Tag Archive for 'American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)'

ARTBA Issues Statement on House Passage of Infrastructure Bill

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Dave Bauer issued the following statement about House passage of the Moving Forward Act:
 
“The nation’s economic recovery post-coronavirus would receive a huge long-term boost with the passage of a robust surface transportation investment bill.
 
“We commend the House for taking a positive step in that direction with its July 1 approval of The Moving Forward Act.
 
“The last thing states need during tumultuous times is more uncertainty about their share of federal highway and public transit funding.  Short-term program extensions are not the solution and would only add insult to injury.
 
“We urge the Senate to move forward quickly on its version of a multi-year reauthorization bill.  Final bicameral action is imperative before the current FAST Act law expires Sept. 30.”
 
 
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) brings together all facets of the transportation construction industry to responsibly advocate for infrastructure investment and policy that meet the nation’s need for safe and efficient travel.  ARTBA also offers value-added programs and services providing its members with a competitive edge.

For more information visit: www.artba.org
 

House Committee Approves Multi-Year Transportation Bill

By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA

The House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee June 18 approved in a party-line vote legislation to reauthorize the nation’s surface transportation programs.

The Investing in a New Vision for the Environment & Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act would authorize $494 billion over five years, including $309 billion for highways (a 42 percent increase over current levels) and $105 billion (72 percent increase) for the public transit program.

T&I Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said the bill “is exactly the kind of investment we need to create jobs and help our economy recover from the current pandemic.”

The measure emphasizes “state of good repair” and “fix-It-first” approaches, rather than new construction. It creates several new discretionary grant programs and adds programs to address resilience and climate change. 

ARTBA’s government relations team has compiled a comprehensive 10-page analysis that provides more details about key provisions in the 928-page bill.

The bill was drafted without Republican input. In response, the party’s T&I Committee members released their own legislation, the Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology & Efficient Review (STARTER) Act. The plan proposed a narrower view of surface transportation needs, maintaining existing funding levels, and adding policies to streamline operations and provide states with more flexibility. It was defeated on a party-line vote.

T&I Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.) lamented the lack of bipartisanship he said had been present for the past five federal surface transportation laws. 

“Ultimately, this bill is a costly, seismic shift in our transportation programs, at an incredibly uncertain time when no one knows whether COVID-19 will alter the way people get around,” Graves said. He also criticized the measure for not being paid for and noted “…to pay for it with the gas tax, we’d have to double it at a time when so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet because of the pandemic.”

Bill Amendments

Nearly 200 amendments were considered during the marathon two-day markup. ARTBA sent a five-page letter to all committee members sharing the industry’s views on 36 of them.  The association’s government affairs team also engaged committee members and staff throughout the deliberations on a wide variety of amendments that would directly impact the construction market, including “Hours of Service, “local hire” preferences, and “Buy America” rules.

Among the notable adopted amendments: 

  • Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio): Repealing “fiscal constraint” requirements, an ARTBA priority, which would allow better long-term planning by state departments of transportation.
  • Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.): Allowing states to conduct their own environmental reviews, as opposed to under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
  • Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.): Prioritizing COVID-19 support for testing and prevention for critical transportation personnel.

The full House is expected to consider the bill the week of June 29.  It will likely be incorporated into a broader Democratic infrastructure package— the “Moving Forward Act,” which includes water, broadband, school construction and other infrastructure investments.

For more detailed information please click on the following links

ARTBA President Dave Bauer’s Statement

ARTBA’s Detailed Bill Analysis

Federal Court’s Slap-Down of Proposed Workplace Mandate Helps Industry Protect Workers, ARTBA Says

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is entitled to “considerable deference” in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a June 11 federal appeals court decision. The ruling assures that the transportation construction industry is free to use proven workplace best practices to protect its workers, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).
 
The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with ARTBA’s position and denied an attempt to require the federal government to impose a single, rigid emergency standard for coping with COVID-19. 
 
The ruling quickly turned away a request by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to compel OSHA to force implementation of a universal safety standard.  Specifically, these organizations wanted OSHA to implement within 30 days a universal “emergency temporary standard” for infectious diseases which would cover all employees and all industries in response to the current pandemic. 
 
ARTBA, in a filing made less than two weeks ago with other industry allies, urged the court not to grant the request because workers are better protected from the virus by construction industry best practices rather than a rigid “one-size-fits-all” regulation.  The brief detailed why a uniform standard is misguided, explaining that “guidance on how to maintain the spread of COVID-19 in the aviation industry would naturally be quite different from guidance directed at the banking industry, or the construction industry.”
 
The court agreed, stating “[i]n light of the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the regulatory tools that the OSHA has at its disposal to ensure that employers are maintaining hazard-free work environments… the OSHA reasonably determined that an [emergency standard] is not necessary at this time.”
 
Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.

ARTBA Issues Statement on House “INVEST in America” Act

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has released the “INVEST in America Act,” a surface transportation legislative proposal that calls for spending $494 billion over five-years to repair the nation’s roads, bridges, rail and public transportation systems. Please attribute the following statement to American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Dave Bauer.
 
“If America can put astronauts back in space for the first time in nearly a decade with a little help from the private sector, surely we can do something similar to modernize our aging transportation network.
 
“With the most severe economic disruption since the Great Depression and continuity of state transportation improvement programs in doubt, the case for Congress to deliver a robustly funded infrastructure bill has never been stronger.  
 
“The transportation construction industry, in partnership with public agency officials, is ready to rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges and public transit systems.
 
“The release of the House bill complements efforts already underway in the Senate.  The FAST Act transportation law expires in less than 120 days.  It’s time to hit the gas on the legislative process to ensure that infrastructure investment springboards economic recovery.”
 
Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.
 For more information visit www.artba.org

Multi-Year Highway & Transit Bill an Elixir for Ailing U.S. Economy, ARTBA Chairman Tells Senate Committee

A long-term federal transportation infrastructure investment bill will help drive the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chairman Steve McGough said in June 4 testimony before the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee.

McGough, the president and chief financial officer of HCSS, a Houston-based national construction software company, said a recent forecast from the Congressional Budget Office that it could take a decade for the U.S. economy to recover from the coronavirus was sobering.  

McGough added one-time infusions of federal transportation investment and shovel-ready projects were not the solutions to America’s unprecedented economic challenges.

“While transportation infrastructure improvements have positive job and salary impacts, the real value comes from putting in place long-term assets that increase the efficiency and productivity for the entire economy,” McGough said.

McGough voiced the association’s support for the EPW Committee’s July 2019 unanimously approved America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), a proposal to increase highway investment by 27 percent over the next five years.  ATIA also includes positive reforms to expedite the delivery of needed infrastructure improvements and maximize the impacts of federal resources. 

During his testimony, the ARTBA chairman announced the creation of a new ARTBA Highway Dashboard: A 50-State Guide to the Benefits of Federal Investment,” an interactive tool that highlights the program’s outcomes at the national and state levels.  Using Federal Highway Administration data, it features each state’s top-10 federal-aid projects, the total number of projects and the type of improvements advanced in a given year.

ARTBA says the dashboard will increase transparency and better highlight what could be achieved with a robust, multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.

McGough concluded: “We urge the other Senate committees with respective jurisdiction over their portions of the transportation programs to act quickly in order to facilitate final passage of America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act.”

Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.