Government Affairs

HMG Letter Outlines Concerns About Aspects of PPP Loan Program

A letter from the Highway Materials Group expressed concerns about specific terms associated with loans under the CARES Act passed by Congress at the end of March.

Addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), the letter details three concerns: 

  • There is no clarity on how a firm demonstrates necessity in seeking a loan. Businesses applying for Paycheck Protection program (PPP) loans were required to certify in good faith that the uncertainty of economic conditions made the loan necessary for their business at the time they applied for it. Comments by public officials in the wake of revelations of publicly held companies receiving loans have left small businesses concerned that they may face penalties, despite acting in good faith. The letter says further assurances are needed for small businesses with loans above $2 million.
  • The tax deductibility of expenses paid with PPP funds. PPP loans were intended to cover payroll and limited business expenses like rent and mortgage obligations. Guidance issued by Treasury more than three weeks after SBA began accepting PPP loans indicated that business expenses previously considered tax deductible would not be so considered if paid for with PPP funds. The letter urges Congress to ensure this issue is resolved in future relief legislation.
  • Many small businesses are now uncertain how to use their PPP funds because of the ambiguities and complexities of the guidance. The level of guidance does not provide sufficient detail necessary for small businesses to proceed with any degree of certainty, and our members now fear SBA audits, fraud charges and bad publicity, despite acting in good faith from the start.
  • The HMG urges Congress to provide additional assurances that companies utilizing PPP loans, in the spirit in which they were intended, will not face penalties for failure to comply with retroactively imposed requirements.

Click here to see the complete letter.

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TCC to Host Virtual Washington Briefing

ACPA is encouraging members to circle this Thursday on your calendar and to make plans to participate in the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Virtual Washington Briefing tomorrow, May 21 from 11:15 to 1:00 p.m. (CDT) /12:15-2:00 p.m. (EDT).

For those interested in the event, we strongly urge you to register as soon as possible. Registration is free of charge for TCC members, including all member and affiliates of ACPA. Click here to register.

As we have reported previously, the TCC Fly-In was canceled earlier this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, to continue to provide useful and timely information about the prospects of infrastructure legislation as part of COVID-19 recovery efforts and the prospects of highway reauthorization this fall, TCC will present this virtual briefing in its place.

Featured presenters include:

  • Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (confirmed)
  • Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), Senate Environment & Public Works Committee (confirmed)
  • Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (confirmed)
  • Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee(invited)

Why is this event important now? The briefing from Congressional leaders will address the status of current pandemic relief and recovery efforts and infrastructure legislation in Congress, as well as the status of reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which expires Sept. 30.

Of course, an immediate infusion of $50 billion for state departments of transportation and an inclusion of a multi-year surface transportation bill, continue to be TCC’s main priorities.

For those interested in the event, we strongly urge you to register as soon as possible. Registration is free of charge for TCC members, including all member and affiliates of ACPA. Click here to register.

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


 

FMCSA Publishes Final Hours of Service Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the final Drivers Hours of Service Rule last Thursday.

The final rule allows truckers who drive short distances to drive up to 14 hours instead of 12 hours. In February 2019, ACPA successfully advocated for an exemption for concrete paving operations. Leif Wathne worked with ACPA contractors and led an effort to collect and report comments during the rulemaking period.

“Under the final rule, time spent loading and unloading a truck will be counted as breaks from driving,” says Jerry Voigt.

“Broadly speaking, we are very happy with the final rule as announced,” he says, adding, “While it did not create a uniform construction industry exemption that a coalition of industry groups—including ACPA—would have liked to see, the rule has essentially made permanent the 5-year exemptions ACPA was granted in February 2019.” Jerry’s commented on the rule in this week’s “3 Minutes on Monday,” our weekly video report to members.

Click here to see the video report for Monday, May 18. Click here to see the final HOS rule.

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Staff Productive During “Stay at Home” Order

As we approach nearly 70 days of work-at-home status, the ACPA national staff has been hard at work, strengthening the association and working on projects to support our members and promoters across the country. Here’s a snapshot view of some of these projects:

  • Redesigning our web site with more robust features for our thousands of web visitors.
  • “Scrubbing” our membership contact data to ensure we have the best information possible and replacing our Association Management System to improve our communications efforts.
  • Launching a new social media program with our chapters. (This new program will augment our on-going program and increase our reach through social media channels with positive industry and concrete paving messages.)
  • Reviewing contracts and coordinating discussions about a cooperative agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration and CP Tech Center to focus research and implementation of priority issues.
  • Continuing to answer the call when contractors or engineers need advice on specifications, construction, or design issues.
  • Supporting local chapter organization’s board and member meetings with national updates and strategic ideas. (Last week ACPA participated in virtual meetings of Illinois, Ohio, and Southeast Chapters.)

US House Releases Latest COVID-19 Relief Legislation

House Democrats on Tuesday released the text of a $3 trillion, phase four economic relief package, according to reporting by The American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA).

The HEROES Act includes $15 billion for grants to support the ongoing work of State, Tribal, and Territorial Departments of Transportation to mitigate the effects of coronavirus, including the salaries of staff and other administrative expenses.

A vote on the legislation is expected this Friday. Senate Republicans have favored pumping the brakes on future spending until the current relief packages have some time to take effect and will be unlikely to rush to take up the House bill, AHUA says. 

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