Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org July 3, 2014
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On the Inside
LABOR
House Expected to Finalize AGC-Supported Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System Next Week
PBGC Issued Report on Multiemployer Plan Finances, AGC Calls on Congress to Enact Reform
BUY AMERICAN
A Construction Contractor's Guide to "Buy American" Rules and Regulations
TRANSPORTATION
DOT Tells States Procedures for Reduced Payments
Contacting Your Congressional Delegation is Vital
AGC Comments on Electronic Logging Device Proposal to Monitor Truck Driver Hours
LABOR
House Expected to Finalize AGC-Supported Legislation Reforming Workforce Development System Next Week
 

The House is expected to consider the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) next week.   Please take a minute to send a letter to your Representative asking them to support this bill when it comes to the House floor.  As previously reported, the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 95-3. This bipartisan legislation will streamline the workforce development system, giving states greater flexibility to address worker shortages and strengthening employer engagement.

For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org Return to Top

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PBGC Issued Report on Multiemployer Plan Finances, AGC Calls on Congress to Enact Reform
 

This week, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued its FY 2013 Projections Report, which provides a financial overview of the agency.  As expected, the report noted increased risk to the multiemployer program, stating that the multiemployer program’s FY 2013 deficit of $8.3 billion will widen to approximately $49.6 billion by FY 2023.  In addition, the report warns of significant benefit cuts in the case of plan failures and additional benefit cuts if the PBGC’s multiemployer program goes bankrupt, which is a realistic scenario without significant reform to the system. 

The report also states that PBGC’s multiemployer program itself is on course to become insolvent with a significant risk of running out of money in as little as five years. The risk of insolvency only rises rapidly, exceeding 50 percent in 2022 and reaching 90 percent by 2025. If these assumptions hold, PBGC’s multiemployer program can be expected to become completely insolvent in 2021, consistent with the budget estimate of the Congressional Budget Office.

A group of bipartisan leaders in Congress responded to the release of the report by noting that the multiemployer system must be reformed. AGC continues to advocate for the joint labor and management reforms outlined in the Solutions Not Bailouts report and remains hopeful Congress will enact these reforms before the end of the year. It remains critical that AGC members reiterate their support of legislation to their members of Congress and to use the AGC Legislation Action Center to send letters to their members of Congress.

For more information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org Return to Top

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BUY AMERICAN
A Construction Contractor's Guide to "Buy American" Rules and Regulations
New White Paper Published for Contractors
 

From laws that have been on the books since the Great Depression to bills signed into law only weeks ago, the rules and regulations mandating domestically sourced construction materials are becoming more and more convoluted. Contractors need to understand and comply with the laws that apply to their projects in order to avoid fines and other penalties, which can be severe.

Contractors doing any sort of public work – transportation, water/wastewater, or direct federal – are likely to encounter federally-mandated domestic sourcing or “Buy American” requirements. Federal contractors have had to operate under this framework for decades, but over the years subsequent laws and trade agreements have loosened the requirements for eligible products, while further increasing the administrative burden on contractors. Sub-federal contracts, like highway and transportation contracts with state DOTs, are not subject to these agreements and new laws and thus fewer products comply with the requirements.

For utility contractors, this involves new compliance requirements with long-standing DOT “Buy America” rules for utility relocates as part of DOT projects, as well as the newest rules out there on American iron and steel requirements for projects funded by the State Revolving Funds. Both of these requirements are relatively new, and outside of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, utility contractors generally have not been required to comply with federally-mandated domestic materials sourcing.

Read more about how these new requirements affect your projects in the new “Contractors Guide to Buy American Rules and Regulations.”

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

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TRANSPORTATION
DOT Tells States Procedures for Reduced Payments
 

On July 1, Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote to state DOTs, telling them how U.S. DOT will handle reimbursements for on-going federal-aid highway construction projects in the event that additional revenue is not provided to the Highway Trust Fund. Foxx indicated that, absent Congressional action to resolve the issue, emergency cash management procedures would begin on Aug. 1, 2014. The letter says that U.S. DOT will take every possible measure to fully reimburse states, but that limited payments will be necessary to manage the reduced levels of cash available. These cash management procedures will end the long-standing “same-day” payments to states. Instead, twice a month, starting Aug. 11, U.S. DOT will determine the cash available for HTF payments. States will receive a prorated allocation of available cash based on the statutory apportionment formula in the authorization legislation.  States will then be reimbursed for submittals until their allocated cap is met. Further payments will not be made until the next semi-monthly allocation of the cash cap is determined and made available.

In response to an AGC inquiry about the direct impact of payments to contractors, FHWA indicated that it has already contacted state representatives and many say they will be able to continue to pay contractors with state funds in the short term. However, it will vary from state-to-state and could result in slow or reduced payments.

The more pressing problem is the ongoing shortage of funds starting in FY 2015, which begins Oct. 1, 2014. Many states have said that they are carefully looking at future bid lettings and determining which projects they will be able to fund in the current environment. Transit construction projects are not yet impacted by the funding shortfall, but will be impacted come Fall.

Follow this link for US DOT’s Q&A on reimbursement procedures.

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

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Contacting Your Congressional Delegation is Vital
Participate in Hardhats for Highways
 

With the Highway Trust Fund closer to running out of cash each day, your elected officials need to hear from you and your company about how their failure to provide stable funding for your transportation projects is impacting your job and the jobs of your coworkers and employees. This week’s Congressional recess provides the perfect opportunity for you to contact your legislators. Visit the website at www.HardhatsforHighways.org  and send “e-Hardhat” letters to your Senators and Representative and encourage your employees and colleagues to as well.

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

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AGC Comments on Electronic Logging Device Proposal to Monitor Truck Driver Hours
 

AGC submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on its proposal to require that drivers install and use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to maintain their hours-of-service duty logs. AGC’s comments pointed out that Congress has already provided a partial exemption from the truck driver hours-of-service rules for construction because of the nature of construction industry drivers and that the same rationale should be used in exempting the industry from the ELD requirement. AGC supported FMCSA’s proposal to exempt short-haul drivers from the ELD requirement, pointing out that many construction drivers already fall within this limit. AGC also suggested that short-haul drivers who occasionally drive beyond the 100-mile limit still be exempted. FMCSA has proposed that the ELD requirement apply to short-haul drivers that exceed the 100-mile driving limits more than 8 times in 30 days. AGC suggested that this exemption should be expanded to drivers that exceed the limit 15 days in a 30-day period.

AGC also said that the ELD requirement would have a negative impact on construction drivers who regularly are required to complete paper logs. The environment in which construction industry trucks operate is problematic and the cost of not only installing the devices but for data plans, maintenance and training are prohibitive. Administrative issues for construction were also highlighted.

FMCSA was mandated by Congress to develop a rule on ELD use and has received over 2,200 comments on the proposal. AGC continues to work to have construction drivers exempt from the hours of service restrictions. Currently, AGC is supporting a proposal from Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) that requires FMCSA put its current restart rules in abeyance until a study on their impact is completed. 

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

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