Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 12, 2016
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
Tell your Representative to Sign Bipartisan Letter Supporting a Long-Term Highway Trust Fund Fix
ENVIRONMENT
AGC Takes Stance against Mandatory Online Reporting of Construction Site Stormwater Management Plans
AGC EVENTS
AGC Federal Contractors Descend on DC
TCC Fly-In Calls for Highway Trust Fund Fix
TRANSPORTATION
Tell your Representative to Sign Bipartisan Letter Supporting a Long-Term Highway Trust Fund Fix
 

As the push continues for Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund, a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives are circulating a letter calling for including a permanent Highway Trust Fund fix in any future tax reform package. Contact your representative and ask them to sign the letter.

The letter is being circulated by Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Ranking Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia). The Representatives are asking House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Sander Levin (Mich.).  

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

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ENVIRONMENT
AGC Takes Stance against Mandatory Online Reporting of Construction Site Stormwater Management Plans
Contractor Input Needed; Association Preparing to Comment on EPA’s Draft Permit by May 26 Deadline
 

As previously reported by AGC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comment on its draft 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit (CGP) until May 26. AGC has taken numerous actions over the last several weeks to inform the EPA staff of AGC’s main concerns with the agency’s proposed draft, but more input from the construction industry would be helpful to shape the final rule.  The paramount concern is the possible addition of a brand-new requirement that would make construction site “operators” publicly report (via an Internet post) their construction stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs).  Please use AGC’s draft discussion document to share your concerns with EPA by the May 26 comment deadline. Although EPA’s CGP directly applies in only a handful of states and territories, it serves as a national model for state-issued CGPs.

AGC is very concerned by EPA’s attempt to “add on” electronic SWPPP reporting – in the midst of an already insufficient 45-day comment period on the draft 2017 CGP.  As AGC has explained to EPA, the published SWPPP data would be “stale” as soon as it hits the Web, which would confuse the general public, subject the construction sector to unfair scrutiny, and lead to unsubstantiated citizen complaints (or, even worse, frivolous lawsuits).  All of this will, in turn, force needless government inspections and thwart construction work, including critical infrastructure improvements that are necessary to environmental gains – wasting government’s limited resources and taxpayer dollars.  AGC is building a strong case against online SWPPPs – and is working closely with the homebuilders and other real estate and development groups.

AGC’s request for an extension of the CGP comment period was denied.  AGC and others continue to stress that it will be difficult for industry stakeholders to carefully examine and reach consensus on viable alternatives to many contentious CGP revisions under consideration, including how SWPPPs for thousands of construction sites across the United States are collected by the government and then shared with – and used by – the public at large. 

Read more details on the proposal here.

For more information, please contact AGC’s Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org Return to Top

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AGC EVENTS
AGC Federal Contractors Descend on DC
Federal Agencies Make Significant Announcements
 

Hundreds of federal construction contractors descended on Washington, D.C., this week to meet with major federal construction agencies and members of Congress at the AGC Federal Contactors Conference. Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, Bureau of Reclamation and Natural Resources Conservation Service participated, with several agencies making significant announcements about their respective programs.

The Corps and the VA both discussed implementing the law requiring VA construction projects over $100 million to be executed by another federal owner. They revealed that USACE will execute 14 VA construction projects at various stages of design and construction completion levels over the next several years. In addition, the VA noted that it is implementing all of AGC’s suggested improvements to their construction program that the association recommended during a meetinglast year with VA Secretary Robert McDonald and Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson. Additionally, GSA announced major acquisition reform for the Public Building Service that will reduce procurement times. The agency will roll out this initiative on its FY 2016, $1 billion courthouse construction program.

Presentations and other information from the conference will be made available to registrants early next week.

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

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TCC Fly-In Calls for Highway Trust Fund Fix
 

AGC members joined our industry partners in the 15th Annual Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Fly-In to bring the industry’s message to Congress. While there was much good feeling from the over 400 participants this year because past efforts successfully delivered a five-year, fully funded FAST Act in December 2015, reality tempered the positive theme of the meeting because of the realization that the job is not quite done.

AGC’s CEO Steve Sandherr opened the legislative briefing portion of the meeting by pointing out that the FAST Act funding was only possible because Congress transferred $70 billion to the Highway Trust Fund from general fund accounts. This was the latest transfer resulting in over $144 billion in non-user fee revenue supporting transportation investments since 2008.  When the FAST Act expires in 2020, Congress will need to find a minimum additional $107 billion in new revenue just to maintain current funding levels. Sandherr pointed out that as entitlement spending grows over that time and interest on the debt balloons, there will be little funds available in the future to shore up the trust fund. Members took this message to Capitol Hill and asked House of Representatives to sign onto a letter to the Ways and Means Committee chairman and ranking member to get to work on providing the revenue necessary to meet future transportation investment needs.

AGC members also participated in briefings from Federal highway Administration (FHWA) representatives, including the newly appointed Deputy Administrator David Kim who reported on FAST Act implementation, Buy America requirements, e-construction, local hire requirements, new partnering initiatives and bridge bundling contracts.

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

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