Government Affairs

Group Urges Senate Leaders to Support Timely Reauthorization

The Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader  Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) urging bipartisan action to address our nation’s long-standing infrastructure deficit.

“As this challenge persists and worsens,” the group wrote, “we encourage you to move a long-term, robustly funded surface transportation reauthorization ahead of the September 30, 2020 deadline. The group cited the imperative to avoid costly delays that slow construction schedules and make important projects more costly and more difficult to complete.”

The letter continued, “Substantial and long-term investments in all kinds of infrastructure are needed to expand our economy, grow jobs and compete globally. We appreciate strong bipartisan support for various infrastructure initiatives over the years and hope momentum recently initiated by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee can lead to a successful, bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization.”

Led by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Associated General Contractors, the IWG exists to unite a diverse range of trade associations and build support for infrastructure investments. The IWG works to unite the common interest of support for infrastructure investment among a diverse range of industry organizations.

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Photo:  Composite view of Sen. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, from photos on the website of the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.  See related story from our September 20th newsletter.

Airport Pavement Technology Program Advances in Senate Approps Bill

The Airfield Pavement Technology Program (Section 744 of the FAA bill) was fully funded at $6 million per year in the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, also referred to as the THUD bill.  The bill passed out of committee last week.  The specific language in the bill follows below: 

Airport Technology.—The Committee recommends $39,224,000 for Airport Technology Research. This funding level is $6,000,000 more than the budget request and $6,014,000 more than the fiscal year 2019 level. Of this amount, $6,000,000 is for the airfield pavement technology program authorized under section 744 of Public Law 115–254, of which $3,000,000 is for concrete pavement research and $3,000,000 is for asphalt pavement research.

Click here to see the complete report, including the section above, which appears on page 43.  ACPA is very pleased to see the $6 million “plus-up” of the Airport Technology Research amount.  The THUD bill is expected to go to pre-conference with the House THUD bill that passed earlier this year.  Look for further developments to be reported in a future issue of ACPA TODAY. 

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Pennsylvania Chapter Drives Competition Message

Chuck Niederriter, Golden Triangle Construction (and past-Chairman of both the ACPA Board and the Pennsylvania Chapter Board) presented formal remarks before the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee last week.  The focus of the meeting was a discussion about the usage of concrete and asphalt pavement with PennDOT and Turnpike. 

From the outset of his comments, Chuck emphasized the importance of competition, noting that inter-industry competition saves money for taxpayers and highway users in the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania Chapter President John Becker provided supporting remarks during the meeting. 

The full hearing can be viewed at: http://www.pahousegop.com/Video/Transportation.  The concrete pavement portion is in the video link marked ‘September 17th’ and appears between markers 40 to 85.  

In related news, some members of the Transportation Committee were among the industry members and other invited guests to participate in a reception on Monday of this week at the Federal Tap House in Harrisburg.  Chapter members had the opportunity to speak one-on-one about the concrete pavement industry, transportation funding and their individual company’s interests with Commonwealth legislators representing each  side of the aisle from both the House and Senate.  Leif Wathne of ACPA participated in the event on behalf of ACPA.

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NACA to Provide Comments on Climate Crisis

ACPA and other partners of the North American Concrete Alliance* will be providing comments to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.  

This collaborative effort will provide information representing the cement and concrete industry’s perspectives and positions on climate change and related matters. 

The U.S. House created this select committee to “investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, and innovations to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis, which will honor our responsibility to be good stewards of the planet for future generations.”

The committee has received recommendations from young climate leaders, policy specialists, business leaders, and state and local officials at meetings and hearings held in Washington, D.C., and around the country. To supplement its ongoing work, the committee officials sought additional detailed input from a broad range of stakeholders, including the cement and concrete industry.

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The North American Concrete Alliance is a coalition of 12 concrete-related associations formed in 2004 for the purpose of addressing industry-wide concerns & initiatives in the areas of research, safety, education, and government affairs. The coalition is comprised of the American Concrete Pavement Association, American Concrete Pipe Association, American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association, American Concrete Pumping Association, Concrete Foundations Association, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, National Concrete Masonry Association, National Precast Concrete Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Portland Cement Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, and Tilt-Up Concrete Association.

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News from Capitol Hill

This is the latest installment of highlights of PCA’s “This Week in Washington” update. 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!

  • Congressional leaders are negotiating to stop a government shutdown before October 1 by passing a continuing resolution (CR). The CR would likely extend current funding levels through mid-November.  The House may vote on a CR as early as this week. 
  • The House Highways and Transit Subcommittee held another hearing on reauthorizing the FAST Act, this time emphasizing congestion pricing. Congestion pricing is a way to raise additional revenue and to address concerns that a vehicle miles traveled fee could unfairly penalize rural residents. Democrats and Republicans raised concerns about this topic. Some Representatives used the hearing to express their support for moving forward with a long-term reauthorization bill. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04) emphasized the need for long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, along with updating underlying policies within the surface transportation program.
  •  The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a plan to split $1.3 trillion in discretionary sending for FY20 across 12 appropriations bills. For the bill that funds the Department of Transportation, the committee allocated $74.3 billion, which is $1.5 billion less than the bill passed by the House.

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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.

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