Pipeline Safety Bill Approved By House Committee

The Promoting Innovation in Pipeline Efficiency and Safety Act that would reauthorize funding for PHMSA safety programs and provide support for state One-Call Notification Programs passes key congressional committee.

On December 6, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed the bipartisan Promoting Innovation in Pipeline Efficiency and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2023 by voice vote. The bill was negotiated and passed in a bipartisan manner by Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-Wash.). The PIPES Act would reauthorize PHMSA safety programs over the next four years. The House is the first chamber to move toward the reauthorization of federal pipeline safety programs.

The PIPES Act also provides over $4,000,000 through 2027 for state One-Call Notification Programs, a necessary increase to mitigate damages from excavation. This comes at a critical time, as the demand for one-call center systems is expected to increase from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and other infrastructure laws. Data from the Common Ground Alliance also indicates that facility marking errors and inaccurate markings are two of the most common causes of incidents when digging, which can lead to money lost in damages and time idled while waiting to dig. Additionally, AGC of America’s survey on the 811 process indicated that 73% of respondents found weaknesses within the 811 process. Increasing the amount of funding available for One-Call Notification Programs will hopefully mitigate these challenges and limit weaknesses within the system.

In addition to funding the One-Call Notification Programs, the bill outlines leading practices states should consider implementing for their one-call center systems and considerations that the U.S. Secretary of Transportation should consider in making a damage prevention grant to a state. A full list of all the key provisions that could impact contractors and one-call centers can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact John Chambers at [email protected], or (202) 547-3350.

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