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Construction spending slipped from December to January but increased modestly from a year ago, as private construction grew solidly but public infrastructure outlays tumbled, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the January data indicates the need for new public investments in infrastructure along the lines of the trillion dollar proposal President Trump outlined during his Congressional address last night.
he Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) sent a letter to all members of the new 115th Congress urging that it get off to a productive start and show the American public that its intention to make good on campaign pledges to work together in the best interest of the country by completing action now on a fully funded FY 2017 transportation appropriations measure. The letter points out that many state DOTs are unable to put their full list of construction projects out to bid because Congress has only approved FY 2017 funding for highway and transit programs through April 28, 2017. In addition, because the DOT funding is currently part of a continuing resolution to fund the entire government at FY 2016 levels, the highway and transit programs are funded at 2 percent below the level authorized in the one year old FAST Act. You are urged to also contact your Congressional delegation and urge them to complete action on this important funding bill. A message is available for you to send through the Hardhats for Highways site and can be accessed here. http://hardhatsforhighways.org/
Plan on participating in a National conference April 4-6, 2017 in Sparks, Nevada on, "Advancing Best Practices in the ART of Partnering." AGC of America, AGC of Nevada, and Las Vegas Chapter AGC are working with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in this initiative emphasizing the need for partnering; highlighting the top two or three state of the art partnering practices; and, showcasing how these recognized leaders are supporting and advancing the use of partnering on highway construction projects.The conference is targeted at state DOT officials, contractors, chapter staff, and FHWA. AGC members are encouraged to participate to bring the contractor perspective to the issue of partnering. Further information, including registration and hotel details is available here.
The Senate Commerce Committee held a confirmation January 11, 2017 for President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao. Ms. Chao – who previously served as the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and the Deputy Secretary of Transportation in President George H.W. Bush’s Administration – is expected to help shape an infrastructure plan that has been promised by President-elect Trump. Secretary-Nominee Chao offered no specifics of what a Trump infrastructure plan would include but she did acknowledge that the challenges with any plan lie in how it is paid for. During the hearing she expressed the belief that both direct federal spending and private financing will be a part of the incoming administration’s proposal. She went on the say that seeing a fix for the Highway Trust Fund – which will again be facing insolvency in 2020 – will be a “top priority” for the Department.
The federal highway Administration (FHWA) issued final rules on performance measures for congestion and freight movement that include requirements for states to measure and report CO2 (Greenhouse Gas- GHG) emissions from on-road vehicles for projects receiving federal funding. AGC and numerous other groups and Members of Congress advised FHWA in formal comments on the proposal that it lacked authority to expand into CO2 emissions but FHWA said it didn’t agree.
In a separate action, the Department of Transportation (USDOT) released updated implementation procedures for states to use to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Not only did USDOT rush these procedures out for publication with limited (21 days) for comment, the document adds a new level of oversight to the environmental review process. This undermines efforts by Congress in the past three transportation authorization bills and previous administrations to streamline environmental review and shrink the time it takes for project approval.
Talking Points Can be Found at www.HardhatsforHighways.org
While Members of Congress are back home for the remainder of the year, the AGC co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) is urging our members to contact their Members of Congress – either in person or via email – and encourage them to permanently fix for the Highway Trust Fund. A new Congress and administration could provide the opportunity to fix the trust fund either through tax reform and/or an infrastructure package (as promised by President-Elect Trump).
Construction employers added 19,000 jobs in November, reaching the highest employment level since November 2008, but a drop in public sector investments in construction projects held down employment among heavy and civil engineering firms, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that recent construction spending numbers show a decline in most categories of infrastructure investment.
AGC chapters have been successful in promoting state transportation funding initiatives over the past several years. Success at State Level – Since 2013 – includes a mix of revenue options:
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters.
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