Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 25, 2012
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LABOR
AGC Opposes Proposed Government-Mandated PLA for Arlington National Cemetery Project
TAKE ACTION: NAVFAC Requests Comments on PLA Use for Two Washington State Projects
FEDERAL
“Banner Year” for Army Corps’ Project Spending in Fiscal Year 2012
TRANSPORTATION
DOT Extends Comment Period on Proposed Stringent Changes to DBE Program
SAFETY
OSHA Issues Compliance Directive for Roadway and Highway Construction Work Zones
2012 ELECTIONS
Members-Only Post Election Conference Call
Final Presidential Debate
Election Day Rapidly Approaching
EVENTS
Register for the Free AGC Webinar on Sequestration and Its Potential Impacts to Construction
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LABOR
AGC Opposes Proposed Government-Mandated PLA for Arlington National Cemetery Project
 

In an Oct. 18 letter, AGC provided its comments opposing the Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed use of a government-mandated project labor agreement (PLA) for a project in Arlington National Cemetery. Among other things, AGC noted that it is aware of no reliable study establishing that PLA mandates have consistently lowered the cost, increased the efficiency or improved the quality of construction of public projects.

Called the Millennium Construction Project, the job will develop approximately 30 acres of land to increase burial space at Arlington National Cemetery, which is estimated to cost $60 to $80 million. Expansion improvements will include approximately 20,000 pre-set crypts for in-ground burial, columbarium niche sites, an ornamental and security perimeter fence, retaining walls, a bridge over an existing stream, water fountain features, extensive landscaping, and vehicle and pedestrian access roads and walks. Supporting facilities include water, sanitary sewers, storm drainage, underground electrical and communications/information systems, stream restoration, and security considerations and systems.

AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a government agency’s selection process.  

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

Advertisement
TAKE ACTION: NAVFAC Requests Comments on PLA Use for Two Washington State Projects
 

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Northwest Command recently issued two “sources sought synopses” seeking industry comments on the use of project labor agreements (PLA) in two upcoming projects at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state. One project is for a $25 to $100 million fire station renovation and the other is for a $10 to $25 million industrial control system repair and modernization job.

AGC members are encouraged to submit their comments on NAVFAC’s interest in mandating PLAs on these projects. Comments on the industrial control system repair and modernization job by 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest, Non-Regional Acquisition
Attn: Andrew Hart
Code TTA00.AH
1101 Tautog Circle
Silverdale, WA 98315

Comments on the fire station renovation project must be received by 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attn: Angelina E. Perez
1101 Tautog Circle
Suite 313
Silverdale, WA 98315

For specific submission requirements, please carefully review the hyperlinked sources sought synopses above.

AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a government agency’s selection process.  

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

FEDERAL
“Banner Year” for Army Corps’ Project Spending in Fiscal Year 2012
 

On Oct. 23, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced that FY 2012 was “another banner year” for Corps’ project spending. Among the highlights, the USACE release notes that:

· Civil Works executed $6.7 billion of appropriated funds in FY 2012, including $5.1 billion of regular funds, $1 billion of FY 2012 supplemental funds, and $0.6 billion of older supplemental funds;
· Civil Works aggressively responded to the 2011 Mississippi/Missouri floods, including obligating 61 percent of FY 2012 supplemental funds and putting 90 percent of damaged projects on schedule to be repaired by spring 2014; and
· Of 360 available military construction projects in FY 2012 and prior year carryover, Military Missions awarded 307 projects—85 percent—totaling over $7.76 billion in facilities investment.

However, AGC notes that the battles ahead in Congress concerning the debt ceiling, sequestration and other budgetary reform movements could negatively impact future discretionary spending by the Corps.  Despite the notion that Congress is busy campaigning now, discussions among congressional staff and members on these budgetary issues are currently occurring on Capitol Hill. AGC has been and will remain involved in these ongoing discussions and continues to advocate for your construction businesses and the value of adequate Corps investment.

To review the full USACE release, click here.

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

TRANSPORTATION
DOT Extends Comment Period on Proposed Stringent Changes to DBE Program
ACTION NEEDED: Nearly 70 Comments Already Submitted by AGC Members
 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has extended the comment period for receiving comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on which suggests significant changes to its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) rules. Comments are now due by Dec. 24. The proposal suggests a series of changes in the bidding process, including requiring contractors to submit a list of DBEs that will be used on a project with their bid. Also, contractors that do not achieve this goal must submit documentation of good faith efforts with their bids. 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 has been preparing detailed comments on the proposed rule changes. AGC members and chapters are also encouraged to weigh in on the NPRM. Nearly 70 comments have already been submitted to DOT by AGC members – please submit your comments today. Go to AGC’s Legislative Action Center and submit comments directly to DOT from there. A sample letter has been prepared that you should customize to submit before it is sent to the DOT. 

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

SAFETY
OSHA Issues Compliance Directive for Roadway and Highway Construction Work Zones
 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a compliance directive to provide guidance to compliance officers for the safe inspection of work sites where workers performing construction work on and/or near roadways or highways are exposed to hazards from vehicular traffic. The directive also provides guidance on issuing consistent citations for violations.  It specifically focuses on the OSHA standards regarding the use of signs, signals, and barricades, which is incorporated by the reference of Part VI of the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) 1988 Edition, Revision 3, as well as the Millennium Edition (December 2000).  Additionally, the directive provides general enforcement guidance on issuing citations for § 5(a)(1) General Duty Clause violations.

The AGC Safety and Health Committee is currently reviewing and analyzing the directive to identify any areas of concern regarding this inspection policy. 

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org. Return to Top

2012 ELECTIONS
Members-Only Post Election Conference Call
 

AGC's Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sandherr and Government Affairs staff will discuss the results of the congressional and presidential elections and how it will impact the construction industry specifically during a one-hour conference call. The discussion will include a look at the threats and opportunities for the construction industry in the upcoming lame duck session and in the next Congress.   

This free, members-only post-election conference call will be held on Nov. 8, 2012, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.

To obtain call-in information, please RSVP to legislative@agc.org. Return to Top

Final Presidential Debate
 

On Monday night, President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney met for their third and final debate at Lynn University in the battleground state of Florida. The central discussion focused on areas of foreign policy including national security, sequestration, trade, U.S. involvement abroad and the economy.

Both men’s goals were clear. Obama needed a decisive win to stop short the Governor’s increasing momentum in several battleground states. Romney needed to appear competent on foreign policy matters and to prove false the president’s narrative that he was eager to reengage in conflicts abroad.

While the president did not get the knock-out victory he desired, immediate polls that evening still favored his performance. This was evidenced by a CNN/ORC International poll of debate viewers which showed 48 percent believing Obama won the debate compared to the 40 percent who believed Romney won. This narrow win is an indication that viewers still see Romney as a candidate on par with the president, but both campaigns should be pleased with their candidate’s performance.

So how does this debate shape the days ahead?

National polls taken in the days following the debate continue to show Romney with a narrow lead of one to three points.  When polls are examined in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, it reinforces that this race is still a tossup. With only 11 days left until Election Day, the candidates will be barnstorming these states, motivating their base to vote and trying to move undecided voters to their camp.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (703) 837-5013 or ashinoffd@agc.org. Return to Top

Election Day Rapidly Approaching
 

There are only 11 days left until voters head to the polls to elect their representatives. It is imperative that AGC members register to vote and go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Visit ConstructionVotes.com for general information that will help you to prepare for the upcoming elections. This website is designed to encourage our members and their employees, regardless of political affiliations, to exercise their civic duty and vote their conscience on Election Day. This website does not endorse specific political candidates, parties or causes.

Your help is needed:

· Forward the ConstructionVotes.com link to your colleagues, family and friends.
· Post AGC’s 2012 Presidential Candidate Comparison in your office.
· Tweet: Make your voice count in 2012! Visit www.ConstructionVotes.com to prepare for the upcoming elections.
· Share on Facebook: Make your voice count in 2012! For information on the upcoming elections, visit www.ConstructionVotes.com.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (703) 837-5301 or ashinoffd@agc.org. Return to Top

EVENTS
Register for the Free AGC Webinar on Sequestration and Its Potential Impacts to Construction
 

AGC will hold a complimentary webinar on sequestration and its potential impact on federal construction contractors on Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.  Unless Congress acts after the election, a process of $109 billion in indiscriminate, across-the-board spending cuts—called sequestration—will occur on Jan. 2, 2013. If sequestration goes into effect, the possible impacts to federal construction contracts, grants and direct payment programs could be far reaching.  To attend the webinar, please complete the online registration form.

During the webinar, AGC’s Director of the Federal & Heavy Construction Division Jimmy Christianson and Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP partners Alan I. Saltman—an expert in government contract and appropriations law—and Steven L. Reed—a former Administrative Judge with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Board of Contract Appeals—will discuss the following:

· How sequestration would work and the potential federal construction account cuts;
· The latest D.C. discussions on and possibility of averting sequestration;
· How sequestration would impact existing and new federal contracts, grants and direct payment programs; and
· What contractors could expect to see from federal owners in an even leaner budget environment.

Again, to attend the webinar, please complete the online registration form.

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

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