President Ups the Ante for Infrastructure Bill
Calls for $1.5 Trillion in New Investments/Environmental Streamlining
On Jan. 30, President Trump used his State of the Union address to push for increased investment in infrastructure, while significantly accelerating the approval process for projects. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the president did not share any of the plan’s specifics; instead, he called on Congress to act on a $1.5 trillion bill. Following the State of the Union, the White House released a fact sheet summarizing the administration’s plan. In response to the speech, AGC issued a statement urging Congress to take up the president’s call by providing for significant new investments—including addressing the Highway Trust Fund’s long-term solvency—and by implementing long-overdue reforms to the federal approval process for building infrastructure projects.
this point it is not clear when the Administration will release its infrastructure
plan. As reported last week, a
document broadly outlining their funding plan was recently leaked; this was
followed last weekend by another leaked document detailing the administration’s
plans for improving the permitting process and streamlining environmental
reviews. The White House has not confirmed either document’s authenticity, but
it should be noted that many of the items that the AGC Environmental Steering
Committee put forth in late 2016 are under serious consideration for inclusion
in the administration’s infrastructure package.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at email@example.com or (202) 547-8892.
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AGC-Backed Water Infrastructure Bill Introduced in House and Senate
Jan. 30, Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
and Dian Feinstein (D-CA), along with Representatives John Katko (R-NY) and
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), introduced the AGC-supported Securing Required Funding
for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF-WIN) Act, charting a politically viable path
towards updating water infrastructure investment.
SRF WIN Act would be a five-year bill that authorizes $200M each year for a
total of $1B over five years. As such, bill provides needed increases in
funding for our nation’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds
(SRFs). It will also allow State Infrastructure Authorities to utilize financing
available through the Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (WIFIA)
program—and the SRF—to increase funding for multiple local water infrastructure
projects at once, while also ensuring that current SRF grant funding is
preserved. This is vital, because no funding would be made available for this
new program if Congress fails to fully appropriate SRF dollars at FY 2018
levels or higher. A full summary of the SRF Win Act can be found here.
will continue to work with the House and Senate to ensure that the SRF WIN Act
is included in any infrastructure legislation that moves through Congress in
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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Obama Admin. 2015 WOTUS Rule Delayed
Status Quo Remains in Effect
of the Obama administration’s 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS)
rule—which expands federal environmental permitting jurisdiction involving
wetlands—has been delayed. On Jan. 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) took AGC-supported regulatory action that delays the 2015 WOTUS rule from taking
effect until February 2020. This action virtually maintains the status quo
nationwide and provides continuity and regulatory certainty for contractors in
the field while the agencies continue to work to repeal and replace the 2015 WOTUS rule. The need for this
action became necessary after a Jan. 22 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that
would result in lifting the current nationwide stay of the 2015 WOTUS rule in
more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at email@example.com or Leah Pilconis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Companies Celebrate Tax Cuts
Tell AGC How Tax Reform Impacts Your Construction Firm
Since the new tax reform law passed in December, many companies have trumpeted how tax cuts are positively impacting their business. Companies as prominent and diverse as Apple, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, and Walmart have announced one-time bonuses, increased employee salaries, new or increased employee benefits, or plans to invest in new plants and equipment. AGC is interested in hearing about how the new tax reform law is impacting the construction industry.
If your business is benefitting from the new law (or is adversely impacted), or if you have announced any plans to increase employee benefits, salaries, or investment in your business, please let us know. We are also interested to hear if the demand for construction is increasing as a result of tax reform. This information will help AGC determine how it can continue to improve the tax environment for the construction industry.
Please contact Matthew Turkstra, AGC’s Director of Tax, Fiscal Affairs and Accounting, with any information that you can share about your business as a result of tax reform.
For more information, contact Matt Turkstra at email@example.com or (202) 547-4733.
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House Committee Advances AGC-Supported Tort Reform Legislation
Jan. 30, the House Judiciary Committee took an important step towards common
sense tort reform by approving The
Infrastructure Expansion Act of 2017, H.R.
3808. The bill addresses an antiquated New York State law commonly
known as the “Scaffold Law.” The Scaffold Law has been
construed to impose strict liability on property owners and/or general
contractors who have no direct supervision of an employee, nor anything to do
with the circumstances of the plaintiff’s accident.
supports H.R. 3808 because the Scaffold Law fails to improve both public safety
and worker safety, while at the same time raising the cost of construction
projects in New York. It also does nothing to limit workers’ access to the
workers compensation system, nor does it protect any entity from contributory
negligence for a fall or other accident from height. AGC joined a coalition in
support H.R. 3808 and urges Congress to pass it.
For more information, contact Jim Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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AGC Meets with New OFCCP Director
January 31, 2018, AGC attended an intimate stakeholder roundtable discussion
with Ondray T. Harris, the recently
appointed Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
(OFCCP) at the U.S Department of Labor. AGC took the opportunity to outline the
unique challenges construction contractors face when interacting with the OFCCP
and complying with its requirements. AGC
strongly advocated for greater clarity, increased communication, and deeper
Harris and his staff appear genuinely interested in partnering with the
construction industry to ensure the development of American workers and continued
investment in diversity initiatives. In line with the Trump administration’s
focus on apprenticeships, the director and his staff also discussed how
apprenticeship programs can assist in diversity efforts and Affirmative Action
requirements for contractors.
regularly attends these types of meetings to connect federal agencies with the
construction industry they are required to regulate. These are unique opportunities
for AGC to help educate federal officials on how their rulemakings translate at
the practical level, as well as identify additional partnership opportunities. AGC looks forward to continuing to work with
the OFCCP and other federal agencies on behalf of its membership.
more information, contact Claiborne Guy at email@example.com or 703-837-5382.
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