Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org March 7, 2019
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On the Inside
Infrastructure
AGC-Backed $20 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill Introduced in House
House T&I Chairman Calls for Gas Tax Increase
Safety
OSHA Crane Operator Evaluation Requirement Takes Effect
Pensions
House Examines Cost of Inaction on the Nationís Multiemployer Pension Crisis
Federal Construction
AGC Discusses Embassy Construction with State Department
Infrastructure
AGC-Backed $20 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill Introduced in House
 
On Mar. 5, the AGC supported bipartisan Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019 introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) along with Reps. Napolitano (D-Calif.), Don Young (R-Alaska), and John Katko (R-N.Y.). The legislation would provide over $20 billion in federal assistance for the construction, repair and replacement of wastewater, stormwater conveyance and treatment facilities. In addition to increased funding, the bill also has the potential to create 500,000 quality construction, engineering and manufacturing jobs. AGC is working to include this bill in a potentially large infrastructure package.
 
This bill was introduced ahead of the Mar. 7 House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment hearing entitled, The Clean Water State Revolving Fund: How Federal Infrastructure Investment Can Help Communities Modernize Water Infrastructure and Address Affordability Challenges The hearing examined the current state of our clean water systems, the backlog of clean water infrastructure needs and the infrastructure affordability challenges facing communities and American households. 
 
For more information, contact Allen Gray at (703) 837-5321 or allen.gray@agc.org.
 
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House T&I Chairman Calls for Gas Tax Increase
Ranking T&I Republican Favors VMT
 
Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) noted his intent to introduce legislation to provide a short-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund.  At a Mar. 7 House Ways and Means Committee hearing, he laid out why his proposal—which would authorize 30-year Treasury bonds and whose proceeds would be deposited in the Highway Trust Fund and repaid by increasing the fuel taxes by no more than 1.5 cents per year—makes the most sense from a practical and political standpoint. Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.) also testified on his interest in focusing on a vehicle miles traveled fee as a long-term solution, while acknowledging something needs to be done in the short-term. AGC will continue to work with leaders in Congress and our industry stakeholders to work on efforts to address the funding crisis facing the Highway Trust Fund.
 
The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and the American Trucking Associations also testified at the hearing. Each organization called for an immediate increase in federal motor fuels taxes to fill the projected $18 billion gap soon to face the High Trust Fund.  
 
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.
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Safety
OSHA Crane Operator Evaluation Requirement Takes Effect
Listen to ConstructorCast Podcast for all the Important Details
 
As of Feb. 7, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all contractors to evaluate crane operators under the new final rule regulating crane operator qualification and evaluation. AGC of America spent nearly 16 years working with OSHA under three different presidential administrations to make this rule less burdensome and provide the greatest positive safety impact possible. The latest episode of ConstructorCast covers all the important details you need to know to ensure your firm is in compliance as the requirements take full effect and beyond. Download or stream the episode here.
 
Our mission to help AGC members does not stop when the ink dries on regulations impacting your construction company. We also want to help ensure you have the information necessary to comply. That is why we created valuable AGC educational resources. Specifically, AGC created a summary of crane operator and evaluation rule operator and evaluation rule and a sample form for crane operator evaluation. These materials represent the hard work of many AGC member safety professionals and AGC staff who want to ensure that this industry is not only safer, but also in compliance with the law. And, more resources will be coming soon. 
 
For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at (703) 837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org.
 
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Pensions
House Examines Cost of Inaction on the Nationís Multiemployer Pension Crisis
AGC urges that Composite Plans Must Be Part of the Solution
 
On Mar. 7, the House Committee on Education and Labor committee held a hearing focused on the cost of inaction of multiemployer pension crisis and why Congress must address it. Ahead of the hearing, AGC—along with other industry stakeholders—reiterated its commitment to the authorization of composite plans in any multiemployer pension reform effort.  In addition, AGC will continue to advocate against any changes that destabilize plans or make providing retirements benefits to workers more expensive.  
 
The hearing follows an earlier hearing held this year by the House Ways and Means Committee and the introduction of the Butch Lewis Act. That bill, first introduced in 2017, would offer loans to troubled plans through a new agency at the Department of Treasury, called the Pension Rehabilitation Authority. While the proposal was well-vetted during the previous Congress and by the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, it appears as though congressional leaders are shifting their interest from a loan proposal to one that provides assistance to troubled plans by giving the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) greater partitioning authority.
 
For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-0133.
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Federal Construction
AGC Discusses Embassy Construction with State Department
 
On Mar. 5, AGC met with leaders of the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO).  AGC brought in current and prospective contractors for a two-hour meeting to address the challenges OBO and the construction industry face in building embassies.  Among the topics discussed were OBO’s Embassy After Next program, formal partnering, and difficult contract requirements.  AGC and OBO pledged to continue to work to ensure the delivery of high-quality facilities and infrastructure the American foreign service deserves.
 
For more information, contact jordan.howard@agc.org or (703) 837-5368.
 
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