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LATEST NEWS

Majority of House Members Want Highway Trust Fund Fix in Tax Reform

Transportation Construction Coalition Helps Secure Support
This week, 253 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Richie Neal (D-Mass.) calling for a fix to the Highway Trust as part of any comprehensive tax reform proposal from the Ways & Means Committee.  AGC thanks all of our members as well as TCC members who contacted their Representatives through Hardhat for Highways, in-district visits and the TCC fly-in.
AGC, along with our partners in the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), worked closely with the letter’s authors – Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Ranking Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) – to help secure support from a majority of the Republicans (119) and the Democrats (134).
The letter was significant for many reasons including the fact that it sent a clear message that a majority of both House Republicans and Democrats want to see an end to general fund transfers that federal highway and transit programs have relied on since 2008 and, instead, are calling for any Highway Trust Fund solution that “entail[s] a long-term, dedicated, user-based revenue stream.”
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.

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AGC Meets with Labor Secretary Acosta 

Prioritizes Workforce Training, Regulatory Reform 
AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr and members of AGC’s Government Affairs staff met with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta this week to discuss working with him and the Trump Administration on workforce development, labor and employment issues, and regulatory reform. In advance of the meeting, AGC provided a list of Labor Department regulatory requirements that could be abandoned or modified to ease the regulatory burden on contractors and address the skills gap.
AGC’s hopes to work with the Labor Department on keeping American workers safe and healthy while stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. AGC identified ways to achieve these goals through regulatory reduction and streamlining, strengthening the symbiotic partnership between DOL and the construction industry and enhancing present regulatory compliance education and collaboration initiatives.
For more information, contact Jim Young at [email protected] or (202) 547-0133.

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AGC Hosts OFCCP Contractor Compliance Meeting

On June 14, AGC hosted a meeting between AGC members and officials from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). OFCCP requested the meeting for the purpose of identifying problems that construction contractors have in meeting affirmative action requirements related to recruiting and asking for suggestions to improve compliance assistance tools.
AGC facilitates these types of meetings to connect the federal agencies with the construction industry they are required to regulate. These are unique opportunities for AGC to help educate federal officials on how their rulemakings translate at the practical level and identify additional opportunities for partnership. AGC looks forward to continuing to work with the OFCCP and other federal agencies on behalf of its membership.
AGC members interested in participating in future meetings with OFCCP may contact Claiborne Guy at [email protected] or 703-837-5382.

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AGC Meets with GSA Chief of Staff

Reduce Regulations, Increase Competition
On June 9, AGC met with Jack St. John, the Chief of Staff for the General Services Administration (GSA) and currently the agency’s highest ranking political appointee, to discuss the Agency’s current and future role and provide AGC guidance on improving GSA. Among the topics discussed, AGC encouraged GSA to continue to consolidate and reduce federal footprint and reduce short-term leased facilities. At the end of fiscal year 2015, the total domestic federal inventory of office and warehouse space was 705.4 million square feet, a 3.4 percent reduction from fiscal year 2012. Additionally, AGC suggested ways that GSA could improve their construction procurement process.
AGC also urged the agency to rescind their Project Labor Agreement (PLA) preference policy that gives additional points to contractor bids that include PLA’s. Of the major federal construction agencies, the GSA is the only one that includes a bid preference for construction services proposals that include a project labor agreement. AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use of PLAs but strongly opposes any government mandates or preferences for contractors’ use of PLAs.
For more information, contact [email protected] or (703) 837-5368.

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President Trump Takes Steps to Reform Project Permitting Process

Establishes New Office to Root Out Inefficiency
AGC of America brought Infrastructure Week to a close last Friday with President Donald Trump at the Transportation Department.  In his speech, President Trump criticized the red-tape associated with obtaining project permits and approvals, which can delay projects by a decade or more.  He signaled a new urgency to reform the permitting for infrastructure and announced a new office – housed within the Council for Environmental Quality – charged with modernizing and streamlining the process. The president also called for agencies to be held accountable for missing permitting deadlines.
AGC has been leading the charge on permitting reform. Both Congress and the White House have turned to AGC for common-sense recommendations. AGC has delivered solutions to the White House, to the regulatory agencies, and in testimony and letters to Congress.
For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at [email protected] or (703) 837-5415.

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Withdraws Joint Employer, Independent Contractor Informal Guidance

In line with AGC’s regulatory recommendations, on June 7, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors. Both pieces of guidance together took an expansive interpretation of employment and threatened the traditional relationship between contractors and their partners. AGC and its members were concerned that these interpretations would make compliance more complicated, leading to unnecessary enforcement efforts and increased costs to projects.
The 2015 Labor Department memo aimed to address the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The Department’s position was that most workers qualify as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its broad definition of "employ." Then, in 2016, the Department issued a second memo establishing new standards for determining joint employment under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). The intent was to hold companies jointly accountable for FLSA and MSPA violations of their subcontractors, staffing agencies, joint venture partners, and the like through use of an “economic realities” analysis.
AGC continues to identify opportunities where AGC and the Department of Labor (DOL) can partner on its mission to keep American workers safe and healthy while stimulating economic growth and creating new high quality jobs. Specifically, AGC advises that DOL can achieve these goals through regulatory reduction and streamlining, strengthening the symbiotic partnership between DOL and the construction industry and enhancing present regulatory compliance education and collaboration initiatives.
For more information, contact Claiborne Guy at [email protected] or 703-837-5382.

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OSHA Schedules Special ACCSH Meeting to Fix Crane Operator Certification

On July 20, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold an Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) meeting to consider a proposed rule extending the enforcement date for crane operator certification for one year – to Nov. 10, 2018.  The proposal also extends existing requirements for employers to ensure that crane operators are trained and competent to operate the equipment safely.
OSHA has determined that two of the four organizations that offer third-party certifications have programs that do not meet the “type AND capacity” requirements currently contained within the standards. These organizations currently offer certification by type but not by capacity. Operators in possession of this certification would be deemed “noncompliant” according to the agency.  To address the potential disruption and uncertainty this interpretation has caused, OSHA has proposed to extend the compliance and enforcement date by another year. In Sept. 2014, OSHA issued a similar extension for crane operator certification requirements and employer requirements for operator training and competency by three years to Nov. 10, 2017.
The meeting will be held by teleconference only and is open to the public.  The tentative meeting agenda topics include:


  • Presentation on OSHA’s proposed rule to extend the enforcement date for the crane operator certification requirements and the existing employer duty in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standards.

  • ACCSH’s consideration of, and recommendation on, OSHA’s Proposed Rule to extend the enforcement date for the crane operator certification requirements and the existing employer duty in the Cranes and Derricks standards.

  • Public comment period

AGC is a member of ACCSH and supports the proposed extension to allow OSHA to address the “type AND capacity” issue while also addressing operator qualification.  However, we believe the agency should allow contractors the flexibility to qualify operators under a performance standard.  To participate in the meeting, the dial-in number is 1 (888) 604-9368 and the passcode is 8521818.  AGC will continue to monitor the status of any further updates on the rule as they become available.
For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at [email protected] or (703) 837-5410.

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President Trump’s Infrastructure Week

President Trump turned his focus to infrastructure this week by dedicating a series of events to addressing America’s infrastructure.  The events included announcing his plan to privatize the nation’s air traffic control, holding a rally in Cincinnati – attended by several AGC members – highlighting the need to improve the Inland waterways system and discuss his broader infrastructure plan, a meeting with governors and mayors, and finally, a Roads and Rail Regulatory event at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
AGC continues to be encouraged by the president and his administration’s commitment to improving our nation’s infrastructure and we look forward to working with them and Congress to ensure that any infrastructure package provides increased federal funding and additional financing along with a regulatory environment that ensures the greatest return on any new investments.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.

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Push to Include Highway Trust Fund Fix in Tax Reform Continues in House

Tell your Rep. to Sign Bipartisan Letter Supporting Long-Term Fix – DEADLINE EXTENDED
A bipartisan group of congressmen are circulating a letter asking House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Ranking Democrat Richard Neal (Mass.) to fix the Highway Trust Fund as a part of any tax reform package the committee considers. Contact your representative and urge them to sign this letter, which is being circulated by Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Ranking Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia). As of press time, 216 members of the House have signed onto the Graves/Holmes Norton letter (check to see if your representatives has signed on).
If you recall, Representatives Graves and Holmes Norton circulated a similar letter last year (check here to see if your Rep. signed the 2016 letter) that was signed by 130 bipartisan members of the House. The FAST ACT provides funding certainty for the Highway Trust Fund through fiscal year 2020. However, following the FAST Act's expiration, the Highway Trust Fund will face cuts of approximately $18 billion per year. A permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund needs to be found in order to eliminate these cuts.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.

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AGC Trains VA Resident Engineers

What Happens Between Award and Construction
Last week, AGC members met with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) resident engineers from across the country for an interactive training session at the VA Acquisition Academy in Frederick, MD. AGC detailed the many steps that are involved between the time a contract is awarded and a contractor breaks ground. VA resident engineers engaged in team exercises where they brainstormed timelines of the different steps involved.  AGC walked through the whole process and addressed gaps between what the engineers perceived as a suitable timeline and the actual time needed for a contractor to complete the required steps.
Some of the topics discussed included safety reviewing specifications, the logistics of laying out trailer space, assigning personnel, creating a log for the initial Construction Project Management schedule, material delivery and lay down areas, equipment rental, logistics of moving from another project, and site storage facility.
AGC frequently engages in training sessions with federal agencies and remains dedicated to further educating federal agencies on the construction process.
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at [email protected] or (703) 837-5368.

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