Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 15, 2014
Spacer
AGC Home Page
Email our Editor
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe
Printer Friendly
AGC Political Toolkit
RSS
Take Action!
On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Passes Transportation Bill out of Committee
Get Involved in Hardhats for Highways
WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
Final WRRDA Bill Released
WRRDA Legislation Includes Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Provisions
PROCUREMENT REFORM
AGC Procurement Priorities Included in House Panel DOD Bill
LABOR
AGC Opposes Two USACE-Mandated PLAs
AGC EVENTS
AGC Summer Financial Issues Forum Hotel Rate Ends May 19!
2014 ELECTIONS
Tuesday’s House Primary Results
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Passes Transportation Bill out of Committee
 

This morning, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) unanimously approved S. 2322, the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act.  The AGC-supported bipartisan bill is the first step towards reauthorizing current transportation funding legislation and identifying the revenue needed to provide for a robust long-term transportation bill.

The legislation – which is the highway portion of the surface transportation reauthorization – provides current funding plus inflation for six years through fiscal year 2020.  It also maintains current funding formulas and increases the amount states will receive each year.  The annual funding for federal-aid highways is below:

Fiscal Year

Annual Funding (in billions)

FY 2014

 $39.99

FY 2015

 $40.546

FY 2016

 $41.278

FY 2017

 $42.092

FY 2018

 $42.947

FY 2019

 $43.803

FY 2020

 $44.699


The bill is far less comprehensive than MAP-21, considering many of the reforms in MAP-21 have yet to be implemented.  The bill does, however, make some incremental improvements to accelerating project delivery, as well as creating new categorical exclusions.  In addition, the bill creates a new multimodal freight formula program, which will start in 2016 and is funded at $1 billion per year over five years.  The bill would provide $400 billion annually for projects of national and regional significance, which was initially authorized as part of MAP-21 but was never funded.  Also, the bill originally provided $1 billion annually for the TIFIA credit assistance program, but that number was decreased by $250 million as part of an amendment to restore funding for highway research programs.  The proposed bill would also direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to carry out a study to examine alternative financing mechanisms to preserve the user-fee structure and maintain long-term Highway Trust Fund solvency.  A summary of the bill can be found here.

The next steps within the Senate are for the other committees of jurisdiction to act.  The most critical of the three is the Finance Committee, which has been tasked with finding the revenue to pay for the bill.  Through the Hardhats for Highways campaign, AGC continues to focus on ensuring revenue is available in the Highway Trust Fund to avoid insolvency – projected as early as July of this year – and to provide for the long-term reauthorization of MAP-21 prior to the expiration of the bill on Sept. 30, 2014.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org Return to Top
Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
Get Involved in Hardhats for Highways
Your Legislators Need to Hear from You!
 

With a transportation bill beginning to move through the Senate, it is critical that you contact your legislators to educate them on the importance of supporting a highway bill and the affect it will have on your company and job if they don’t. 

Set up meetings with your legislators either in your state, or during the TCC Fly-In in Washington, D.C. on June 10-11, 2014.  Your Representative will be working in your district and available to meet with you May 12-16 and again May 23-27.  Your Senators will be available May 26-30.  Find more information about setting up meetings with your members of Congress

Please also take a moment to send e-Hardhat letters to your elected officials.  There are four separate letters available for you to send; we encourage you to continue to communicate with your legislators and send all four over the coming weeks.  Please also encourage your colleagues and employees to send e-Hardhat letters as well. More than 6,000 e-Hardhats have been sent to 407 congressional offices in 48 states.

Still not sure where to start? Join us for a FREE webinar next Tuesday, May 20 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT to learn how you can get involved in the campaign.  We will guide you through the website and highlight all the tools available to you to help you be successful in your efforts.  All individuals interested in learning more about the Hardhats for Highways campaign are encouraged to attend.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
Final WRRDA Bill Released
House and Senate Votes Soon
 

On May 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committees released a final Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The House is likely to vote on the final WRRDA bill next week, while the Senate will reportedly take it up shortly after the House. The bill incorporates a number of AGC priorities that the association has consistently advocated for throughout this process, including:

  • Establishing a sound procedure for authorizing new, high priority projects while deauthorizing obsolete ones;
  • Expending the full amount of revenues generated by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for harbor maintenance. The bill would do so by FY 2025 through gradually increasing the annual percentage spent on actual harbor maintenance;
  • Allowing more Inland Waterway Trust fund revenues to pay for projects aside from Olmsted Lock and Dam;
  • Creating a public-private partnership pilot program that will allow the USACE to leverage government funds with private dollars on public works under its jurisdiction;
  • Streamlining the project review process under the “3x3x3” program, which limits feasibility studies to 3 years and $3 million, while requiring the three levels of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)—District, Division and Headquarters—to concurrently conduct reviews of such studies; and
  • Limiting the time environmental claims could be filed on water resources projects’ environmental impact statements from 6 to 3 years. 

Most notably, the bill would authorize 34 new projects for approximately $12 billion, while deauthorizing about $18 billion-worth of projects that have remained on the books for years without any action. To view the projects authorized, go to page 176 of the bill.  AGC will provide more details on the WRRDA bill after further review of the text.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
WRRDA Legislation Includes Water/Wastewater Infrastructure Provisions
 

AGC and its coalition partners in the Water Infrastructure Network have been engaged in an 18-month campaign to include significant clean water provisions in the final conference package of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. Those efforts successfully secured several provisions that improve the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).

The CWSRF will now be more flexible in its loan terms, allowing lower interest rates, principle forgiveness, and extended repayment periods of 30 years. The provisions will also expand eligible SRF funding uses to include implementation of watershed plans, water conservation, stormwater recapture, and technical assistance to small and medium treatment works. The Clean Water SRF provisions were in neither the House- nor Senate-passed WRDA Bills.

Unfortunately, in addition to the reauthorization language, the bill also permanently extends (for the CWSRF) the Buy American language that was previously in the appropriations compromise from earlier this year. That appropriations provision was set to expire at the end of September.

The WRRDA legislation also creates a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA), just as the Senate version of the bill did. This would be a pilot project for making loans and loan guarantees directly from the federal government to eligible water resources and water/wastewater projects. The projects receiving this assistance would be selected at the federal level, unlike the SRF program, and projects that are financed in whole or in part with any sort of tax-exempt financing are ineligible for WIFIA assistance. The same Buy American provisions as described above will apply to these projects as well.

For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
PROCUREMENT REFORM
AGC Procurement Priorities Included in House Panel DOD Bill
House Vote on Anti-Reverse Auctions and Design-Build Legislation Next Week
 

The House Armed Services Committee recently included a number of AGC procurement reform priorities in a major Department of Defense bill – the National Defense Authorization Act.  The AGC priorities in the legislation include provisions that would help to:

  • Prohibit reverse auctions for construction services;
  • Promote greater accuracy, transparency and accountability in the reporting of contract bundling and consolidation; and
  • Enable more small businesses to apply for and receive loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The bill moves to the House floor for consideration next week. AGC will continue to work to advocate for provisions in the NDAA bill that: (1) would prohibit single-step design-build procurements for projects above $1 million; (2) limit second-step design-build finalists to three to five teams; and (3) help prevent individual surety fraud.  AGC is also working with members of the Senate to move these priorities forward.

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

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
LABOR
AGC Opposes Two USACE-Mandated PLAs
 

AGC recently sent two letters opposing the possible use of a project labor agreement (PLA) mandate posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The prospective PLA projects are at Joint Base Langley-Fort Eustis, Va. and Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

AGC has sent over 80 letters to federal agencies opposing PLA mandates and bid preferences during the Obama administration, most in response to agency announcements that a PLA mandate or preference was under consideration for a particular project or an anticipated set of projects in a particular area. Of those, only one PLA mandate has been issued to date.

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. To view AGC efforts opposing government mandated PLAs, click here.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org Return to Top
Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
AGC EVENTS
AGC Summer Financial Issues Forum Hotel Rate Ends May 19!
June 19-20, 2014 | Washington, D.C.
 

The Summer 2014 AGC Financial Issues Forum (FIF) will be held June 19-20 in Washington, D.C. The meeting is geared toward member company CFOs, CEOs and other senior accounting professionals –all forum attendees will have an opportunity to network and hear from tax experts and congressional representatives present on a wide variety of topics. Topics and speakers include:

  • Update on FASB Revenue Recognition and other projects by Cullen Walsh, Assistant Director, FASB
  • Presentation on the State of the Surety Industry by David Finkelstein, Executive Vice President, Arch Insurance Group – just added to schedule
  • An economic outlook for the industry from Bernard Markstein, U.S. Chief Economist, REED CONSTRUCTION DATA
  • Tax policy discussion with Congressmen James Renacci (R-OH) and Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) of the Ways and Means Committee
  • FASB & Construction tax issues - presentations by representatives from Moss Adams LLP, CBIZ MHM LLC, Ernst & Young, LLP

If you haven't already registered, here are three quick reasons why you should:

  1. Get up-to-date information that could affect your company. The 2014 FIF schedule will contain sessions where attendees can hear ways to help their companies manage cash flow, prepare for forthcoming industry trends and better strategize for company financial plans. Coupled with in-depth discussions on hot topic issues such as Revenue Recognition and the status of expired federal tax provisions, attendees will gain new insight and helpful tips on a wide range of topics.
  2. Meet the decision-makers. AGC will maximize on the proximity of the conference location to Washington, D.C. and bring in congressional representatives to participate in the conference and interact with attendees. An important feature of every FIF is the opportunity for attendees to explore and ask questions about the current debate and potential for tax changes at the federal level.
  3. Network with your peers. A major benefit of the 2014 FIF is the opportunity you will have to network with tax & accounting professionals in the construction industry. In addition to the reception and scheduled breaks, this conference provides time throughout the schedule to facilitate one-on-one discussions and opportunities to learn from one another.

In accordance with NASBA standards, attendees are eligible to earn up to 11 CPE credits.

For more information, please contact Brian Lenihan at (202)547-4733 or lenihanb@agc.org. Return to Top

2014 ELECTIONS
Tuesday’s House Primary Results
 

Nebraska

In last night’s Nebraska Senate primary, Midland University president Ben Sasse easily won the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Mike Johanns (R).  Sasse impressively scored 50 percent of the vote, followed by Sid Dinsdale's distant second place finish with 22 percent, and Shane Osborn's 21 percent. Mr. Sasse now becomes the overwhelming favorite to win the general election against attorney David Domina who won the Democratic nomination with two-thirds of the vote.

In House races, veteran Rep. Lee Terry (R), who has experienced close calls in two of the last three general elections, won re-nomination with 54 percent of the vote against businessman Dan Frei. State Sen. Brad Ashford easily won the Democratic nomination, breaking 80 percent among his party's voters. The Omaha district will likely be competitive this fall, particularly with Terry putting forth a less than desired showing.

In the other primary challenges, Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R) and Adrian Smith (R) easily won re-nomination to new terms. Fortenberry topped 85 percent, while Smith scored 68 percent.

West Virginia

Both U.S. Senate nominations were foregone conclusions. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) captured the overwhelming share of their respective party votes, as predicted. Capito topped 87 percent, while Tennant hit 80 percent. The general election will lean decidedly to Capito, at least in the early going. Since Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) is retiring, converting West Virginia is one of the most important factors in the Republican quest and plan to capture the Senate majority.

In the open 2nd Congressional District, former Maryland state Senator and Republican Party chairman Alex Mooney successfully became the Republican nominee in the adjacent state. Mooney scored 36 percent of the vote within the field of seven candidates.  On the Democratic side, former West Virginia Democratic Party chairman Nick Casey won a 60-40 percent victory over state Delegate Meshea Poore. While Nebraska Republicans turned out in far greater numbers than Democrats in the nation's only other primary of the evening, such was not the case in the Mountaineer State. In this district, both parties found virtually the same number of voters going to the polls, approximately 33,000 voters a piece. Mooney is considered the early favorite, but a competitive race is likely in the offing.

In the 3rd District, veteran Rep. Nick Rahall (D) won a 66 percent victory in his Democratic primary, a race that saw over 45,000 voters cast ballots. He will face state Sen. Evan Jenkins who was unopposed in the Republican primary. This could become one of the premier congressional contests in the nation and ranks near the top of the GOP's national target list.

For more information, please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-4733 or ashinoffd@agc.org Return to Top

Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

AGC Townhouse, 53 D Street SE • Washington, DC 20003 • 202.547.1625 (phone) • 202.547.1635 (fax)• www.agc.org
AGC Home | About AGC | Advocacy | Industry Topics | Construction Markets | Programs & Events | Career Development | News & Media

To ensure delivery of AGC’s Construction Legislative Week in Review, please add 'communications@agc.org' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, visit our white-listing page for more details.

© Copyright The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. All Rights Reserved.