Your Members of Congress Are in Your District Next Week – Set Up Meetings Now
Get Involved at www.HardhatsforHighways.org
With your Senators and Representatives
working in their home states next week, it is the perfect opportunity to get
involved in the Hardhats for Highways campaign. Contact your members of Congress today
to set up meetings with each office and educate them on the connection between
local jobs and federal highway and transit investment.
Hardhats for Highways has already
distributed more than 4,000 hardhat decals to companies in the construction
industry. Request your decals, send an e-Hardhat letter to your members of Congress, and
gather information for your district meetings next week at www.hardhatsforhighways.org.
information, please contact Brynn Huneke at (703) 837-5376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House Panel Approves Bill Prohibiting Reverse Auctions for Construction
Take Action: Urge Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Support H.R. 2751
On March 5, the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business
Committee unanimously approved by voice vote the Common Sense Construction Contracting Act of 2013, H.R.
by Representative Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.). This legislation would
essentially prohibit federal agencies from procuring construction services
through reverse auctions. This is the first major hurdle the bill
had to jump before coming law. However, more hurdles remain ahead in the
legislative process. Please take action and urge your U.S. Senators
and Representative to support H.R. 2751.
The bill was introduced shortly after AGC’s May 2013 testimony before the House Small
Business Committee on the need for this legislation. AGC also testified before a joint House
Veterans Affairs and House Small Business Committee hearing on the need to
prohibit procurement of construction services through reverse auctions in
December 2013. Several agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of the Interior, are using reverse auctions to
procure construction services for full-range construction projects, including
million dollar building renovations, national park road construction, and
material supply and delivery. In addition, the General Services Administration launched its own web-based
reverse auction platform—which includes the option of procuring construction
services—for federal agency use last year.
Again, please take action and urge your U.S. Senators and
Representative to support H.R. 2751. For more information, please see AGC of
America’s summary on this issue and bill here.
For more information, please
contact Jimmy Christianson at (703)
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U.S. DOT Likely to Delay Reimbursements this Summer
Administration to Send Reauthorization Plan to Congress in April
committees in the Senate and the House heard from the U.S. Secretary of
Transportation Anthony Foxx and other Department officials about their FY 2015
budget submission, MAP-21 reauthorization, and how they intend to administer
highway and transit programs considering the pending insolvency of the Highway
Trust Fund (HTF).
Department of Transportation (DOT) Undersecretary for Policy Peter Rogoff warned
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that, in order to
maintain a HTF balance of $4 billion for the highway account and $1 billion for
the transit account as required by law, DOT will have to delay payments to
state highway and transit programs at some point this summer. The highway account is expected to dip below
$4 billion as soon as July and the transit account is projected to fall below
$1 billion in August. At the hearing, Rogoff acknowledged the
looming threat of insolvency could lead states to begin delaying construction
projects this spring. In order to
prevent the possible slowdown in reimbursements from DOT this summer, Congress
and the administration must provide the HTF at least $4 billion in order for
obligation to be met through Sept. 30, 2014.
President Obama’s FY 2015 budget submission recognized the fact that these
emergency measures may have to be taken by DOT; however, the budget did not
propose a long-term sustainable funding solution for the HTF. Instead, the budget calls for a one-time
infusion of $150 billion from “pro-growth” tax reform, $63 billion of the
proposed $150 billion would be needed just to maintain current HTF
spending. Secretary Foxx defended DOT’s
proposal this week at hearings in the House and Senate Appropriations
Foxx reinforced the administration’s plan to fund a 4-year $302 billion
reauthorization of MAP-21 using revenue from tax reform. He faced some criticism for offering a
one-time revenue infusion and ignoring the need to provide the HTF with a
long-term sustainable funding source.
There was recognition at both House and Senate hearings that finding a
solution to the troubles facing the HTF in the short-term and long-term is
going to require Congress and the administration to work together.
Secretary Foxx announced that the administration will send a MAP-21
reauthorization proposal to Congress in April.
continues to educate members of the Congress about the impacts of the pending
HTF insolvency on the construction industry and the need to reauthorize MAP-21
and encourages you to do the same.
Participate in the “Hardhats for Highways” campaign,
launched last week by the AGC co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition,
to educate your representatives and senators about the impact the pending HTF
insolvency will have on your company and job.
For more information, please contact Sean
O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
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AGC Address Risk in P3 Comments
AGC submitted comments to the Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA) on a Draft Core Toll Concessions Public Private Partnership Model
Contract Guide for P3 concessions using tolling as the revenue source. The
Guide was prepared by FHWA in response to a requirement in MAP-21 that the
agency develop model transaction documents for P3s. It is the first of several
Guides that FHWA intends to produce dealing with P3 arrangements. AGC’s
comments were favorable about the Guide pointing out that FHWA did a good job
of balancing the desire for not mandating specific contract language with the
equally strong desire to make P3s more uniform from a risk allocation point of
view. AGC participated in a Listening Session that DOT held seeking suggestions
on how to implement this MAP-21 directive and also previously submitted written
comments and suggested at those sessions that FHWA not develop any mandatory
In this set of comments, AGC suggested that
the Guide go further in its recommendations for appropriate risk allocation by
making suggestions about the relationship between the developer/concessionaire
and the design-build firm that will perform the construction. The Guide is
directed at the concessionaire and addresses such construction risks as right
of way acquisition, unknown underground conditions, environmental issues,
permitting and others suggesting how the public owner should handle these risks
as they impact the developer/concessionaire. AGC pointed out that these risks
flow down from the developer/concessionaire to the design-build firm and that
how these issues are resolved will impact the project’s ultimate cost. AGC also
suggested that the document address the appropriate sharing of the cost of
putting together a proposal, particularly in light of the political factors
that can influence whether a project will ultimately move forward.
AGC highlighted the fact that once FHWA
finishes all of the documents associated with this MAP-21 directive, the
challenge will be to get the Guide used. Risk allocation significantly impacts
the P3 market for transportation projects because unbalanced risk will
discourage construction contractors from participating on these projects
thereby limiting competition.
For more information, please contact Brian
Deery at (703) 837-5319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Obama Executive Order on Overtime Regulations Expected
This week, the
Obama Administration announced its plans to issue an Executive Order requiring
the Department of Labor (DOL) to make changes to the regulations governing
which employees are entitled to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA). While the details of the Executive Order have not been released,
it is expected to increase the minimum pay employees must receive to qualify as
exempt from $455 per week to $984 per week. In addition to the minimum pay
requirements, employees must also perform certain types of work to qualify for
the exemption. The primary duties test, the evaluation typically used to
determine whether the type of work an employee is performing qualifies for the
exemption, is also expected to change. Both changes are expected to have an
impact on the construction industry.
It is expected that
the DOL will begin the rulemaking process later this year, which will include
an opportunity for public comments. AGC will continue to evaluate the
Executive Order and will comment appropriately when given the opportunity.
For information on
the FLSA as it exists currently, visit the DOL
website or the Labor
and HR Topical Resources section of the AGC website. The primary category
is “compensation” and the secondary category is “Fair Labor Standards Act.”
For more information, please contact Jim
Young at (202) 547-0133 or email@example.com.
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David Jolly Wins Special Election
In a stunning final special election result from Florida on
Tuesday, AGC PAC-supported candidate David Jolly (R), upset favored candidate
Alex Sink (D). The campaign's conclusion carries national implications. Mr. Jolly won the race 48.5 - 46.6 percent,
with 4.8 percent going to Libertarian Party nominee Lucas Overby. The Republican
victory margin was 3,456 votes from a huge total of 183,627 ballots cast. The
seat was vacant due to the death of 43-year congressional veteran Bill Young
(R) who passed away last October, just days after announcing that he would not
seek re-election in 2014.
The Affordable Care Act was front and center throughout the contest, with Jolly
touting his opposition to the program and Sink relying on a catch phrase of
"keeping what's right [with the healthcare program] and fixing what's
wrong". Her argument, before a Sunshine State congressional district with
the sixth largest segmentation of people (in Florida) over 65 years of age
(22.8 percent), apparently fell upon largely disbelieving ears.
By all accounts, this is a damaging loss for the Democrats. Though Sink and her
outside allies tried to swing the discussion to Medicare and Social Security,
they failed to do so and Obamacare became the campaign's determinative issue.
Failing to win in a district that is trending Democratic with their best possible
candidate could lend credence to a Republican argument that this outcome is a
harbinger of election results to come later in the year.
With the Jolly victory, the House now stands at 233 Republicans and 199
Democrats with three vacancies, two of which were previously Democratic. The
Democrats missed a critical conversion opportunity that would have lowered the
net number of seats needed to secure the majority to sixteen. The result
underscores that the Republicans are better positioned to gain seats in the
2014 regular election than are their Democratic counterparts.
For more information, please contact David
Ahsinoff at (202) 547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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