Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org June 7, 2018
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On the Inside
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Major Water Infrastructure Bill Passes House
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Approves Increased Transportation Funding
DOT Announces $1.5 Billion INFRA Grant Proposed Awards
California Passes Measure to Dedicate Gas Tax Revenues to Transportation Funding
IMMIGRATION
ICE Workplace Inspections on the Rise; Is Your Company Prepared?
SAFETY
2018 AGC Summer Safety & Health Conference
Advanced Safety Management Training Course
ENVIRONMENT
Look What’s on the Agenda for AGC’s 2018 Construction Environmental Conference
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Major Water Infrastructure Bill Passes House
 

On June 6, the House overwhelmingly passed (408-2) the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).  WRDA authorizes billions in funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works projects, including navigation (dredging, locks), flood control (levees), hydropower (dams), recreation (parks), and water supply. AGC is committed to working with Congress to strengthen the legislation to include the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now Act and the reauthorization of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. The Senate is expected to vote on its version of WRDA in the coming weeks.

AGC is following both bills closely and advocating for AGC priorities in both the Senate and House WRDA bills. AGC testified before the committee earlier this year. You can read AGC’s list of recommendations here.  

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at Jordan.Howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368. Return to Top

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TRANSPORTATION
Senate Committee Approves Increased Transportation Funding
 

On June 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year 2019 funding bill for transportation infrastructure. The bill includes $48.57 billion in funding for highways by adding $3.3 billion from the general fund to the FAST Act-authorized level of $45.27 billion, to be mostly distributed via formula.  Additionally, $800 million will be set aside for bridge grants and $90 million is set aside for grade crossings. As far as transit, the bill provides $9.9 billion for formula grants with an additional $800 million from the general fund for transit infrastructure grants.  The bill also provides $2.6 billion for Capital Investment Grants. 

The bill also includes $1 billion for BUILD Grants (formerly known as TIGER), $250 million more than the House bill provides.  For aviation, the bill provides $4.1 billion for the Airport Improvement Program thanks to a general fund supplement of $750 million, in addition to the $3.35 billion in Airport and Airways Trust Fund spending.  Unfortunately, the bill does not contain language that was included in last year’s bill increasing the Passenger Facility Charge that can be charged by airport to fund/finance their airport infrastructure.

It is unclear when the bill will be considered by the entire Senate.  AGC will continue to weigh-in and ensure that the final funding bill provides the maximum increases for these transportation programs.

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

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DOT Announces $1.5 Billion INFRA Grant Proposed Awards
Congress Has 60 Days to Review
 

On June 6, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced its proposed list of 26 projects – totaling $1.535 billion – to be awarded under the INFRA grant program (called FASTLANE grants by the Obama Administration). The official list of projects can be found here. Congress has 60 days to review the list and decide whether to reject any or all of the projects.

The grant program was established in the 2015 FAST Act and is focused on freight movement designed to prioritize highways, though some limited rail and port infrastructure is allowed as long as it reduces congestion on highways. The law specified that 10 percent of the funds be available for small projects valued at $5 million or more. Large projects must be at least $25 million. At least 25 percent of funding must go to rural projects.

The $1.535 billion for these grants combines two years’ (FY 2017 and FY 2018) worth of funding established in the FAST Act, less $79 million given out last year for small projects from the FY 2017 funding. The administration solicited proposals from states for the FY 2017 funding but, just prior to the deadline for submissions, changed the selection criteria by adding a new factor based on the amount of non-federal funds states would provide. This criteria is in keeping with the incentive grant emphasis that is part of the administration’s infrastructure proposal introduced earlier this year. The focus on non-federal funding has also become a factor considered for awarding grants under the Build (formerly TIGER) program. President Trump also donated his fourth-quarter 2017 salary to the program.

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

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California Passes Measure to Dedicate Gas Tax Revenues to Transportation Funding
 

This week, Californians overwhelmingly – 80.38 percent to 19.61 percent – passed Proposition 69 (Prop 69), which requires revenue from the recent state gas tax increase, as enacted last year by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), be used for transportation related purposes only.  The passage of Prop 69 is significant because it takes away a key argument from those in California who are attempting to repeal SB 1 – by claiming that the Legislature will divert the funds for other purposes throughout the state, as it has in the past. 

AGC of California, AGC of San Diego and their members, along with other transportation stakeholders, are waging a serious battle against these efforts that would ultimately remove the $5.2B estimated to be generated annually by SB1, in addition to requiring any future increase in gas taxes or vehicle fees to go in front of the general public for a vote. Industry is projecting that $40 million will be necessary to fight the repeal efforts that are being driven by California Republicans, including Gubernatorial Candidate John Cox, who secured a spot on the November ballot in the primaries this week.  More information on SB 1 repeal can be found here and  here.

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

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IMMIGRATION
ICE Workplace Inspections on the Rise; Is Your Company Prepared?
Register Now for Form I-9 and E-Verify Two-Part WebEd Series
 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ramped up workplace inspections, increasing audits and arrests as part of an effort to find illegal workers and deter businesses from hiring them.  According to recently released data, ongoing worksite cases have already doubled in fiscal year 2018 in comparison to last year.  In light of these developments, don’t miss out on this valuable AGC WebEd series and learn how to stay a step ahead of a potential audit.

From Oct. 1, 2017, through May 4, the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) opened 3,510 worksite investigations; initiated 2,282 I-9 audits; and made 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests, respectively. In comparison, for fiscal year 2017 – running October 2016 to September 2017 – HSI opened 1,716 worksite investigations; initiated 1,360 I-9 audits; and made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests related to worksite enforcement. Derek Benner, the Acting Executive Associate Director for ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation division, has indicated ICE would like to open 15,000 audits per year if possible.

As for penalties, ICE calculates them by dividing the number of violations by the total number of employees to reach a “violation percentage”. The penalties, which range from $220 to $2,191 per violation, go up depending on whether it’s a first, second, or third offense. A recent agency fact sheet makes it appear that violation percentages are calculated separately depending on whether you’re talking about an I-9 violation--such as failing to properly complete a section of the form--or to knowingly hiring and/or continuing to employ an unauthorized immigrant. But in practice, it is being reported that ICE is combining the two types of offenses to reach a higher percentage and impose a higher fine.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at claiborne.guy@agc.org or 703-837-5382. Return to Top

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SAFETY
2018 AGC Summer Safety & Health Conference
July 25-27 in Indianapolis, IN
 

The 2018 Summer Safety & Health Conference will take place July 25-27, 2018 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, IN. Join more than 250 industry professionals and participate in the development of regulatory and legislative activity on both a national and local level; assist in the development and creation of new safety training programs and products; and hear the latest initiatives from OSHA and other industry experts. Full details on the Conference and links to registration and the hotel room block can be found hereReturn to Top

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Advanced Safety Management Training Course
October 17-19 in Arlington, VA
 

This unique three–day course provides construction safety and health professionals with the next–level knowledge required to successfully manage a company–wide safety program. Moving beyond the basics of Focus Four training, AGC’s Advanced Safety Management Training Program will give participants a more holistic view of safety’s role in project and company success, as well as advanced tactics and best practices for managing all aspects of a corporate safety program. Participants will also focus on the importance of "selling" safety throughout the organization and methods to generate buy–in from different audiences. Full details on the course and links to registration can be found here. Return to Top

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ENVIRONMENT
Look What’s on the Agenda for AGC’s 2018 Construction Environmental Conference
 

Are you ready for engaging discussions and educational sessions at this year’s environmental conference?  The agenda is posted and registration is open; reserve your seat today for AGC’s 2018 Construction Environmental Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Crystal City, Virginia, on Sept. 12-13.

Whether your goal is an excellent compliance record, to keep abreast of key developments and trends, or to gain an understanding of how environmental issues affect your job responsibilities and projects – AGC’s CEC is the conference for you.  Look what’s on the agenda for 2018.

  • Manage environmental requirements and risk: Learn the latest developments in water, waste, hazardous materials and contaminants, emergency reporting and response, and species considerations.
  • Factor environmental concerns into phases of a project: Discuss wildlife and community solutions during the planning process and operations, permitting issues on large and small projects, properly insuring your projects, and avoiding common mistakes (and enforcement actions!) during operations.
  • Expand your knowledge and skills: Explore training and technology tools, materials and life-cycle analysis, as well as the growing prefab trend.

For conference information and registration, go to http://meetings.agc.org/cec/ or contact Melinda Tomaino at tomainom@agc.org Return to Top

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