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  • Thu, March 14, 2019 3:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The multi-year PLO coalition of design and construction organizations has once again raised the banner to resist mandatory federal policy on project labor agreements, that endorses a one-size fits all approach to this complex matter.  The coalition, which CIRT is a member, has been active in the past few weeks signaling to the President its opposition to mandatory, or presumptive use of, PLOs on all federal projects (even potentially federally funded projects), consist with it long held views on the subject (see, letter to POTUS).  In addition, a coalition letter in support of the introduction of the “Fair and Open Competition Act” (bill numbers TBD) by Rep. Ted Budd (NC) and Sen. Todd Young (IN); is being drafted for distribution to key Congressional members. (Link to bill details here).

    The new legislative vehicle (only 7-pages) is the same as the coalition supported bill against government-mandated project labor agreements introduced in the last Congress (which had more than 100 cosponsors and was reported out favorably by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – when it was chaired by the Republicans at the time). 

  • Fri, March 08, 2019 3:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    While infrastructure remains a central bipartisan goal, with the House Democrats vowing to introduce legislation in the coming weeks; the long sort after illusive consensus on how to pay for the package is lacking at this time. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told Bloomberg BNA this week: “[W]hile everybody wants to invest in infrastructure, it is more problematic from many perspectives of how you pay for that.”

    The Democrat led effort wants a “traditional” funding plan that is likely to include more federal spending than the one put forth by President Trump; with groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Society of Civil Engineers endorsing a hike in the gas tax by 25 cents over the next five years. Whereas, the President and his Republican allies in Congress favor a variety of alternative funding approaches that include: states, localities, and the private sector supplying most of the $1.5 trillion cost for building new roads, bridges and other public works projects. This approach would include a more modest federal expenditure of some $200 billion over a decade in support of the alternative spending sources and levels.

    Aside from the funding mechanism, Democrats are likely to want an infrastructure bill to include other more controversial provisions that promote clean energy and combat climate change, which could also be a non-starter for President Trump and Republican lawmakers.

  • Mon, March 04, 2019 4:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Next week, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on (H.R. 1),  a piece of legislation that critics contend will likely “gut free speech and advocacy rights.”  CIRT has joined a coalition of organizations including the U.S. Chamber, to voice fundamental constitutional and election advocacy concerns regarding this piece of legislation.  (View a fact sheet on H.R. 1 by clicking here & the Coalition Letter here.)

    The disingenuously named “For the People Act of 2019 takes the worst ideas out of past discredited proposals like the DISCLOSE Act, and builds upon them, such as:

    • imposes new regulations on political speech by all Americans – especially by businesses and business organizations,
    • federalizes many aspects of election law currently under the jurisdiction of states, and
    • makes significant changes to the rules surrounding lobbying and advocacy.

    CIRT is opposed to the imposition of these unnecessary and highly corrosive effects on free speech, especially political speech, which is the most sacred under the constitution.

  • Fri, February 08, 2019 1:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In an op-ed penned by Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, she reiterates the vital nature of a robust modern infrastructure in the United States, saying in part “infrastructure is an issue that has potential for bipartisan consensus in Washington. Leaders in both parties recognize that infrastructure needs to be a priority.”  With that the Secretary commits the President to this matter saying the “Trump administration stands ready to help get this job done, for Americans today and for the generations to come.”

    The scope of our infrastructure needs, (beyond the obvious roads, bridges, tunnels, and other modes of transport) includes such disperse challenges as “seaports and inland waterways essential for commerce,  . . . ” as well as electric grids, pipelines, and a myriad of other assets. The Secretary noting that: “President Trump also believes our country must invest in cutting-edge technologies that promise to shape our world for years to come, such as a secure 5G network, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and rural broadband.”  The failure to do “anything” is shark, insufficient or failing infrastructure can impede our economic growth, while impacting the quality of life enjoyed by all Americans.

    But, the challenge is not just finding sufficient funding, it also includes addressing : “Government red tape delays, and sometimes denies, needed infrastructure improvements. The Trump administration is committed to streamlining government permitting and approval processes so that infrastructure projects can be delivered more quickly.”

    Fortunately, there seems to be little doubt, that: “[t]here is considerable interest on both sides of the aisle in considering infrastructure legislation in the coming year.”

    For a full version of Secretary Chao’s op-ed go to: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/transportation-secretary-chao-dems-and-gop-should-join-with-trump-to-fund-infrastructure-improvements

  • Wed, November 14, 2018 5:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the results of the mid-terms mostly determined, one initiative that appears to have moved front and center is a national infrastructure effort.  Both likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump have highlighted this area as possible ground where the two political sides could find common cause. Obviously, any measure would have to maneuver through a mine-field of compromises; both as to price tag (between $500 to $200 billion), and policy issues such as providing incentives for state and local governments to identify additional revenue sources and methods.  Already discussed by the Department of Transportation during 2018 are such approaches as: incentive grants; reforms to make it easier to use long-term public private partnerships (P-3s); and even use of a fairly new concept called “asset recycling.” [A new Reason Foundation policy study provides an introduction to infrastructure asset recycling concept, and how it may serve as way to leverage value infrastructure assets for future needs].

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