Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org March 22, 2018
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On the Inside
FEDERAL FUNDING
Billions of Dollars for Construction in FY 2018 Funding Bill
Transportation Funding Boosted in FY 2018 Funding Bill
Good News for Direct Federal Contractors in FY 2018 Funding Bill
TRADE
Commerce Department Publishes Exclusion Process Procedures for Steel and Aluminum Products
SAFETY
Safety Management Training Course | April 4 - 6, 2018 | Pawtucket, RI
FEDERAL FUNDING
Billions of Dollars for Construction in FY 2018 Funding Bill
 

On March 21, congressional leaders unveiled a funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2018 that includes at least $10 billion in additional infrastructure investment—compared to FY 2017 and promised in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018—for roads, bridges, mass transit, airports, ports, flood control, drinking water and waste water facilities, military construction, low income housing construction and more. To view summaries of the various pieces of this legislation, click here and here.

As of publication, the House passed the funding measure on a 256-167 vote and the Senate is expected to do the same before March 24, or otherwise risk shutting down the government for the third time in three months. AGC called on thousands of its social media grassroots supporters to urge Congress to keep its $10 billion infrastructure investment promise.  AGC pushed for Congress to pass the bill; however, the association also noted the litany of critical construction issues that remain unresolved by this bill and Congress, including but not limited to the need for long-term infrastructure funding, border security and immigration reform, and multiemployer pension reform. AGC will provide more details on this FY 2018 funding bill as it continues its review of the legislation.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org Return to Top

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Transportation Funding Boosted in FY 2018 Funding Bill
 

The FY 2018 federal government funding bill includes AGC-backed increases in investment for highway, transit and aviation construction. The bill largely provides funding at FAST Act-authorized levels from the Highway Trust Fund. In addition, the bill appropriates $4.4 billion from the general fund for programs that already receive trust fund dollars.

The agreement includes funding as follows:

  • Fully funds FAST Act-authorized funding for the Federal-aid highway program, an increase of $900 million over FY 2017.
  • An additional $2.565 billion for federal-aid highway funding (from the general fund). The biggest portion of this amount—$1.98 billion—will be distributed to states only for highway and bridge projects under the existing formula; $225 million goes to a new bridge program for rural states (almost half of the states qualify); $15.8 million is for Puerto Rico Highways; $4.2 million goes to other territories; and $300 million for Federal and tribal lands.
  • $1.5 billion for TIGER Grant Program, which was funded at $500 million in FY 2017.         
  • Fully funds FAST Act-authorized funding of $9.733 billion for mass transit formula grants, signifying no increase from the FY 2017 level.
  • An additional $834 million from the general fund for transit formula grants.
  • Provides $2.645 billion in funding for the transit New Start Capital Grant program, which funds ongoing transit projects with full funding grant agreements. An additional $232 million is provided for full funding grant agreements for new transit projects.
  • $4.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, an increase of $1 billion from FY 2017.
  • $25 million in additional funds for the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program for credit subsidies.

The bill does not include an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from the current cap of $4.50. The PFC, levied on airline tickets, is used for airport capital construction projects. The Senate appropriations bill had proposed an increase of $4.00 in the cap.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org Return to Top

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Good News for Direct Federal Contractors in FY 2018 Funding Bill
 

The FY 2018 federal government funding bill provides good news for direct federal contractors.  Specifically, Army, Navy and Air Force military construction accounts would each see increases under the proposal compared to the previous fiscal year. The funding bill provides a total of $10.1 billion – an increase of $2.4 billion or roughly a 31 percent – for military construction over FY 2017 levels.  The bill also provides $1.4 billion to fund construction and maintenance for military family housing.

Turning to the Army Corps’ Civil Works Program, the funding bill would provide $6.83 billion, an increase of $789 million from FY 2017 appropriated funding, and a 36 percent increase above the president’s FY 2018 budget request.  The Construction account is allocated $2.085 billion, more than a doubling the president’s budget request. Additionally, the bill would allot $1.4 billion in funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and full use of estimated annual revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, with at least $399 million for use on navigation projects in FY 2018.

Overall, construction funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) remain flat, slightly below FY 2017 levels.  The VA’s major and minor construction accounts would receive $855 million--$512 million for major construction and $343 million for minor construction.  General Services Administration receives roughly $700 million for the agency’s construction accounts.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org. Return to Top

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TRADE
Commerce Department Publishes Exclusion Process Procedures for Steel and Aluminum Products
AGC Joins Coalition to Help Mitigate Effects of Tariffs on the Construction Industry
 

On March 19, the Department of Commerce published its exclusion process procedures (interim final rule) for steel and aluminum tariffs. The Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security will collect comments on the interim final rule until May 18, and the Bureau’s website provides more information about the steel and aluminum exclusion/objection process, as well as links to downloadable forms. Companies will need to consider both commenting on the rule (so as to address issues with the Department’s procedures) and submitting exclusions requests in a prompt fashion. The new duties go into effect on March 23.

At present, there is still no published guidance for the country exemption process, but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer indicated to the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday that the process will likely be concluded by the end of April. Aside from Canada and Mexico – which are currently exempted due to NAFTA renegotiations – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, and the EU will also be exempted for now.

Since President Trump signed the steel and aluminum tariffs, AGC has joined the National Foreign Trade Council’s Alliance for Competitive Steel and Aluminum Trade (ACSAT), the premier coalition working collectively to mitigate the tariffs’ effects on a range of American industries. As the sole representative of the construction industry within the Coalition, AGC will be leveraging our engaged membership to collect company specific data, executives’ quotes, and company anecdotes to demonstrate the tariff’s impact on construction so that we can advocate effectively before members of Congress. If your company would like to provide this information, please forward to AGC’s Chief Economist, Ken Simonson. AGC is diligently monitoring developments in this space and is committed to helping members navigate this period of confusion.

For more information, contact Collin Janich at collin.janich@agc.org. Return to Top

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SAFETY
Safety Management Training Course | April 4 - 6, 2018 | Pawtucket, RI
 

The AGC Safety Management Training Course provides attendees three days of training on the basic skills needed to manage a company safety program in the construction industry.

Held just a few times per year at select locations around the country, the program builds on Focus Four training and prepares attendees to manage key safety issues on the job site and provides techniques for delivering basic safety training to field personnel.

Participants will receive intensive instruction and training that will allow them to return to their firms with readily applicable new skills to positively impact their company’s safety and health program.

For more information, click here. Return to Top

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