President and Congress Discuss Desire to Avoid Sequester
week, President Obama discussed his desire for Congress to pass a smaller
package of spending cuts and tax increases that would delay the sequester for a
few more months until Congress can find a way to replace these cuts with a more
balanced solution. However, the president did not provide any detailed
information of what spending cuts and tax increases he supports.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress floated some specifics about their plans
to avert these cuts. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) noted
that he would like to offset the cuts by closing tax loopholes for the oil and
gas industries, companies that move jobs overseas, and corporate jets. House
Democrats put forth a legislative proposal to increase taxes on oil and gas companies, a minimum tax on
millionaires and billionaires, and lower farm subsidies. Republicans on the
House and Senate Armed Services committees unveiled their own proposal based on a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce through
attrition. Last Congress, House Republicans passed a
bill that would
have replaced the defense cuts in the sequester with cuts to the president's
health care law and food stamp program, among other things. At this point,
neither side appears close to reaching a deal to avert the sequester.
updated its sequestration report, detailing the
possible impacts of sequestration on the federal construction market. According
to AGC's analysis, sequestration could cut approximately $4 billion federal
construction investments in FY 2013 alone. As a result of the two month delay of
sequestration enacted by the American Taxpayer Relief Act (the "Fiscal
Cliff Deal"), $24 billion in overall federal budget cuts in FY 2013 were
averted, leading to the change in initial AGC estimates of over $6 billion in
potential cuts to federal construction spending. AGC held a free webinar for members on the possible impacts of the sequestration cuts,
including federal construction contracting agencies' possible changes in their
contracting behavior. AGC continues to strongly urge Congress and President
Obama to enact sensible debt reduction reforms and avert these indiscriminate
information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House T&I Rail Subcommittee Chair to Address Highway and Transportation Division
94th Annual Convention in Palm Springs, Calif., the Highway and Transportation
Division will meet on Friday, March 8 – the session will feature Rep. Jeff
Denham (R-Calif.) who will be discussing the outlook for transportation
legislation and funding in the 113th Congress. Rep. Denham is the Chair of the Transportation
and Infrastructure (T&I) Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and
Hazardous Materials. In the last Congress, he served as chair of the T&I
Committee’s Economic Development Subcommittee. Since Rep. Denham is only
starting his second term in Congress, chairing these two important
subcommittees is a testament to how highly regarded he is by House Republican
Leadership. As a subcommittee chair, he is part of the T&I Committee
leadership and included in all of the strategy discussions regarding
election to Congress, Rep. Denham served in the California legislature and
worked closely with AGC in the effort to mitigate the impact of the California
Air Resource Board’s (CARB) diesel retrofit requirements. Because of
California’s unique status under the Federal Clean Air Act, CARB’s rules could
have an impact on diesel powered equipment owners in other states.
Please visitAGC’s 94th Annual Convention website for more information.
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CBO Report Confirms Highway Trust Fundís Dismal Outlook
This week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its semi-annual estimate of the status of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) based on revenue flowing in. The CBO also anticipated expenditures based on current law requirements. CBO estimates that the highway account and the transit account will be able to meet obligations through the end of FY 2014, but will not have sufficient revenue to meet all obligations for FY 2015. CBO points out that this estimate does not include any reduction in the amounts transferred from the general fund to the HTF as a result of MAP-21.
HTF is not directly subject to sequestration on March 1, the general fund
revenue that MAP-21 provided for the HTF will be reduced by the
sequester. CBO estimates that the highway account will end FY 2013 with
balances of more than $5 billion, and the transit account will end the year
with balances of just under $3 billion.
For more information,
please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or email@example.com.
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Urban Mobility Study Illustrates Cost of Congestion
A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI) annual Urban Mobility Report was
released this week. It details the $121 billion in costs Americans
incurred in time and fuel from clogged roads in 2011. Traffic congestion
cost each motorist $818 in 2011 – based on wasted gasoline, lost productivity
and increased vehicle maintenance costs.
The report goes on to show that commuters
spent an average of 38 hours sitting in traffic congestion during rush hour in
2011, up from 34 hours the year before. In addition, the Planning
Time Index, a measure of travel reliability, compares the time an average trip
would take in light traffic to the time the same trip would take during rush
hour for major metropolitan cities across the country. Washington, D.C. topped
the list with a score of 5.72. For example, for a commuter to arrive at their
destination on time during rush hour in Washington, D.C., they would multiply
the time of the average trip in light traffic by 5.72. If a trip typically takes 20 minutes in light
traffic, it would take over 2 hours during rush hour.
TTI, the methods and measures developed and used in the Urban Mobility Report
have been successfully implemented for policy making and prioritizing
continue to use reports such as the Urban Mobility and TRIP Reports in its education
of policy makers about the need for a multi-faceted approach to congestion
mitigation but one that focus on new construction and added capacity.
information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|STATE & LOCAL PROCUREMENT
States Looking at Buy American Clauses
AGC has received
reports from multiple chapters that state legislatures are considering
establishing or strengthening their government procurements laws regarding
domestic sourcing. Many of these efforts would restrict access to well-established
global supply chains and increase the administrative burden on contractors. To
certify that products and materials used in the construction process meet
requirements, it will often necessitate manufacturer certifications that are
difficult or impossible to procure. This is compounded when Buy American
legislation defines domestic sourcing in widely varying manners, making it
confusing and difficult to comply with. Additionally, these bills may leave the
well-established waiver provisions of the federal Buy American laws off the table
and currently do not grant access to products from countries we have trade
agreements with, as is customary at the federal level.
facing these law changes can look at AGC’s Buy American website for information on how these
laws worked (or didn’t) during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
(ARRA). AGC also maintains a database of all waivers granted for products that
were not in compliance, which highlights exactly how the process was slowed to
accommodate domestic sourcing laws.
continue to assist chapters in analyzing their laws and helping them develop
strategies where required.
information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or email@example.com.
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Senator Saxby Chambliss Will Not Seek Re-Election
Saxby Chambliss’ (R-Ga.) surprise decision not to seek a third term will ignite
a major firestorm for the Republican nomination. Aside from former presidential
candidate Herman Cain and ex-Secretary of State Karen Handel being mentioned as
candidates, almost every member of the congressional delegation are at the very
least testing the waters to run.
Paul Broun (R-Ga.-10) became the first official candidate in the open seat race
after announcing his Senate candidacy on Wednesday. He should be able to
attract strong grassroots and Tea Party support for his effort. Mr. Broun was
first elected in a July 2007 special election to replace the late Rep. Charlie
Norwood (R), defeating the favored establishment Republican primary candidate.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.-3), citing his enhanced position within the House
leadership, says he will not enter the campaign to succeed Chambliss.
is possible, however, that a quartet of Republican Congressmen could be part of
the eventual GOP field of Senate candidates. Expected to soon follow Mr.
Broun's lead is Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.-6), virtually a certain Senate entry who
will likely be the best funded candidate. Reports from both South Georgia and
the Atlanta suburbs also suggest that Reps. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.-1) and Phil
Gingrey (R-Ga.-11), respectively, will also eventually declare their
candidacies. Gingrey says he is now polling the state to test his viability. It
is also probable that one or more current or former statewide office holders
will also launch a quest for the Senate, making the GOP primary a very crowded
Democrat has yet to officially declare his or her candidacy, but Atlanta Mayor
Kasim Reed is certainly a prospect, though he continually deflects reporters'
questions about the subject. Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.-12) originally said he
would not run statewide immediately after Sen. Chambliss announced his
retirement, but his name continues to be mentioned among Democratic
possibilities without regard to his previous statements.
Georgia primary is typically held in July, with an August run-off should no
candidate receive a majority of the vote. A run-off, if necessary, features the
top two finishers within each respective political party. The actual dates will
be announced after the state's 2013 elections. If, however, the Georgia
election officials follow the same calendar progression from 2012, the primary
will be held July 29, followed by an August 19 run-off vote.
information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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