VOLUME 15, ISSUE 11
2018 Election Results Mean Big Changes on Key House Infrastructure Committees
The dust from the 2018 midterm elections has all but settled and most race results are in. Here are some perspectives on what the outcome means for our industry and the leadership of key infrastructure committees on Capitol Hill next year.
Freshman Class Creates Risks, Opportunities
At a macro level, one of the most important storylines about the elections is the number of new members of Congress. There are 435 members of House of Representatives and 100 senators. Of those 535 members of Congress, approximately 100 will be new in the job when the 116th Congress convenes in January. (Click here for an interactive tool breaking down the demographics of the freshman class.) Educating all those newbies (and their roughly 1,000 new staffers!) about our industry and America’s infrastructure needs will be a massive challenge.
In the weeks and months ahead, ACPPA and its allies in the North American Concrete Alliance will be wearing out the shoe leather on Capitol Hill to introduce the industry. We urge association members to also engage aggressively to shape the way these new lawmakers think about infrastructure and manufacturing while they’re still fresh to the job. Failure to do so may lead to missed opportunities and bad policy. But if we engage successfully, we can build productive relationships on both sides of the aisle to achieve beneficial policy goals.
New T&I Chair Will Make Infrastructure a Top Priority
With the Democrats capturing the House, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is slated as the next chairman of the Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, which has jurisdiction over surface transportation, sewers and aviation. DeFazio is an unabashed infrastructure champion and is expected to be a strong voice for more construction funding over the next two years. Significantly, he’ll be in the driver’s seat as Congress works to reauthorize the federal highway program, which expires on Sept. 30, 2020.
DeFazio’s challenge will be working with House Ways & Means Committee leaders to identify new revenue sources to make up the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund (the gas tax and other existing revenue streams only generate about two-thirds of what’s need to support current spending). Another key player in that effort will be Rep. Richard Blumenauer (D-Ore.) who is perhaps the House’s strongest infrastructure advocate. A long-time Ways & Means member, Blumenauer is urging the creation of a new subcommittee to focus on infrastructure investment (which he would presumably chair).
On the Republican side of the aisle, as Actionline went to press, word had just come down from Capitol Hill that Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) had been elected by the GOP conference as the T&I Committee’s ranking member. Graves replaces the former senior Republican Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Penn.) who had served as the committee’s chairman for the past six years. Because the Republican conference limits committee chairman terms to six years, Shuster decided not to seek reelection and to retire at the end of the current Congress. Graves has served in various leadership positions on T&I during the course of his 18 years in Congress and is highly respected by his peers. He’s expected to be an important and effective partner for DeFazio.
|The New NACA website is your go-to resource for cement and concrete-related public policy information, including briefing papers, letters to Congress, and even a recording of our recent post-election Webinar. The visit the website, click the go to www.northamericanconcretealliance.org.|
Incoming Energy & Commerce Leaders Are Drinking Water Infrastructure Supporters
The next chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over drinking water, is expected to by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) Pallone is a strong infrastructure backer and was a driving force behind the enactment of America’s Water Infrastructure Act earlier this year (see Oct. 2018 edition of Actionline.) Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) is expect to chair Energy & Commerce’s environment subcommittee. Tonko’s official House website says that, “[u]pdating our aging and broken infrastructure above and below ground is [his] top priority in Congress.” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who has served as Energy & Commerce chairman for the past two years is expected to remain as the committee’s ranking Republican in the next Congress.
Senate EPW Leadership Will Remain Unchanged
Because Republicans kept control of the Senate, we don’t expect to see any changes at the top of the Environment & Public Works Committee. Sen. John Barroso (R-Wyo.) will serve as chairman and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) will serve as ranking member. The two have an excellent track record of working together on infrastructure having most recently shepherded America’s Water Infrastructure Act through the Senate.
If you want to learn more about what the election results mean for our industry, check out the post-election webinar NACA hosted on Nov. 6 (featuring, among others, ACPPA’s very own Christian Klein). The webinar is available on NACA’s new website at www.northamericanconcretealliance.org/2018/11/09/2018-election-debrief.
EPA Invites 39 Projects to Apply for WIFIA Loans
to Finance $10 Billion in Water Infrastructure Upgrades
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting 39 projects in 16 states and Washington, D.C. to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. Together, the selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5 billion to help finance more than $10 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 155,000 jobs.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 and recently reauthorized by Congress, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA that provides long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. To date, EPA has issued more than $1 billion in WIFIA credit assistance. Given the need to find new resources to close the nation’s $743 billion water infrastructure investment gap, ACPPA has made ensuring WIFIA’s success a top priority.
EPA’s WIFIA loans will allow large and small communities across the country to implement projects to address two national water priorities – providing for clean and safe drinking water including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants and addressing aging water infrastructure.
The agency received 62 letters of interest from both public and private entities in response to the 2018 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). The WIFIA Selection Committee ultimately chose the following 39 prospective borrowers’ projects to submit applications for loans:
- City of Phoenix; Water Main Replacement Program; $49 million (Arizona)
- San Mateo-Foster City Public Financing Authority; San Mateo Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade and Expansion Project; $277 million (California)
- Coachella Valley Water District; Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel Improvement Project; $22 million (California)
- Poseidon Resources (Channelside) LP; Carlsbad Intake Project; $32 million (California)
- City of Stockton Public Financing Authority; Regional Wastewater Control Facility Modifications Project; $53 million (California)
- Silicon Valley Clean Water; SVCW RESCU; $181 million (California)
- City of Sunnyvale; Sunnyvale Cleanwater Program Phase 2; $166 million (California)
- San Juan Water District; Hinkle and Kokila Reservoir Rehabilitation and Replacement; $12 million (California)
- City of Los Angeles; Donald C. Tillman Advanced Water Purification Facility; $185 million (California)
- Inland Empire Utilities Agency; RP-5 Expansion Project; $138 million (California)
- Sanitation District No. 2 of Los Angeles County; Joint Water Pollution Control Plant Effluent Outfall Tunnel; $426 million (California)
- City of Antioch; Brackish Water Desalination Project; $32 million (California)
- Coachella Valley Water District; North Indio Regional Flood Control Project; $29 million (California)
- District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority; Comprehensive Infrastructure Repair, Rehabilitation and Replacement Program; $144 million (District of Columbia)
- Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority; Florida Keys Imperiled Water Supply Rehabilitation; $45 million (Florida)
- North Miami Beach Water; NMB Water Regional Potable Water Improvements; $62 million (Florida)
- Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department; Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Electrical Distribution Building Upgrade; $343 million (Florida)
- Tohopekaliga Water Authority; Accelerated Gravity Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation Project; $32 million (Florida)
- Pinellas County Utilities; Water Reclamation Facility Improvements; $13 million (Florida)
- DeKalb County Government; Priority Areas Sewer Assessment & Rehabilitation Program (PASARP) Consent Decree Packages; $251 million (Georgia)
- City of Atlanta; North Fork Peachtree Creek Tank and Pump Station; $55 million (Georgia)
- City of Wichita; Northwest Water Treatment Facility (NWWTF); $270 million (Kansas)
- City of Frontenac; Water Supply, Treatment, Distribution and Storage Improvements and Additions; $5 million (Kansas)
- Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District; Upper Middle Fork Pump Station (UMFPS); $44 million (Kentucky)
- Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District; Ohio River Flood Protection Pump Station Capacity Upgrade; $118 million (Kentucky)
- Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District; Morris Forman Biosolids Processing Solution; $88 million (Kentucky)
- American Water Capital Corporation; St. Louis Area Water Main Replacement and Lead Abatement Program; $84 million (Missouri)
- Kansas City Missouri Water Services Department; Blue River WWTP Biosolids Facility Project; $51 million (Missouri)
- American Water Capital Corp. (AWCC)-Joplin; Joplin Water Supply Reservoir – Joplin, Missouri; $103 million (Missouri)
- City of Cortland; City of Cortland Clinton Avenue Gateway Project; $9 million (New York)
- Monroe County; Frank E. Van Lare Secondary Treatment Upgrades; $15 million (New York)
- Brunswick County; Northwest Water Treatment Plant 36 MGD Improvements Project; $74 million; (North Carolina)
- Enid Municipal Authority; Enid KLWS Pipeline; $53 million (Oklahoma)
- City of Hillsboro and Tualatin Valley Water District; Willamette Water Supply Program (WWSP); $617 million (Oregon)
- City of Lancaster; Sewer System Improvements; $22 million (Pennsylvania)
- Narragansett Bay Commission; CSO Phase III Facilities; $251 million (Rhode Island)
- City of Memphis; T.E. Maxson Wastewater Treatment Facility Process and Biosolids Upgrades Program; $144 million (Tennessee)
- City of Seattle; Ship Canal Water Quality Project; $197 million (Washington)
- City of Waukesha Water Utility; Great Lakes Water Supply Project (Great Water Alliance [GWA] Program); $116 million (Wisconsin)
To learn more about the 39 projects that are invited to apply, visit www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects.
For more information about the WIFIA program in general, visit www.epa.gov/wifia.
Mark Your Calendar for NACA’s 2019 Fly-In
ACPPA is a leading member of the North American Concrete Alliance, a coalition of more than a dozen concrete and cement industry trade associations that work together to promote infrastructure investment and beneficial regulatory and tax policy.
One of NACA’s most important activities is the annual Washington, D.C. fly-in, which will take place in 2019 on April 9 & 10. The meeting is an excellent opportunity to come to nation’s capital, hear first-hand from policymakers about key issues, lobby for ACPPA priorities and network with other industry leaders. For more information about last year’s Fly-In, see the April 2018 edition of Actionline.
Registration for the 2019 event will open shortly. For now, we’re asking all ACPPA members to identify at least one senior executive to represent the company at the event. For more information, please contact ACPPA lobbyist and general counsel Christian A. Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.599.0164.
Pressure Pipe Post
ACPPA’s Monthly Source for Industry News
To keep members aware of the activities of government and standards organizations, we regularly sweep public databases and publications for the industry-specific terms indicated below. We then provide our members with links to documents identified in the search. Please note that in some cases the URLs may link to subscription-only databases. The purpose of this service is to identify emerging threats and trends as well as opportunities for collective action by ACPPA.
|[Canada] Cars Submerged in Montreal Tunnel After Workers Puncture Water Pipe|
|The Atwater Tunnel in southwestern Montreal was almost completely flooded after construction workers cut through a water pipe.|
|Don’t Dump Stuff in the River|
|An editor for the Chicago Tribune took a very graphic picture of a construction worker doing exactly that, holding a pipe spewing thousands of gallons of grey silty water into the river and creating an extremely obvious and damning plume.|
|[Canada] Burnside Concrete Plans Reopens After Explosion|
|The plant was ordered shut down by the Labour Department after an explosion ripped the cap off a fly ash silo. The blast propelled the silo cover hundreds of metres down the street, where it fell on the front end of a parked car.|
|Lithuanian Researchers Develop Portland Cement on Industrial Waste|
|In Lithuania, scientists of Kaunas University of Technology are developing methods for producing concrete without cement, using industrial waste – fly ash. The final product is as strong as the traditional concrete, is more resilient to damaging effects of acid, and more stable in cases of expose to extreme heat and cold.|
|Raleigh Public Works Looks to Predict Water Main Breaks to Minimize Inconveniences|
|The Public Works Department is trying to predict which places are most prone to failure by analyzing records of what equipment was installed and when.|
|Howard Swint: South Charleston Taking Big Gamble on Fly Ash Pond Site|
|One of the biggest gambles in recent economic development is about to unfold in South Charleston where a tax-increment financing measure will underwrite a shopping center built on top of the old FMC fly ash pond.|
|Water Utility Survey Results|
|An independent survey of water utility companies across the United States and Canada has concluded that the cost of operations and maintenance (O&M) for concrete pressure pipe are low.|
|[Canada] Ontario Construction Sector Faces Tough Challenges Ahead: Panel|
|The new Ontario government is hitting the pause button on spending and that suggests not all 29 Infrastructure Ontario projects now in the pipe will get the green light, a seminar of Young Construction Leaders was told in Toronto.|
|Manassas Park’s Water System Needs Replacing, but City Debt Stands in the Way|
|At least half of Manassas Park’s water system pipes are 65 years old, laid when installation was mostly unregulated and not held to particular standards. As a result, breaks are common occurrences, especially as cold weather approaches.|
|The Hidden Price of Outdated Damage Prevention Laws: Part II|
|One way to improve jobsite safety and prevent future incidents is to ensure the best available information about the jobsite and project is shared with the excavator.|
|[Michigan] Editorial: Clip the Wings of Lame Duck|
|Michigan doesn’t need a whole lot of lame ducks flying around the Capitol as lawmakers return to Lansing for a final post-election session before the new governor and Legislature take over on Jan. 1.|
|The Huge Water Problem No One is Talking About — but Everyone Should Be|
|When Greg Lalevee heard about the recent water issue in Newark, his mind wandered back decades. Back to when Newark was known as the brewery capital of the Northeast, home to all the big-name beers, including Ballantine, where his grandfather worked.|
|[Newfoundland] Further Development in Shearstown Subdivision Can’t Proceed Without Water, Sewer Lines|
|The Town of Bay Roberts has granted approval for a single residential home to be developed in a small subdivision, but it will not permit anymore beyond that until local resident pay for the installation of underground infrastructure.|
|[South Dakota] City Crews Work to Fix Water Main Break|
|A cast iron 45 degree bend in a six-inch cement water main pipe broke Monday afternoon and resulted in water being shut off to the northwest part of town for five hours while repairs were being made.|
|Repairing the Only Water Pipe in the Grand Canyon|
|When the National Park Service saw visitation at the Grand Canyon climb to 1 million people in 1956, the agency realized the park would need more water to meet the demand. But it wasn’t a simple task.|
|Clean Drinking Water Leaking from Old Pipe in Oceano|
|Jeff Stokes says he’s seen the running water outside his Oceano home for months now. The old, leaky pipes are affecting his water pressure.|
|Looking for Leaks|
|It’s no secret that the country’s water infrastructure is aged and, in many cases, deteriorating. Leaky pipes can cause service disruption and can have a severe economic impact from the loss of treated water, increased maintenance budgets, interruptions, and property damage.|
|A Chain Reaction|
|Fountain, Colo., Water Department Foreman Justin Moore was working to remove perfluorinated chemicals that were detected in the water supply in 2016. While it was not mandatory to remove the contaminants, the city decided it was best to filter out the PFCs for the benefit of residents’ health.|
|Regulatory Information Service Center | Notice | Introduction to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions—Fall 2018|
|The fall editions of the Unified Agenda include the agency regulatory plans required by E.O. 12866, which identify regulatory priorities and provide additional detail about the most important significant regulatory actions that agencies expect to take in the coming year.|
|Department of Transportation | Notice | Department Regulatory and Deregulatory Agenda; Semiannual Summary|
|The Regulatory and Deregulatory Agenda is a semiannual summary of all current and projected rulemakings, reviews of existing regulations, and completed actions of the Department. The intent of the Agenda is to provide the public with information about the Department of Transportation’s regulatory activity planned for the next 12 months.|
|Department of Housing and Urban Development | Notice | Notice of Certain Operating Cost Adjustment Factors for 2019|
|This notice establishes operating cost adjustment factors (OCAFs) for project-based assistance contracts issued under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 and renewed under the Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act of 1997 (MAHRA) for eligible multifamily housing projects having an anniversary date on or after February 11, 2019. OCAFs are annual factors used to adjust Section 8 rents renewed under section 515 or section 524 of MAHRA|
|S. 1012 | Introduced by Udall, Tom (D-N.M.) | Title|
|This bill directs the Bureau of Reclamation to carry out a water acquisition program in specified basins in New Mexico, under which Reclamation shall: (1) make acquisitions of water by lease or purchase of water rights or contractual entitlements from willing lessors or sellers, consistent with the Rio Grande Compact and applicable state water rights law; and (2) take other actions to enhance stream flow to benefit fish and wildlife (including endangered species), water quality, and river ecosystem restoration and to enhance stewardship and conservation of working land, water, and watersheds.|