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The National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU) is dedicated to ensuring that federal transportation dollars are spent on cost-effective, safe projects that serve the public interest. NASHTU is comprised of 38 unions and associations representing hundreds of thousands of state and locally employed transportation engineers, construction managers and inspectors, technical workers and related public servants from throughout the United States.

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August 13, 2019

Senate EPW Committee Passes $287 Billion Authorization Bill

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, prior to leaving for the August recess, unanimously passed its surface transportation authorization bill out of committee.  The authorization, dubbed America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, is significant because it authorizes 28% more funding than its predecessor, the FAST Act, which expires in September 2020.  The authorization is also the first transportation bill to acknowledge climate change, according to an article in the Washington Post.

Importantly, the EPW bill does not include mandates or incentives to outsource highway engineering work, as has been attempted in previous authorizations.  The bill also has some positive language on reining in public-private partnerships.  While it doesn’t go as far as it should, it does call for a more detailed value-for-money analysis prior to awarding a P3 contract and requires the public sponsor to conduct a review of the P3 to ensure that the private consultants are meeting the terms of the agreement.

On climate, the bill calls for $10 billion to reduce emissions and increase the resilience of infrastructure in the face of sea-level rise and climate change.  In a quote to the Washington Post, Senate EPW Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) said, “We know that the cars, trucks and vans that we drive have now become our nation’s largest source of global warming pollution… these emissions accelerate and exacerbate the effect of climate change, contributing to the increasingly extreme weather events that contribute significantly to the degradation of our roadways and bridges.”

The committee did not identify any new sources of revenue that would be required to meet the funding levels established in the bill.  Identifying the source of funding for the surface transportation authorization falls under the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee.

Read more in the Washington Post.

NASHTU 2019 Conference a Great Success – See you at the 21st Annual Conference Spring 2020!

The 20th Annual National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU) Conference was held June 24-26, 2019 in Washington D.C.  NASHTU conference attendees heard from congressional transportation leaders including Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), the Ranking Republican of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee.  NASHTU conference participants also heard remarks from EPW Member Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and House T&I Committee Member Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA).

On the Tuesday afternoon of the conference, NASHTU members had the opportunity to meet with their state’s congressional delegation and advocate NASHTU’s legislative priorities including increased transportation funding and limiting outsourcing of transportation services on federally funded transportation projects.  That evening, NASHTU hosted a well-attended Congressional Reception that included several Members of Congress and dozens of congressional staff members.

The three-day conference also included many informative panels and presentations on transportation funding, public-private partnerships and other outsourcing schemes, upcoming legislative battles, labor issues, and other topics of interest.

In the coming weeks, NASHTU will be posting proceedings, photos, and some of the presentations of the 2019 conference on our website at www.nashtu.us.  Please make a plan to participate in NASHTU’s 21st Annual Conference next spring – a date will follow soon.