Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 14, 2016
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On the Inside
ENVIRONMENT
House Votes to Officially Disapprove of Waters of the US Rule
UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE
$271 Billion in Wastewater Construction Needed over the Next Five Years
FEEDBACK REQUESTED: 811 Needs Contractor Input
TRANSPORTATION
Highway Administration Implements Limitations on Local Hire Requirements
AGC EVENTS
Federal Contractors Conference Early-Bird Rate Expires 1/31
Itís Not Too Late to Get Involved in AGC Charitiesí Operation Opening Doors Project in San Antonio
17th Annual Willis Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA)
ENVIRONMENT
House Votes to Officially Disapprove of Waters of the US Rule
 

The House voted to halt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency’s 'Waters of the US’ rulemaking redefining jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and prevent the administration from issuing a substantially similar regulation. This vote follows the Senate’s approval of the same resolution in November. The measure now heads to the president’s desk, where it is expected to be vetoed. Unfortunately, it is unlikely either the House or Senate will have the votes needed to override the president’s veto. AGC will continue to work with Congress and its industry allies to find a workable legislative solution to this rulemaking.

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

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UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE
$271 Billion in Wastewater Construction Needed over the Next Five Years
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Clean Watersheds Needs Survey, a collaboration between EPA, states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories to compile the monetary needs of treatment, transportation, and management of the nation’s wastewater and stormwater. The survey identifies $271 billion over the next five years needed to maintain and improve this critical segment of infrastructure and is likely to be a conservative estimate. 

The survey reported the following infrastructure needs:

  • Secondary wastewater treatment: $52.4 billion to meet secondary treatment standards. Secondary treatment uses biological processes to meet the minimum level of treatment required by law.
  • Advanced wastewater treatment: $49.6 billion to provide upgrades so treatment plants can attain a level of treatment more protective than secondary treatment. Advanced treatment may also treat nonconventional or toxic pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, ammonia or metals.
  • Conveyance system repair: $51.2 billion to rehabilitate and repair conveyance systems.
  • New conveyance systems: $44.5 billion to install new sewer collection systems, interceptor sewers and pumping stations.
  • Combined sewer overflow correction: $48 billion to prevent periodic discharges of mixed stormwater and untreated wastewater during wet-weather events.
  • Stormwater management programs: $19.2 billion to plan and implement structural and nonstructural measures to control polluted runoff from storm events.
  • Recycled water distribution: $6.1 billion for conveyance and further treatment of wastewater for reuse.

EPA launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center in January 2015 to work with states and communities to identify innovative financing strategies for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. The Center recently established regional Environmental Finance Centers to help communities across the country develop sustainable “how-to-pay” solutions to meet environmental goals. This financial expertise and technical assistance helps communities make informed funding decisions for resilient infrastructure projects that best meet local needs.

AGC has spent decades advocating for increased federal funding for the state revolving funds, which target this type of infrastructure. The association will continue this advocacy to best serve job creation, economic development, public health, and environmental protection.

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

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FEEDBACK REQUESTED: 811 Needs Contractor Input
 

We are conducting a survey on behalf of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national association representing the underground utility industry and the 811 Number. The 811 “Call Before You Dig” campaign reminds homeowners and professional contractors of the steps required to mark underground utilities before any digging begins.

If you have ever called before digging, we ask that you take one minute to provide feedback that will directly impact the evolution of the 811 “Call Before You Dig” effort.  Currently, the campaign stresses that one call to the national 811 telephone number is all it takes to start the process. However, considering the use of mobile and online platforms to access 811 services, the “Call Before You Dig” message may need to be modernized. In 2016, CGA will debut a new tagline that better represents current and future practices. All of the questions in this brief survey relate to the development of the new tagline.

Your feedback is critical as we work together to keep our communities safe and connected.

Click here to take the brief survey.

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

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TRANSPORTATION
Highway Administration Implements Limitations on Local Hire Requirements
 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sent a letter on Jan. 8 to its state field offices directing them to comply with a provision (section 192) in the fiscal year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act –signed into law in December 2015 – requiring states to certify that three conditions have been satisfied on each federally assisted highway project before it can allow the use of contract provisions that specify a “geographic, economic, or any other hiring preference.”  The three conditions states must certify are present before using a local hire preference include:

  • A pool of readily available but unemployed individuals possessing the knowledge, skill, and ability  to perform the work required to fulfill the contract who live in the jurisdiction;
  • The contractor will not be forced to displace any of its existing employees in order to satisfy such hiring preference; and
  • Any increase in the cost of labor, training, or delays resulting from the use of such hiring preference does not delay or displace any transportation project in the applicable Statewide Transportation Improvement Program or Transportation Improvement Program.

AGC worked with the Senate and House appropriations committees to have this provision included in the omnibus appropriations legislation. The U.S. Department of Transportation has traditionally denied states the ability to use local hire requirements on federally assisted projects. Last year, however, DOT instituted a pilot program under its existing Special Experimental Project No. 14 authority, allowing states to use local hire requirements on an experimental basis and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to allow the use of local hire requirements permanently in the future. AGC submitted extensive comments and a legal brief on the proposed rule. The Department has not finalized that rulemaking but has moved forward with the pilot program. Six states have already requested permission under the pilot program to use local hire requirements on specific projects.

The Highway Administration’s Jan. 8 notice specifies that any requests to use local labor hiring preferences as part of the pilot project that did not receive FHWA’s construction authorization before Dec. 18, 2015 are subject to the certification requirements detailed above.  All future requests in fiscal year 2016 must provide a project-specific certification that complies with section 192 certification requirements in conjunction with their work plan.

The Highway Administration will soon be posting certification language and a revised sample work plan format for states to use to meet these requirements on its Special Experimental Project No. 14 - Local Labor Hiring Pilot Program web site.

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

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AGC EVENTS
Federal Contractors Conference Early-Bird Rate Expires 1/31
Save $75 on Registration Fee; Held May 10-11 in DC
 

Register before January 31 for the 2016 AGC Federal Contractors Conference (FEDCON) and save $75 off the registration fee. FEDCON—held May 9-11 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.—is the premier conference for federal construction contractors to discuss the latest projects, policies and contracting issues facing the industry with federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, General Services Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.

In addition to substantive discussions and presentations with federal agencies, attendees will hear from legal experts about the latest federal regulations that will impact their businesses and may have the opportunity to continue a dialogue with federal agencies after the conference. During the Federal Law and Regulation Workshop, leading federal construction attorneys will address executive orders, Small Business Administration and Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, and case law trends your company needs to know to work in the federal market. And, when the conference concludes, AGC member attendees will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing dialogue and meetings with agency headquarters later in the year.

For more information and to register, go to meetings.agc.org/fedcon Return to Top

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Itís Not Too Late to Get Involved in AGC Charitiesí Operation Opening Doors Project in San Antonio
Watch the new AGC Charities video to learn more and get involved today!
 

In March 2016, AGC Charities will be in San Antonio to help build a new handicap accessible water park addition to the non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland, the world's first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone's enjoyment. Volunteer contractors, who are being organized by Linbeck Group and the AGC of San Antonio, plan to conduct most of the construction work during a two-day blitz on March 7 and 8 right before the start of the Associated General Contractors of America's national convention, which is taking place in San Antonio. 

If you are interested in donating or volunteering at the event, please contact Nahee Rosso at 703-837-5348 or rosson@agc.org.  Watch the new video to learn more. Return to Top

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17th Annual Willis Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA)
 

On January 18 – 19, 2016, AGC safety and health committee volunteers will be conducting their initial review of applications submitted for this year’s Willis/AGC Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA).  This year we have 98 companies from across the nation vying for the best of the best in construction safety and health.  The purpose of the CSEA is to recognize AGC member companies who excel at safety performance.  The review will examine each applicant’s commitment to safety and occupational health management and risk control.  Unlike other safety awards programs that limit the criteria to injury and illness frequency rates, the CSEA selection process is considerably more comprehensive.  After the initial review judging, the finalists in each divisional category are notified and will compete at the 97th AGC Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX. The winners, including the grand award winner, will then be announced at the Willis Safety Awards Breakfast on March 10, 2016.

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

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