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.
Included in the bill is a key provision AGC requested that would set certain conditions on a US DOT pilot program that enables the state or local grant recipients to utilize local or geographical, economic-based, and veterans hiring preferences on federal-aid highway and federal transit projects. The language is identical to a provision that AGC was successful in getting included in last year’s omnibus appropriations bill. The provision requires a grant recipient to certify that a local hire requirement will not force the layoff of a company’s employees, will not significantly increase the cost of the project and that they will not impose local hire requirements unless they can certify that there is an available, trained workforce in the local area. AGC will continue to work with Senators and Representatives to ensure this provision is included in the final bill.