Government Affairs

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!

  • With the end of August recess, Members of Congress have returned for three weeks. Officially, there are 13 legislative days before the next recess period, although the Senate will meet for 15 days this month. Year to date, U.S. Senators have introduced 2,442 bills and taken 252 roll call votes, 16 of which have become law. In the lower chamber, U.S. Representatives have introduced 4,214 bills, taken 514 votes and enacted 40 of those into law. With issues such as the economy, trade wars, the Democratic Presidential Campaign, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), gun violence and natural disasters drawing attention away from legislative issues, it will be difficult to predict what business will be finished in the next three weeks.
  • The deadline every year to fund the federal government is September 30, so Congress will need to agree on either a short- or a long-term solution before the next recess. There are also 10 other legislative items that expire on the same date. Congress will also need to pass a defense authorization bill, which they have done every year since 1961. Lawmakers also should consider the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and two dozen tax breaks or “tax extenders” that expired at the start of 2018.
  • The PCA Government Affairs team moved into new offices at 200 Massachusetts Avenue, NW 200, 2nd Floor Washington, D.C. 20001. 

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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.

 

ACPA Joins Group in Supporting Infrastructure Investment

ACPA is signing on to support of a coalition effort to urge U.S. House and Senate Leaders to develop and pass a long-term, robustly funded surface transportation reauthorization bill. With the strength of more than 150 trade and labor organizations, the Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) will urge Congress to develop and pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill ahead of the September 30, 2020, deadline. 

The IWG works to inform and persuade Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation that addresses several priorities:

  • Significantly increase direct federal investments in a broad range of infrastructure sectors,
  • Fix chronic challenges and addresses reoccurring shortages in key federal infrastructure accounts such as the Highway Trust Fund,
  • Complement and strengthen existing tools, such as municipal bonds, that successfully deliver infrastructure investments at the federal, state and local levels,
  • Facilitate opportunities for private investment in U.S. infrastructure, 
  • Create efficiencies such as accelerating the federal permitting process, while continuing to provide environmental protections, and 
  • Encourages active participation among all levels of government and between public and private sectors without shifting federal responsibilities because no single partner can deliver a well-functioning, national U.S. infrastructure network driven by a long-term vision and funding stability.

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

Tech Brief Covers CRC Design Optimization

The FHWA released an 8-page tech brief covering design optimization for continuously reinforced concrete pavements (CRCP). 

Authored by Dr. Shiraz Tayabji, Advanced Concrete Pavement Consultancy LLC, and Mike Plei, a Pavement Engineering Consultant, the publication begins with an overview of CRCP technology, including benefits including the potential to provide “zero maintenance” with proper design and construction. 

The publication, “Optimized Design Details for Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavements” (FHWA-HIF-19-066), then provides guidance on optimizing several key design features including:

  • Simplified details for terminal ends,
  • Improved transverse construction joint detail,
  • Shoulder type, and
  • Concrete slab/base interface.

The publication is based on information included in the previously cited references and recent refinements implemented in the field.  Click here to download a copy. 

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!

  • The Congressional Budget Office last week released an annual update to the 10-year Budget and Economic Outlook. The report shows little change in the forecast of the Highway Trust Fund. Spending levels are expected to be about ~$1.9 billion lower each year as a result of lower  annual inflation anticipated for the 10-year forecast window.
  • Congress continues its August recess through September 6.  During this time, many U.S. Senators and Representatives are spending some or most of their time in their home states and districts.  Both the House and Senate are scheduled to be in session on September 9.

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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.

 

ACPA Contractors Respond to Proposed HOS Changes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is advancing a proposal that “modernizes current hours of service (HOS) regulations,” according to Ray Martinez, FMCSA Administrator.  He adds these changes were based on feedback from stakeholders and advanced by the U.S. DOT and the Trump Administration.  Five proposed modifications, he says, are aimed at improving safety and providing commercial drivers with greater flexibility.

Here’s what ACPA contractors had to say about the proposed modifications:

“This proposed rule changes continue the common-sense rule changes championed last year by the ACPA for trucks hauling batched concrete from the plant,” says David Howard, P.E., President & CEO of Koss Construction Co. (and 2nd Vice Chairman of the ACPA Board of Directors).  “In construction, and in the paving business in particular, interruptions in production happen and rule changes–like the proposed 30-minute break requirement being modified to qualify the drivers using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off duty status, for break times–help our people tremendously.”

Northern Improvement Co. adds, “The most exciting thing is the 100 miles to 150 air miles while crossing state lines.  Right now, we can only go 150 air miles if we stay in state. It is good that [the FMCSA is] looking at the 14 hour day–that is huge!  I hope they continue with the ‘short haul exemption’ with the proviso that no e-logs will be required.” 

FMCSA on Monday formally published the notice of rulemaking, which signals the beginning of an open comment period.  ACPA encourages members who may be impacted by the proposed modifications to comment. Comments may be added online at: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FMCSA-2018-0248-5400

The five proposed modifications include:

  • A change to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
  • Modifying the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • Increasing flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to 8 hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes. The change also would allow the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty. 
  • Modifying the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10-hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
  • Allowing one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours; this would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, as long as the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

For more information, please click here to view HOS page prepared by the FMCA. 

As reported previously, ACPA previously requested exemptions to the HOS regulations.  The effort was led by ACPA staff, along the support of Association members, non-members, and AGC and ARTBA.  FMCSA granted two exemptions based on that request.  Click here to read the story (ACPA TODAY, Feb. 5).
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Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

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