Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org July 13, 2017
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
Tell Your Representatives to Support Increased Airport Infrastructure
DERA Reauthorization Voted Out of Senate Committee
TAX
Treasury Department, IRS Release Report on Tax Regulations Under Consideration for Repeal or Modification
WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
House Subcommittee Advances Drinking Water Reauthorization Legislation
AGC EVENTS
AGC’s 2017 Workforce Survey is Open – Your Participation is Needed!
AGC Connects You with the Regulatory Agencies in Unique Compliance Assistance Hour
TRANSPORTATION
Tell Your Representatives to Support Increased Airport Infrastructure
 

Next week the House of Representatives will consider the 21ST Century Aviation, Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, a bill to reauthorize the operations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The bill was voted out of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on a largely party-line vote due in large part to the bill’s key tenant – spinning of FAA’s Air Traffic Control operations to a new non-profit corporation, while leaving the FAA in charge of safety regulation and airport grants. Email your House representative NOW and let them know you support increased funding for our nation’s airport infrastructure.

During debate of the bill an AGC-supported amendment increasing funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) was adopted.  Unfortunately, the House Budget Committee objected to that increase, which has resulted in a slash to the AIP funding level supported by the committee. In addition to the removal of increased funding for AIP, the AIRR Act also fails to include the AGC-supported lift of the $4.50 Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) cap that airports are seeking to help finance vital airport infrastructure projects.

The bill will soon be considered by the House Rules Committee prior to being taken up by the full House of Representatives, where amendments may be added to provide more funding and financing options for airport infrastructure.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 537-8892. Return to Top

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DERA Reauthorization Voted Out of Senate Committee
 

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee approved AGC-supported bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) through fiscal year 2022 at its current funding level of $50 million. Similar bipartisan legislation has also been introduced in the House but has yet to see committee action.

AGC has continually fought to keep the diesel retrofit grants made available through DERA flowing to equipment owners since 2008 – the inaugural year of funding for the DERA program. Since 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded funds to over 690 projects to reduce diesel emissions nationwide.

AGC and our coalition partners will continue to push for a long-term reauthorization of DERA, while also urging Congress to fund the program at their authorized levels.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 537-8892. Return to Top

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TAX
Treasury Department, IRS Release Report on Tax Regulations Under Consideration for Repeal or Modification
Includes AGC-Opposed 2704 and 385 Regulations
 

On April 21st, President Trump signed an Executive Order requiring the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to evaluate all tax regulations issued since Jan. 1, 2016, and identify any regulations that 1) impose an undue financial burden on United States taxpayers; 2) add undue complexity to the Federal tax laws; or 3) exceed the statutory authority of the Internal Revenue Service. In response, last Friday the agencies released an interim report identifying a number of regulations that warranted further review.  Included in the list were both the proposed regulations under section 2704 on “Restrictions on Liquidation of an Interest for Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes” – also known as the “2704 regulations” – and the final regulations under Section 385 on the “Treatment of Certain Interests in Corporations as Stock or Indebtedness” – also known as the “385 regulations”.

AGC commented on both of these regulations as being problematic for the construction industry.  Regarding the proposed 2704 regulations, on October 5, 2016, over 730 family-owned AGC member companies signed a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requesting a complete withdrawal of the regulations, and on November 1, 2016, AGC submitted formal comments on the proposed regulations, also calling for their withdrawal.  While the proposed rule is not final – and we do not expect it to become final under the Trump Administration – until it is formally withdrawn, it remains “pending.”

Regarding the 385 regulations, on July 8, 2016 AGC submittedcomments to the IRS offering recommendations that would curtail the proposed regulation’s effects on domestic construction companies. Fortunately, Treasury listened to AGC members’ concerns and exempted domestic construction firms from key parts of the final rule.  That said, Treasury and IRS are reviewing this regulation to see if it can be further improved to reduce the regulatory impact on businesses.  If the Agencies propose any changes to the 385 regulations, the rule will have to go through the formal notice and comment process because it became final last year.

Treasury is requesting comments on whether the regulations described in this notice should be rescinded or modified, and in the latter case, how the regulations should be modified in order to reduce burdens and complexity. Comments from the public are due by August 7, 2017.

For more information, contact Matthew Turkstra at 202-547-4733 or matt.turkstra@agc.org. Return to Top

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WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
House Subcommittee Advances Drinking Water Reauthorization Legislation
 

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment advanced legislation that seeks to bring greater investment in the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure as well as facilitate compliance for our drinking water delivery systems. The Drinking Water System Improvement Act of 2017 would authorize $8 billion over five years for the drinking water state revolving loan fund (SRF), as well as expand the eligible uses of program funds. The legislation also seeks to modernize the compliance system for water utilities and reauthorize funding for drinking water source protection programs. The legislation passed the subcommittee by voice vote, indicating its lack of controversy and bipartisan support.

Unfortunately, the measure also contains a provision that would include the American Iron and Steel provisions (that have been added to the program each year in the past) for the five-year life of the legislation. These measures require that for certain iron and steel products, all processes (including melting and pouring of the steel) must take place in the U.S.

AGC will continue to advocate for water and wastewater infrastructure, and will monitor this legislation as it advances through the process.  

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

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AGC EVENTS
AGC’s 2017 Workforce Survey is Open – Your Participation is Needed!
 

We continue to hear from many of you that the labor market remains tight. While it is clear that worker shortages are, in some cases, a significant problem for many contractors, we feel it is important to continue our efforts to better quantify where these shortages are taking place, how severe they are, and what steps firms are taking to both cope with tight labor markets and improve the supply of new, qualified workers. That is why we will be asking members to take a few minutes to complete the following workforce survey

The more people understand the scope, and consequences, of a tight construction labor market, the more likely they are to act on the measures we identify in our Workforce Development Plan that are designed to make it easier for school systems, local associations and private firms to establish career and technical education and training programs. We invite you to share this survey with your members so that we can hear from as many voices as possible. Thank you for your help in getting the word out.

For more information, contact Brian Turmail at turmailb@agc.org or (703) 837-5310. Return to Top

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AGC Connects You with the Regulatory Agencies in Unique Compliance Assistance Hour
Access the Resources You Need at AGC’s 2017 Construction Environmental Conference on Sept. 13-14
 

AGC has invited many federal agency offices to attend a special Compliance Assistance Hour at AGC’s 2017 Construction Environmental Conference (CEC) on September 13-14 in Crystal City, Virginia.  Attendees will have access to resources on a wide breadth of issues and a forum to discuss environmental compliance or sustainability issues one-on-one and ask questions.  AGC also asked a few of the national organizations focusing on sustainable infrastructure to participate. 

Check out the “invited list.”  Additional resources and registration are available online at http://meetings.agc.org/cec/.

Please contact AGC’s Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org if you have any questions about AGC’s 2017 CEC.  If you’re interested in sponsoring the conference, please contact Cheyenne Brewbaker at cheyenne.brewbaker@agc.org Return to Top
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