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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Highway & Transportation

December 22, 2016

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).

December 2, 2016

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.

October 4, 2016

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:

June 30, 2016

Construction employment declined or was stagnant in 131, or 37 percent, of 358 metro areas between May 2015 and May 2016, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said.  The data comes as years of underfunding have contributed to declining highway, transit and other public infrastructure just 60 years after President Eisenhower signed the first interstate highway act.

May 19, 2016

This week, the House and Senate both made progress in moving their respective transportation funding bill for fiscal year 2017.  Both bills include a key, AGC-backed provision that sets restrictions on the use of a U.S. DOT pilot program that enables state or local grant recipients to utilize local or geographical, economic-based, and veterans hiring preferences on federal-aid highway and federal transit projects.

June 24, 2016

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced this week the eleven technologies and practices that  are being promoted as part of the fourth-round of Every Day Counts (EDC) for 2017-2018. EDC is FHWA’s state-based initiative to deploy proven innovations to shorten and enhance project delivery. FHWA will offer technical assistance, training and resources to help transportation agencies and stakeholders adopt the innovations in 2017 and 2018. 

June 24, 2016

AGC held a WebEd this week to inform members and chapters about developments in the use of mileage based user fees to fund transportation infrastructure investments at the federal and state levels in the future. Participants heard from Jack Basso, former DOT Budget Director and Chairman of the Mileage Based Use Fee Alliance (MBUFA), who discussed the current depleted status of the Highway Trust Fund and the need to find alternative revenue sources to supplement and possibly replace the gas tax. Bob Arnold, Director of DOT’s Office of Transportation Management reported on provisions in the FAST Act which provided $95 million in grant funding to support states in implementing pilot programs to test various alternative user fee initiatives for purposes of maintaining the future long-term solvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Finally, Malcolm Dougherty, Director of CalTrans, reported on California’s road charge pilot program. 

April 8, 2016

In comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), AGC pointed out the difficulty the construction industry is having finding qualified truck drivers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) and urged that new rules not make the shortage worse. The comments were directed at a proposed rule that FMCSA has developed requiring minimum training requirements for entry-level truck drivers. FMCSA’s rule proposes that entry level drivers must take a driver theory class (on-line or in classroom) and satisfactorily pass a test and then successfully complete 30 hours of behind the wheel (BTW) training (some hours on a closed range and some on the open road) in order to obtain a CDL. AGC said the driving theory classes are good but suggested that BTW requirements be competency based and not based on hours judging drivers on their skill set rather than number of hours. The comments said this would allow a focus on areas that need concentration and allows the training to also focus on industry specific needs.

April 22, 2016

The Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the fiscal year 2017 budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) which includes FAST Act investment levels for federal-aid highways ($43.266 billion) and transit ($9.734 billion). Additionally, the bill provides $525 million for the TIGER grants, $2.338 billion for transit Capital Investment Grants and $3.35 billion for Airport Improvement Program grants.

April 22, 2016

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking this week detailing performance measurements for congestion, freight and on-road mobile source emissions for the national highway System which it was required to do in the 2013 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) reauthorization law. The notice, however, proposes to go beyond MAP-21 requirements by attempting to use the rulemaking to address the Administration’s climate agenda by expanding the proposed rule to include greenhouse gas emissions.

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