Work Zone Awareness Week to Highlight Worker Protection

Take AGC’s Work Zone Survey
April 8-12 was “Drive Like You Work Here” week for the 2019 National Work Zone Awareness campaign. For this campaign, on Tuesday, April 9, AGC participated in the national kick-off week with the reconstruction of Washington, D.C.’s South Capitol Street bridge as a backdrop. FHWA Deputy Administrator Brandye Hendrickson and DDOT’s Director Jeff Marootian participated in the event which included a testimonial from Lyndsay Sutton whose father, a construction worker, was struck and killed by a vehicle in 2011. AGC chapters, member firms, state DOTs, and other construction associations also participated in the annual awareness campaign by hosting a variety of events nationwide. AGC of America continuously surveys members about work zone safety issues and utilizes the results to emphasize the importance of driving safely through work zones to protect workers and motorists. Take the 2019 Highway Work Zone Safety Survey.
This was the 19th year of the Work Zone Awareness Week, and while there has been a steady increase in fatalities in work zones over the past four years, construction worker fatalities in work zones have steadily decreased from a high of 133 in 2012 down to 105 in 2017. Any fatality is one too many, and this improvement reflects the additional efforts contractors have taken to protect their workers.
For more information, please contact Brian Deery at

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U.S. EPA Concludes Pollution Through Groundwater Does Not Require a Federal Discharge Permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on an interpretive statement published April 15, concluding that “releases of pollutants to groundwater are categorically excluded from Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements because Congress explicitly left regulation of discharges to groundwater to the states and to EPA under other statutory authorities.” The full interpretive statement is online. EPA had requested comment on the issue previously; AGC solicited input from members and submitted comments challenging EPA’s consideration of using the CWA permit program to regulate discharges to groundwater eventually making their way to a jurisdictional surface water. AGC strongly maintains that the CWA’s point source program does not regulate releases that reach “Waters of the U.S.” via groundwater. AGC will engage with the agency and industry partners on whether additional clarity is needed. EPA has recognized that it may need to modify its statement in the future, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear a groundwater “hydrologic connection theory” case. Click here for more information.
For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at

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AGC Supports Proposed WOTUS Definition

On April 15, AGC formally supported and offered substantive feedback in response to a new definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The current proposal provides greater clarity than the 2015 WOTUS Rule (undergoing legal challenges and repeal): it better identifies federal waters, respects states’ primary role in pollution prevention, and balances major case law from the last couple of decades.

In its comments, AGC urges the agencies to further refine newly proposed definitions or points of specific interest to the construction  industry.  Specifically, AGC calls on the agencies to exclude ditches that are part of a community’s public infrastructure from regulation as a federally jurisdictional water.  AGC also seeks a full exclusion for stormwater control features, a standard methodology(ies) for distinguishing between ephemeral versus intermittent waters, limits on the timeline and extent of documentation for historical inquiries, more examples of how the exclusions would work in the field, as well as greater clarity on how the proposal would treat flood controls.

The agencies will now take several months to review and respond to public comments on the proposal and prepare a final version of the rule.  AGC expects them to release a final rule towards the end of the year; however, the first quarter in 2020 is also a possibility.  The agencies have been very deliberative during the “repeal and replace” process and the timelines often are extended as a result.  In the interim, AGC will continue to be involved as the proposal moves through completion and as Congress looks to address WOTUS.  AGC continues to track legal challenges to the 2015 WOTUS Rule that are moving through the courts at the district level.  However, a formal repeal of the 2015 WOTUS Rule by the agencies is imminent.

For more information, please contact Melinda Tomaino at

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AGC-Backed DERA Authorization Bill Voted Out of Senate Committee

Would Annually Provide $100M in Grants for Diesel Retrofits

On April 10, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted overwhelmingly to advance a bipartisan AGC-backed bill to reauthorize the Diesel Emissions Reductions Act (DERA) program. The bill would provide $100 million annually through fiscal year 2024 for grants and rebates to states and localities to upgrade or replace older diesel engines, including off-road construction equipment. AGC chapters – working with AGC of America – have won millions in federal funds to support AGC members’ voluntary retrofit projects, in addition to leveraging millions more in matching and in-kind contributions to help their members afford the high cost of reducing emissions from construction equipment.

AGC will continue to work with Congress and the administration to ensure they recognize the importance of the DERA program and they provide greater financial assistance to the many equipment owner who seek a fair and effective way to reduce emissions from existing fleets of off-road equipment.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at

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AGC’s Utility Infrastructure Division Presents Underground Safety and Damage Prevention Program

The AGC’s Utility Infrastructure Division (UID) unveiled its white paper addressing underground utility safety and damage prevention during AGC’s Annual Convention on April 3. The white paper lays out key elements of an effective excavation safety program that when included in an overall safety package will help keep facility damages to a minimum and maintain a record of the circumstances surrounding a damage; particularly, which party in the 811 process is liable for a damage. The program is based on Common Ground Alliance (CGA) Best Practices and AGC’s expertise and resources.

The program will also help deal with the practice of aggressive billing by facility owner/operators (O/O’s). Aggressive billing is when O/O’s and their collection agents file a claim against contractors for damaging their facilities whether the excavators is at fault or not.  These claims are often filed years after a damage has occurred and the contractor has no record of the event and/or if it happened at all.

For more information, contact Allen Gray at or (703) 837-5321.

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President Trump Signs Executive Orders Supporting Energy Infrastructure

On April 10, President Trump signed two executive orders supporting the development of energy infrastructure. The orders seek to address lengthy permitting delays that can impede construction. The first order removes barriers to pipeline construction, provides incentives for private investment in energy infrastructure and updates transport regulations to allow shipment of liquified natural gas by rail. The second order provides the president with sole authority to grant permits for pipelines to cross U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico, with advice from the State Department. AGC continues to support efforts to streamline federal permitting processes.

For more information, contact Allen Gray at or (703) 837-5321.

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DOL Proposes Revisions to Joint Employer Regulations

On April 1, the U. S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) unveiled a proposed rule to revise and clarify the responsibilities of employers and joint employers to employees in joint employer arrangements. This proposal intends to ensure employers and joint employers clearly understand their responsibilities to pay at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. AGC will provide input to the DOL on the impact this update might have on the construction industry and will notify members of any developments.
The Department now proposes a four-factor test - based on court-established precedent - that would consider whether the potential joint employer actually exercises the power to:


    • Hire or fire the employee;


    • Supervise and control the employee's work schedules or conditions of employment;


    • Determine the employee's rate and method of payment; and


  • Maintain the employee's employment records.

The proposal also includes a set of joint employment examples for comment to further assist in clarifying joint employer status. In 2017, the DOL withdrew—in line with AGC recommendations—the previous administration’s sub-regulatory guidance regarding joint employer status.

For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at or 703-837-5382.


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GSA Administrator Addresses Contractors at AGC Convention

Followed by Joint GSA-Contractor Presentation

On April 2, General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily Murphy headlined the AGC Federal and Heavy Construction Division Session at AGC’s 100th Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado.  Administrator Murphy spoke about the value of AGC’s partnership during her time working on congressional committees and now at GSA Headquarters.  She leads a staff of more than 11,000 employees nationwide and approximately $55 billion in annual contracts. Following Administrator Murphy’s remarks was a presentation reviewing the recently completed Laredo Land Port of Entry project by GSA and Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC.

The presentation by GSA’s Raul Moreno and Brasfield & Gorrie’s Jason Hard and Robert Hammack presented a recent successful federal construction project – the $100M Laredo, Texas Land Port of Entry. The presenters discussed how partnering between the agencies and contractors helped the project overcome complex logistics and security concerns.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at or (703) 837-5368.

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AGC-Supported Invest in America Act Introduced

Could Spur Billions in Commercial Construction Investment

On April 10, Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Kenny Marchant (R-Tex.), introduced the AGC-supported Invest in America Act (H.R. 2210), which would repeal a decades-old tax provision that artificially limits foreign investment in the United States. By some estimates, enacting this legislation would result in $65 to $125 billion in increased infrastructure and real estate investment, and 150,000 to 280,000 construction and construction-related jobs.

Originally created in 1980, the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) imposes U.S. tax on gain realized by a foreign investor on the disposition of an “interest” in U.S. real property. As a result, the FIRPTA tax can subject foreign investment in U.S. real estate and infrastructure (including some interests in public-private partnerships) to a much higher tax burden than applies to a foreign investor purchasing a U.S. stock or bond, or an investment in any other asset class.

For further information, please contact Matthew Turkstra at or (202) 547-4733.

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AGC-Backed Work Opportunity Tax Credit Bill Introduced

Would Permanently Extend the Tax Credit

On April 10, Reps. G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) introduced AGC-backed legislation to make the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) permanent. Created more than two decades ago, WOTC provides tax incentives to employers who hire certain disadvantaged groups, such as individuals dependent on public assistance, qualifying veterans, individuals with physical or mental disabilities, and the long-term unemployed. The credit enjoys broad bipartisan support but has consistently been extended in the past on a short-term basis. It is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2019.

For further information, please contact Matthew Turkstra at or (202) 547-4733.

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