Tag Archives: FAST Act

Leaders Move to Block Rescission of Highway Contract Authority

House Democratic leaders on Tuesday released the text of a second fiscal year 2020 stopgap appropriations measure, with this CR expected to last from midnight November 21 to midnight December 20, according to Jeff Davis of The Eno Group. Aside from keeping the federal government operating at prorated FY 2019 levels past midnight Thursday (tomorrow), the legislation would repeal the $7.569 billion rescission of highway contract authority scheduled to take place on July 1, 2020, by section 1438 of the FAST Act.

Section 1702 of the draft bill states, “Section 1438 of the FAST Act (Public Law 114–94; 129 Stat. 1432) is repealed” and changes the FAST Act table of contents correspondingly. Title VIII of the bill also declares that neither the OMB nor the Senate shall score the budgetary effects of the bill on the “scorecard,” so any outlay consequences of the rescission repeal (if they are found to exist) will not be counted toward budget totals.

The provision of the bill repealing the rescission still violates several points of order under the Budget Act, as well as House and Senate budget rules, but the looming federal government shutdown affords House lawmakers the ability to “dare” opponents of the repeal to elevate the issue to the point where opposition of the appeal could result in a large-scale government shutdown.

In anticipation (and in strong opposition to) the rescission of the highway contract authority, the Transportation Construction Coalition, sent a letter to House Leadership last Friday strongly urging repeal of the rescission. The rescission of this contract authority, the Associations reasoned, would adversely impact all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Click here to see the letter.

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

ACPA Supports Interstate Renewal Plan

The ACPA Board of Directors approved a resolution in support of the recently released consensus report titled, “Renewing the National Commitment to the Interstate Highway System: A Foundation for the Future.”  

The report and plan within were the result of language in the FAST Act, which called for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to conduct a study on the actions needed to upgrade and restore the Interstate and Defense Highway System. 

From the study, an action plan was developed that includes 10 key recommendations to Congress, including innovative concepts and actionable measures that are favorable to state transportation agencies, taxpayers, highway users, and the transportation-construction industry.

One of the key points of the study suggests current spending levels are much too low, and that $45 to $70 billion are needed annually over the next 20 years to undertake the long-deferred rebuilding of pavements and bridges, as well as to accommodate and manage growing user demand. This figure applies to Interstate highways only and not the full Federal-aid highway system or other highways.  

The plan is seen as especially credible and valuable because of TRB’s world-class reputation in transportation research.  TRB is one of seven program units of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which provides independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conducts other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The oversight committee also adds credibility because it was led by 14 prominent professionals representing the public and private sectors and academia, including the Honorable Norman Mineta (former U.S Representative and Secretary of Transportation).

ACPA is hopeful that this well-crafted plan (in whole or in part) will inform the next transportation reauthorization legislation. Click here to see the ACPA resolution in support of this plan.

CP Tech Center Awarded FHWA Cooperative Agreement

The National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center) has received a cooperative agreement by the Federal Highway Administration.  The cooperative agreement was funded under the Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) program.

AID-PT was the result of a legislative provision championed by ACPA and first included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21).  The program was also included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), signed into law in December 2015.

AID-PT created both a mechanism and funding for the delivery of pavement technology for both the concrete- and asphalt-pavement industries. Since its inception, the program has resulted in benefits to the concrete pavement community, including other contracts and cooperative agreements with the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center), an ACPA Technology Partner.

AID-PT has had direct and tangible benefits for highway agencies, contractors, consultants, and academia. Concrete overlays and performance-engineered concrete mixtures (including the use of recycled concrete aggregates) are two technology initiatives that have received support in the form of outreach, education & training, and technology transfer.  Additional information about his cooperative agreement will be presented at ACPA’s 55th annual meeting next week.

Interested in other government affairs news?  Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

ACPA Urges Budget Committees to Help with Highway Trust Fund

Budget Committee Leaders (L-R) Sen. Mike Enzi, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Diane Black, and Rep. John Yarmuth. (Composite of official Senate and House photos.)

With two letters sent in early April, ACPA and other transportation advocates* urged the Leadership of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives’ budget committees to boost infrastructure investment “in a fiscally responsible manner,” while also finding a long-term, growth supporting revenue solution for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

The groups note that although the 2015 “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act provides “sufficient HTF to support the modest transportation investment increases it authorized through FY2020, it relies on $70 billion in transfers [from the General Fund of the Treasury] to achieve the goal.

Citing the Congressional Budget Office, the group warns, “There will be a nearly $20 billion average annual shortfall between existing revenue and the amount needed to prevent cuts in highway and public transportation once the FAST Act expires.”

The letters were sent to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); House Budget Chairman Diane Black (R-Tn.-06) and Ranking Member John Yarmuth (D-Ky.-03); and members of both committees.

Please click on the links to see the letters to the Senate budget committee and House budget committee.

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*  In addition to ACPA, other organizations to sign the letters were:  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Concrete Pipe Association, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Highway Users Alliance, American Iron and Steel Institute, American Public Transportation Association, American Public Works Association, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Traffic Safety Services Association, Americans for Transportation Mobility, Associated Equipment Distributors, Associated General Contractors of America, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.   Also, Building America’s Future, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute,  International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers’ International Union of North America, National Asphalt Pavement Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions, National Electrical Contractors Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, National Steel Bridge Alliance, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, and National Utility Contractors Association.   Also, People for Bikes – Business Network, Portland Cement Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, The Association of Union Constructors, Transportation Construction Coalition, and United States Chamber of Commerce.

TCC to Congress: Finalize Appropriations Quickly

ACPA and other members of the Transportation Construction Coalition* wasted no time in crafting a letter to urge the 115th Congress to “move expeditiously” to finalize FY 2017 appropriations for the U.S. Department of Transportation at the levels established by the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to allow full distribution to states of already authorized highway and transit funding.

The associations and trade unions sounded an alarm that a “lack of quick action undermines the ability of state departments of transportation to put their complete list of projects out to bid for the spring construction season.”

The groups also alerted legislators that an appropriation as part of a Continuing Resolution to fund the entire federal government at FY 2016 levels through the end of 2017 would result in a 2 percent reduction of funding levels for both highway and transit programs included in the FAST Act.

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*  The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) is a partnership of 31 national associations and construction unions representing hundreds of thousands of individuals with a direct market interest in federal transportation programs.

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