Government Affairs

Revisiting AHUA Committee Priorities

As a follow-up to our story last week about the AHUA Policy and Government Affairs committee meeting, we are including a link to the letter we mentioned would be sent to House & Senate Leaders. 

Click here to read the letter, which urges Congress to provide emergency funds to State highway and transportation departments and to pass a long-term and robustly funded highway and transportation reauthorization bill.

We also reported on AHUA’s Top Priorities for Highway Reauthorization. This document was also finalized after our newsletter was published. Click here to view it.

The committee is co-chaired by Leif Wathne of ACPA and Ashley Jackson of NAPA. 

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

FHWA and Stakeholders Discuss Workshop

FHWA Long-Term Infrastructure Program (LTIP) officials and industry stakeholders met by conference call last week to begin planning for a future workshop, says Larry Scofield. The goal of the workshop is to set priorities for conducting the remaining FHWA Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) data analysis projects. 

The current LTPP strategic plan for data analysis (“tablecloth”) was developed almost a decade ago, so the group agrees they need to update the current plan. The existing plan has nine strategic objectives and a list of data analysis projects under each strategic objective. 

The purpose of the future workshop is to help the LTIP staff set priorities for the 100 or so identified data analysis projects that have yet to receive funding. The conference call provided background to the stakeholders for planning the future workshop. Leif Wathne is ACPA’s LTIP representative, and along with Scofield, participated in the call. 

Highway Construction Coalitions Focus on Infrastructure

 ACPA continues to participate in DC construction coalitions to discuss ongoing COVID-19 relief and recovery legislative packages and how infrastructure investment priorities can be best positioned for consideration.

Both the Transportation Construction Coalition and the Highway Materials Group met this week to discuss potential coalition actions.  The situation remains fluid as legislative priorities in Congress continue to shift among the ongoing spread of COVID-19 within the United States.  

Industry is focused on ensuring Congress includes robust, long-term funding for transportation infrastructure in any upcoming recovery package being considered by Congress and the Administration. 

A letter to Congressional leadership and a potential advertising campaign are being considered as part of this effort. ACPA will continue to engage with these groups on behalf of the concrete pavement community, and provide updates as appropriate. 

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

AHUA Committee Discusses Priorities

The AHUA Policy and Government Affairs committee held its second meeting by conference call yesterday and AHUA President & CEO Laura Perrotta set the course of the discussion by presenting an overview of goals and current program status.

Co-Chairs Leif Wathne of ACPA and Ashley Jackson of NAPA led a discussion on key policy priorities  for the Highway Users. The group continues to be supportive of key priorities advocated for in recent years, such as robust, long-term funding, opposing diversion of highway funds for non-highway uses, continued responsible regulatory streamlining, and preventing unfair and discriminatory tolling on existing capacity on Interstates, among other things. The Committee is also weighing support for provisions to ensure relief funds are eligible to be used for reimbursement of contractors for COVID-19 worker protection, a point ACPA is advocating on several fronts.

AHUA is also penning a letter to House & Senate Leaders urging “Congress to provide emergency funds to State highway and transportation departments and pass a long-term and robustly funded highway and transportation reauthorization in the next relief package being debated by Congress and the Administration.”

As part of this effort, AHUA is urging Congress to shore up the Highway Trust Fund, as revenues decline from reductions in fuel consumption and sales tax revenue due to COVID-19. This investment in the highway trust fund will in turn pay for a long-term transportation authorization and help our Nation with its recovery.

“It was a productive meeting,” Leif says, adding, “AHUA is focusing on the critical, short-term needs of agencies, industry and highway users, but is also looking downfield at surface transportation legislation that will address both policy and funding issues, and as a result, will benefit the taxpaying public significantly.”

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

Support Grows for Infrastructure Funding

President Donald J. Trump and Congressional leaders have expressed strong support infrastructure investment as part of the proposed phase 4 emergency relief funding from the federal government.

In an evening post Tuesday on Twitter, the President wrote: “With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill. It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-1),  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also have expressed support for infrastructure investment.

Senate EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) also tweeted Tuesday night, “In the Senate, we have a bipartisan bill that will invest billions in America’s highways and is ready to go. Our bill will cut red tape so projects can get done better, faster, cheaper, and smarter.”

Speaker Pelosi held a call yesterday with reporters (and industry officials, including Jerry Voigt) and outlined proposed funding for a phase 4 economic rescue package, which would include infrastructure construction, drinking water, energy and broadband Internet. House T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04) expressed support for the President’s proposal and disappointment with Republican Senate and House leaders, who have suggested waiting to see what the CARES Act, signed into law last Friday.

“Rebuilding puts people and workers first,” Chairman DeFazio says. “We have to have a better system for the future. We need to be prepared for the next major threat – climate change. If we are going to rebuild, then let’s build it a way that is more resilient, with material that produces less carbon dioxide.”

Chairman DeFazio also comments, “We need to keep the construction workers going…don’t slow down the payroll.” He cites green transportation construction options, including concrete, reducing the footprint with new mixes, etc.

Speaker Pelosi says that although the CARES Act (signed into law last week) includes $25B for transportation, there is a need for more funding. “This is a bill that is a long time in coming,” she says, adding this is a bill “for the people.”  She also says the Buy America provision will be included in the bill.

According to a report in THE HILL today, there is no broad agreement among Democrats what the infrastructure funding would be, “But the still-evolving legislation will build on a $760 billion infrastructure proposal unveiled by the Democrats in January.”

__________________________________ Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

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