Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 10, 2017
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
TCC August Grassroots Push to fix HTF and Fund Transportation Infrastructure
Urge Your House Rep. to Extend ELD Mandate Deadline for Hours of Service Compliance
LABOR
AGC Urges Labor Department to Rescind “Persuader Rule”
PBGC Report Shows Continuing Problems with Multiemployer Pension Plans
ENVIRONMENT
EPA Back Tracks on Previous Delay of 2015 Ozone Standard
TRANSPORTATION
TCC August Grassroots Push to fix HTF and Fund Transportation Infrastructure
Contact your Representatives and Senators
 

As Congress begins their annual August recess, the AGC-co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) is asking you to reach out to your representative and senators and tell them to fix the Highway Trust Fund as part of tax reform and invest in transportation infrastructure. Congress does not return to Washington until Sept. 5 and we encourage all our members to use this time to meet with and email your members of Congress and tell them to include a permanent Highway Trust Fund fix as part of any tax reform or new infrastructure initiative.

Additionally, it is important that your elected officials hear from you that you want them to support the Senate’s transportation funding bill for fiscal year 2018, which continues funding critical transportation programs that the Trump Administration is seeking to eliminate (TIGER and Transit New Starts) as well as providing an increase of the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from $4.50 to $8.50. The PFC increase will allow local airports to better address their airport infrastructure needs.

The Hardhats for Highways site has additional information including a TCC background document and talking points for your visits.

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

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Urge Your House Rep. to Extend ELD Mandate Deadline for Hours of Service Compliance
 

Dec. 18 is the deadline for motor carriers to comply with a U.S. Department of Transportation mandate to install and use electronic logging devices on trucks to record drivers’ hours of service. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) issued the mandate for all motor carriers required to maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS) for Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. AGC has sought an exemption from this requirement for construction industry truck drivers but that request has not been accepted.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has introduced legislation to delay the mandate for two years. AGC is supporting this legislation in the hope that the delay will allow the necessary time to make the case with FMCSA that this requirement is unnecessary for construction. Contact your representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 3282 and delay this mandate.

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

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LABOR
AGC Urges Labor Department to Rescind “Persuader Rule”
 

AGC of America submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor on August 10 in support of the Department’s proposed rule to rescind the controversial “persuader rule” issued during the Obama Administration. 

The “persuader rule” expands the reporting obligations of labor relations “consultants” – which is broadly defined – who conduct activities to persuade employees about their rights to join a union or bargain collectively, as well as the reporting obligations of employers who receive assistance from such consultants. By narrowing the “advice” exemption to the reporting obligations, the rule requires reporting even when the consultant communicates only to the employer and has no direct contact with employees, if an object of the communications is to “persuade” employees. The rule was issued last year but was enjoined by a federal district court on a nationwide basis prior to implementation. 

AGC’s comment letter reiterates the concerns that AGC raised during the original rulemaking. These concerns include various legal and practical problems, as well as the anticipated damaging impact in the construction industry. The letter asserts that the Department should promulgate rules that encourage employers to seek expert advice rather than rules, like the “persuader rule,” that hinder them from doing so.   

For more information, contact Denise Gold at goldd@agc.org or (703) 837-5326. Return to Top

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PBGC Report Shows Continuing Problems with Multiemployer Pension Plans
AGC Calls on Congress to Make Additional Reforms
 

Last week the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) issued its FY 2016 Projections Report detailing an increasing multiemployer pension program deficit with the probability of PBGC insolvency by 2025 without action. The deficit increased to $59 billion in 2016 and is projected to increase to $80 billion by 2026. According to the report, 100 plans are expected to become insolvent over the next 20 years, a handful of them being in the construction industry.

While the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 was meant to address many of the troubled plans, it was slow to be implemented and used by the Obama Administration. The law allowed plans heading toward insolvency to apply to the Treasury Department for benefit reductions if those reductions would allow the plan to remain solvent. To date, 15 plans have applied to Treasury with three applications having been accepted, several others remain under review.

AGC continues to monitor the viability of the PBGC and will oppose schemes to place excessive fees or premiums on plans to fund the failing PBGC. AGC is also advocating that Congress authorize a new type of multiemployer pension plan design, composite plans, that could provide an additional voluntary option to provide a lifetime benefit for employees, requires no government funding, and provides a much needed relief for employers and has been supported by labor and management. AGC hopes congress could begin consideration of the proposal this fall.

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

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ENVIRONMENT
EPA Back Tracks on Previous Delay of 2015 Ozone Standard
 

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed its June 2017 decision to delay by one year the final designation of counties that are not attaining the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). EPA will now make those determinations by the October 1, 2017, deadline. The reversal came after news that 15 states and the District of Columbia were filing suit against EPA to enforce the original deadline. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been critical of lawsuits (and settlement agreements) resulting from missed statutory deadlines.

Extending the deadline by a year would have given states more time to develop emission inventories, air quality clean-up plans, and additional mandatory control measures. However, EPA now says that information from the states is more complete than initially thought. 

States and counties that are not attaining the new standard will look for strategies to reduce emissions. States could consider restrictions and/or controls on industrial facilities (such as requirements for new construction) and equipment emissions, or additional hurdles and planning requirements for transportation related sources.  Notably, nonattainment counties that are out of compliance with 2015 ozone standards could have federal highway funds withheld. 

For more background, click here and here to see related AGC articles or contact AGC’s Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org. Return to Top

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