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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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The 18th Annual NASHTU Conference — Another Great Success!

The 18th Annual NASHTU Conference was another great success!  Held on April 24th-26th in Washington D.C., participants heard from various Members of  the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO).  Other House Speakers included Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Jeff Denham (R-CA), and Don Young (R-AK). We also had multiple Members of Congress attend and speak at our evening Capitol reception.

Panel presentations included key staff members from the Senate Environment and Public Works and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, and reporters from the Washington Post, Politico, and Transport Topics. State and federal government officials from Maryland, Virginia, and California, as well as AASHTO weighed in on the projected outlook for federal transportation funding.  We heard reports on recent labor victories in Alaska and New Hampshire, and recommendations from legal and political staff at AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the Economic Policy Institute, and SEIU on how to best prepare for labor fights to come.

Thank you to those of you that attended.  For those of you who missed it, we hope to see you next year! Pictures, proceedings, and details for the 2018 Conference will be posted on the NASHTU website soon.  Stay tuned for next year’s conference dates!


NASHTU Notes

Trump Budget Protects FAST Act Funding Levels – for Now

There were some clear winners and losers among federal transportation funding stakeholders with the release of the President’s 2018 federal budget.

In the winner’s column are states dependent on the federal government for billions in highway funding each year.  The budget honors the amount authorized (just over $45 billion) to be expended from the Highway Trust Fund in 2018 and, in fact, fully funds the HTF through 2021, as proposed in the last highway bill (the FAST Act).  Unfortunately, the plan offers no long-term fix after 2021, when the HTF will face annual nearly $20 billion deficits if it is to maintain current funding levels.

Other winners include multi-national banks and construction and engineering giants who peddle public-private partnerships for profit around the world.  The budget roll out included a separate write up on the Trump $1 trillion infrastructure package.   As has been floated before, it proposes to funnel $200 billion of what is described as “new Federal funding and incentivized non-Federal funding” over 10 years, with the goal of creating $1 trillion worth of P3 investments.

While the initiative proposal runs 6-pages, there are still no details on how the infrastructure initiative would actually work, though it is clear that it extends to all types of projects, not just transportation.   Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the administration expects to have more details soon and a legislative package later this year.

Of course, elsewhere in the proposed budget, the president also calls for deep cuts – $2.4 billion or 13 percent — in discretionary transportation programs in 2018.  The biggest losers included transit agencies ($928 million cut in construction funding), Amtrak ($630 million cut to end operating subsidies), and the elimination of the TIGER grant program (saving $499 million).  It was set up by the Obama administration to provide an extra injection of cash for surface transportation projects during the recession.

Of course all of these things are just proposals, a look into the Administration’s wish list and priorities.  Congress will no doubt make clear its own priorities and objectives in the days and weeks ahead.


2017 NASHTU Conference – New Venue, Earlier Date

NASHTU’s Annual Conference will move to a new venue in 2017 – the Washington Court Hotel in Washington D.C.  It is just down the street from the Hyatt (which could not accommodate us in 2017) and is a first-rate hotel.  The conference will be held Monday, April 24 through Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

At the 2017 conference, we will continue to advocate NASHTU’s priorities:

  • Require state and local departments of transportation to perform cost-benefit analyses prior to outsourcing
  • Ensure public safety by requiring public employees to perform the construction inspection on federally funded transportation projects
  • Oppose efforts that seek to mandate or incentivize the use of outsourcing on transportation projects

The NASHTU conference will also feature key Members of Congress and transportation policy experts.  In addition, we will have many informative panels on outsourcing schemes and issues affecting public sector labor unions.

NASHTU has secured a special room rate of $349 per night for the conference.  The hotel has also agreed to honor the group rate for the Saturday prior to our conference and Wednesday, April 26, based on hotel availability.  If you are planning to stay those nights, please make your reservations as soon as possible.  To make reservations, please call the Washington Court Reservations Department at 1 (800) 321-3010.

If you have any suggestions for speakers, panel topics, or interesting subjects for the conference, please let us know.


HR 1692: Ensuring Safety, Efficiency and Accountability on Transportation Projects

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), has introduced legislation that requires public employees to perform the construction inspection on federally funded state and local transportation projects.  NASHTU has advocated for public inspection on transportation projects for many years.

The Safety, Efficiency, and Accountability in Transportation Projects through Public Inspection Act of 2015 (HR 1692) will ensure that public safety is protected, transportation funds are not wasted, and that projects are delivered in a timely manner.

On transportation projects, construction inspectors are the eyes, ears, and voice of the public.  Public inspectors ensure that construction standards are met, that projects meet safety requirements, and that the materials used will stand the test of time.

Please help generate support for this bill by personalizing and sending a co-sponsorship request letter to the members of your state’s congressional delegation.

To ensure the timely receipt of the letter, we would suggest that you e-mail the letter, fact sheet and disaster examples to the Legislative Directors of the Members of Congress.


News Stories

Senate passes gas tax for road fund, but governor vows veto – The New Mexico Senate, hoping to improve state roads and rebuild cash reserves, approved a bill Thursday that would increase the state gasoline tax for the first time in more than 20 years. But the bill has little chance of becoming law. – Bruce Krasnow for The Santa Fe New Mexican – March 2, 2017

Scott Walker: State should find transportation savings in changing road use trends – Transportation officials should not only look for more efficient ways to complete roads projects, but also look at road use trends to modify future plans, Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday. “We want to make sure that we’re using every dollar wisely,” Walker told reporters after speaking at a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce event in Madison. –  Jessie Opoien for The Capital Times – March 2, 2017

Gov. Doug Ducey sends roads wish list to Trump administration, vows no gas-tax hike – Unwilling to consider a gas-tax increase, Gov. Doug Ducey is now counting on the Trump administration to help Arizona deal with its road construction needs. Or at least a small percentage of them. – Howard Fischer for Arizona Daily Star – March 2, 2017