry. The House first passed the CR on Sept. 13 and the Senate passed it Sept. 22. President Obama is expected to sign the measure into law before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

The impact of punting on the FY 2013 appropriations process until next year has serious consequences for construction projects let directly from the federal government. Specifically, under the CR, federal agencies are generally prohibited from beginning work on new and necessary projects for the next six months.  In addition, the CR underfunds the highway and transit investment levels in the recently enacted transportation authorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).  As a result, construction contractors will likely see fewer opportunities for work, and in turn, less reason to hire more employees. In its letter, AGC notes that “in a political environment focused on giving employers more certainty in the market place to create new jobs, Congress’s passage of the CR, rather than regular appropriations bills, further increases uncertainty and hinders job growth.” The letter further highlights the trend of cuts to critical federal infrastructure and facilities accounts.

When Congress faced a similar situation in 2011, it cut $40 billion in the FY 2011 appropriations CR the following spring. Although some welcomed the cuts, federal construction investment accounts absorbed more than half of them—about $21 billion. AGC is keenly aware of the situation at hand and has put Congress on notice “that balancing the federal budget requires prioritization, not just cuts.”

The U.S. interstate system was built in 1956, most locks and dams have exceeded their 50 year life span, and the average age of failing water mains is 47 years old, representing 22 percent of all water mains.  AGC continues to strongly urge Congress to enact adequate levels of construction investment to ensure that America’s aging infrastructure and facilities receive required maintenance and expand to meet growing economic and population demands. 

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

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TRANSPORTATION
FHWA Releases Interim Guidance on MAP-21 Implementation
 

On Sept. 25, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration released new information regarding the implementation of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).  The guidance and interim guidance documents, along with questions & answers, were issued ahead of the Oct. 1 effective date for most highway provisions in MAP-21 both funding and changes to policy.

The documents give an overview of the new National Highway Performance and Surface Transportation programs.  There is also information on the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, Metropolitan Planning, Highway Safety Improvement program, tolling and major projects finance plan.  In terms of the question and answer section – areas that are covered are transition, infrastructure; environment planning and realty; operations; innovative program delivery; federal lands; research; and finance.

AGC will continue to monitor the implementation of MAP-21.

For more information please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org. Return to Top

DOT Proposes Stringent Changes to DBE Program
 

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Sept. 6 asking for comment on the significant changes made to its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) rules. Comments are due by Nov. 5. The proposal suggests a series of changes in the bidding process, counting DBE participation and documenting good faith efforts for compliance. The proposed rule would also tighten down on the certification process that determines whether or not a firm qualifies as a DBE.

For more details on the proposed changes, please click here.  A task force of AGC members will be reviewing the NPRM to assist AGC in providing substantive comments to DOT on the proposed revisions.

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

AGC EVENTS
AGC Chapter Leaders to Visit D.C., Call On Congress to Stimulate Demand for Construction
 

Next week, AGC will hold its annual National & Chapter Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., which brings chapter leaders together to discuss best practices and meet with members of Congress to address AGC's top legislative issues. During the meetings with legislators, AGC members will use the opportunity to urge support for increased federal investment in infrastructure, multi-employer pension plan reform, extending expired and expiring tax provisions to avoid the fiscal cliff and support legislation to stop EPA guidance from expanding federal wetlands jurisdiction.

For more information, please contact Brynn Tupper at (703) 837-5376 or tupperb@agc.org. Return to Top

Save the Date! AGC’s Winter Financial Issues Forum
Jan. 10-11, 2013 | Scottsdale, Arizona
 

The AGC Financial Issues Forum will hold their winter meeting Jan. 10-11, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona at Hotel Valley Ho.  At this meeting, attendees will discuss numerous topics, including: the legislative and political landscape including the plans for comprehensive tax reform,an update of Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB) activities, and a discussion on evolving construction tax issues.

More information will be available on AGC’s website in the coming weeks.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

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