Government Affairs

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.

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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.

Road Gang Meeting Report

The recent Road Gang luncheon featured a conversation with Ed Mortimer, Vice President of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  

Ed talked about the Chamber’s support for a 25-cent motor-fuels tax increase and how the Chamber arrived at the point of supporting a fuel tax increase. He also spoke about the Chamber’s efforts to keep up the momentum and ensure optimism that Congress will take action this cycle.  

He also described how U.S. House T&I Committee Chairman Peter DaFazio (D-OR-04) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01) have engaged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) to encourage meeting with President Trump to restart conversations about an infrastructure bill.  Mortimer also says Chamber members have stated clearly their goal of pushing for an infrastructure bill. 

Ed also spoke about a new ad campaign launched last week by the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) coalition.  The campaign is aimed at persuading Congress and the Trump Administration to act this year in support of a permanent Highway Trust Fund (HTF) fix and a new transportation infrastructure package.

A social media campaign, which uses “Conversation Cards,” targets the messaging to the Twitter followers of dozens of key members of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees.  The effort is complemented by digital and Twitter ads aimed at members of Congress, their staffs and other D.C. policymakers.  The campaign is also supported by an opinion editorial in POLITICO.

Leif Wathne represents ACPA on the Road Gang and participated in the luncheon.  In related news, Katy Hartnett, PCA Director of Government Affairs has been accepted as a member of the Road Gang, following a nomination by Leif.

The Road Gang is an informal group of business and government executives, highway engineers and consultants, press and public relations specialists, company representatives and trade association officials from the highway transportation industry in the Washington, D.C. area. The Road Gang serves the dual purpose of promoting fellowship and providing for the interchange of ideas among “Washington’s Transportation Fraternity.”

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

Meeting Highlights Benefits of Resilient Construction

A meeting hosted on Capitol Hill last week drew attention to the growing importance of resilient construction. “On the Front Lines of Flooding: Local Perspectives on Adaptation and Resilience,” included speakers from Texas, Louisiana and the DC-metropolitan area to discuss this important and timely issue. 

Hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the American Flood Coalition the discussion centered on the local responses to increased flooding and storm surges.

“The meeting draws sharp focus to the inherent benefits concrete pavements and other concrete structures impart to municipalities and other government agencies dealing with flooding and other disasters throughout the United States,” says Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President. 

ACPA is continuing to study this issue with the aim of developing and delivering useful resources on resilient construction using concrete pavements to members, chapters, and roadbuilding agency customers. 

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

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