Government Affairs

ACPA Signs on To Letter Supporting PFC Reform

ACPA has signed on to a letter to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) expressing “strong support” of H.R. 3791, the Investing in America: Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act. Rep. Massie, a member of the of the House T&I Committee, and Rep. Blumenauer, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, introduced the bill in mid-July.

The bill would eliminate the federally imposed cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) and provide airports with the ability to locally determine their own PFC rates based on their unique infrastructure needs.

Sent on behalf of the Beyond the Runway Coalition,* the letter states, “Congress last adjusted the PFC cap to $4.50 in 2000, but with inflation and rising construction costs , the purchasing power of the PFC has significantly eroded to barely $2.25. As a result, many airports have reached their debt capacity and either cannot finance new projects or have had to stretch their projects over a longer time frame, increasing the costs and delaying the benefits for passengers.”

The letter adds that eliminating the anti-competitive federal cap on PFCs would allow airports across the country to become more financially self-sufficient. “It is important to note that PFCs are not taxes, but rather local user fees determined locally and used locally to improve the passenger experience and spur airline competition,” the letter continues. Click here to see the letter.

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* The Airport Council International’s Beyond the Runway Coalition is comprised of a wide range of aviation industry stakeholders seeking to ensure that airports remain strong economic engines and job centers in their local communities.  The 77 member organizations are aligned in support of modernizing airport infrastructure financing to ensure airports in the United States have the resources they need to remain competitive, thriving hubs of economic opportunity.

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News from Capitol Hill

This is the latest installment of highlights of PCA’s “This Week in Washington” update by Rachel Derby, PCA Vice President of Legislative Affairs. Interested in seeing more?  Become an ACPA Advocacy Interest Member.* Advocacy Interest Members are eligible to participate in the Legislative Issues Committee (LIC). Click here to join!

  • Topping the legislative news this week is the Senate EPW Committee’s passage of the proposed transportation reauthorization bill.  Click here for details and ACPA’s perspectives.

In other news from Washington, DC …

  • By a vote of 52-40, the U.S. Senate confirmed Steve Dickson to be the next FAA administrator. The FAA has had an acting administrator for the past year.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (BBA, H.R. 3877) in a vote of 284 to 149. The $2.7 trillion bill sets budget levels for two years and prevents $125 billion in automatic cuts that were part of a 2011 budget agreement. It also suspends the debt ceiling for two years. The Transportation Construction Coalition and the Highway Materials Group have expressed support, seeking for the agreement to include a provision to cancel the $7.6 billion highway contract authority rescission scheduled to take effect July 1, 2020.
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced legislation to repeal the rescission of $7.6 billion in federal-aid contract authority that is currently set to take place on July 1, 2020. PCA has weighed in with Congressional leadership in support of a repeal.
  • The House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials held a roundtable with railroad shippers. Mmembers of the subcommittee heard from rail shippers who expressed concerns about demurrage fees and precision-scheduled railroading. Members of the Surface Transportation Board were present to hear the points made by witnesses. Demurrage is costing cement company members money in terms of what railroads charge, and adding to the expense, precision-scheduled railroading is not guaranteeing shipments are shippedat specified times.  

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* Advocacy Interest Membership is a special individual membership category. To be eligible for membership in this category, a member must be a stockholder, owner, director, or employee of a member admitted to any other class of membership (Article IV, Section a-i, and l). In addition, to become and remain eligible, individuals must affirm their Advocacy Interest Membership annually.

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

AASHTO Names Hendrickson as Deputy Director

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has named Brandye Hendrickson, currently the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Deputy Administrator, as its new deputy director.

Appointed to her current FHWA role in July 2017, Hendrickson served as the agency’s acting administrator for two years until Nicole R. Nason officially became the FHWA Administrator in May.  

“I am thrilled that someone with Brandye’s experience and leadership ability is joining the AASHTO team,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s Executive Director. “She has a deep knowledge of the challenges facing surface transportation and that knowledge is going to directly benefit AASHTO and our member departments of transportation.”

“I’m excited about continuing to serve the transportation community in this new role and joining such a great team at AASHTO,” Hendrickson said in a statement.

The AASHTO announcement follows a search that began in May. Before joining FHWA, Hendrickson served as commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation for two years and served as a member of AASHTO’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee until her FHWA appointment.

According to an AASHTO job posting, “The deputy director assists with managing the internal and external affairs of the organization, providing guidance and support to the association’s board of directors, as well as to its committee and council leadership.”  The deputy director also serves as a spokesperson and liaison between AASHTO and a variety of external agencies and organizations, including Congress, state legislatures, government agencies, the media, and other public groups, according to the posting.

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File photo: FHWA.

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

 

News from Capitol Hill

ACPA is pleased to present just a few highlights of PCA’s “This Week in Washington” update by Rachel Derby, PCA Vice President of Legislative Affairs. Interested in seeing more?  Become an ACPA Advocacy Interest Member.* Advocacy Interest Members are eligible to participate in the Legislative Issues Committee (LIC). Click here to join!

  • Congress is set to begin week two of a four week work period before returning home for August Recess. This will be a busy stretch in Washington. At the top of the Congressional “to-do” list is addressing the looming debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is urging Congress to raise the debt ceiling before leaving town at the end of the month. 
  • Before the break, the House will also seek to pass a bill to increase minimum wage, possibly continue to address immigration and potentially focus on Medicare through introduction of a prescription drug package. In the upper chamber, Majority Leader McConnell will continue to move forward on pending nominations, some tax treaties and possibly some healthcare related legislation.

In other news… 

  • The North American Concrete Alliance sent a letter to Senate leadership supporting Jeffrey Byard’s nomination to be the next administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. His nomination has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and awaits consideration by the full Senate.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously supported Michelle Schultz’s nomination to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board.  The President has yet to nominate a candidate for the vacant Democratic position and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) wants a full Senate vote on Schultz’s nomination to be paired with another nominee to the STB.
  • The Senate EPW Committee held a hearing focused on the importance of passing a long-term reauthorization of the surface transportation program. As part of Chairman Barrasso’s (R-WY) remarks, he indicated the committee’s goal is to pass a bipartisan five-year reauthorization bill before the August recess. Witnesses from two state DOTs spoke about the importance of passing a long-term bill that ensures funding certainty to advancing projects.
  • The House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee held a hearing on the status of implementation and assessing future needs of a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Members of the subcommittee used the hearing to demonstrate their support for passage of a WRDA bill next year to continue to pass a bill every two years. WRDA bills authorize new Army Corps of Engineers which are cement intensive. Additionally, Chairman DeFazio (D-OR-04) spoke about his continued work to ensure the full resources of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) are invested annually, instead of sitting on a large balance. 
  • The House Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on the needs of a national surface transportation research agenda, which will be reauthorized as part of FAST Act reauthorization. Both members and witnesses highlighted the need to balance short and long term research needs. Research into improving the durability and lifespan of transportation projects was raised as a place to focus this research.
  • The Senate confirmed Peter Wright as Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) in a vote of 52-38. OLEM is responsible for Superfund, Brownfields, and Waste policy, including defining and regulating nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSMs) critical to cement industry efforts to increase the use of lower-carbon alternative fuels. Wright previously served as an attorney for Dow Chemical.

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* Advocacy Interest Membership is a special individual membership category. To be eligible for membership in this category, a member must be a stockholder, owner, director, or employee of a member admitted to any other class of membership (Article IV, Section a-i, and l). In addition, to become and remain eligible, individuals must affirm their Advocacy Interest Membership annually.

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

News from Capitol Hill

ACPA is pleased to present just a few highlights of PCA’s “This Week in Washington” update by Rachel Derby, PCA Vice President of Legislative Affairs. Interested in seeing more?  Become an ACPA Advocacy Interest Member.* Advocacy Interest Members are eligible to participate in the Legislative Issues Committee (LIC). Click here to join!

  • House T&I Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to engage and talk with President Trump again about finding common ground on revenue for a large infrastructure package.
  • Senate EPW Committee Chairman Barrasso (R-WY), along with Senators Carper (D-DE), Capito (R-WV) and Cardin (D-MD), introduced legislation to repeal the rescission of $7.6 billion in federal-aid contract authority scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020 without action by Congress. PCA supports this effort because if the rescission is not repealed, Senators Barrasso and Carper have indicated they will not be able to move forward with a long-term reauthorization of the FAST Act. Also, many state DOTs will hold back on signing contracts for projects as they wait for certainty about federal funding.
  • The House passed a minibus appropriations bill that included appropriations for the Department of Transportation. This bill provides $86.6 billion in total budgetary resources to the agency, which is a $167 billion over the 2019 enacted level. The accompanying report language directs the Federal Aviation Administration to invest research funds in the Airfield Pavement Research Program, which ACPA and PCA worked to get reauthorized as part of the FAA reauthorization bill last year.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee passed the Safer Pipelines Act of 2019 (H.R. 3432) in a voice vote on June 26. The bill will reauthorize the US DOT’s pipeline safety program, provide grants for emergency response, and make it easier for the public to sue pipeline operators for negligence. Authorization for the program expires September 30.  Reauthorization is important to the cement industry because natural gas is a fuel in cement manufacturing.

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* Advocacy Interest Membership is a special individual membership category. To be eligible for membership in this category, a member must be a stockholder, owner, director, or employee of a member admitted to any other class of membership (Article IV, Section a-i, and l). In addition, to become and remain eligible, individuals must affirm their Advocacy Interest Membership annually.

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

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