Late Summer Success in Washington

The last couple of months have seen a flurry of successful activity in Washington for the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA). Working diligently with other members of the North American Concrete Alliance (NACA)* we’ve advanced our interests on Capitol Hill. Some of the most recent highlights benefitting concrete pumpers include:

Thwarting Tall Wood

Successful efforts against Tall Wood include action to thwart the “Tall Wood Building Prize Competition.” The wood industry is working to include funding for the prize competition in the 2018 Farm Bill’s Forestry Title. Such legislation unfairly promotes mass timber at taxpayer expense and creates a federally-funded promotional program for one building material over others.

ACPA has actively opposed this competition’s adoption, and we’re pleased to report the Farm Bill’s House and Senate versions do not include it. At the time of this writing, an important next step for the Farm Bill is the Conference Committee discussion. Although the Farm Bill came through the House and Senate without authorization for the competition, a provision could be air-dropped into the bill during committee discussions. ACPA has worked with NACA to urge members of the conference committee not to include provisions for a Tall Wood Building Prize in the final Farm Bill.

Environmental Policy Updates

Another key issue affecting concrete pumpers is federal permitting requirements. ACPA signed onto a NACA comment letter supporting streamlining of the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) requirements for federal permits and projects. Federal permitting impacts infrastructure projects, causing delays and high costs. The NACA comments recommend changes to reduce delays and costs.

NEPA provides a framework for assessing the environmental impacts of the federal government’s actions. The evaluation process for proposed projects and alternatives often proves lengthy and inefficient, leading to delays in project initiation, and ultimately higher costs.

Although we support balanced environmental protections, modern updates are long overdue, and our nation’s environmental needs have changed since NEPA’s adoption nearly 50 years ago. Modernizing NEPA could facilitate the faster building of much-needed infrastructure projects and more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Infrastructure Legislation

Continuing our effort to keep infrastructure needs in front of decision-makers, we’re urging House and Senate leadership to act on comprehensive infrastructure legislation. Earlier this year, President Trump released his infrastructure proposal to generate $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure investment. More recently, Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, released a draft infrastructure proposal addressing the mounting crisis of our nation’s failing infrastructure and the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. ACPA favors increased infrastructure funding, as many of our members are involved in bridge and related infrastructure projects across the country.

We sent letters along with the other members of NACA to Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leaders Pelosi and Schumer in August, urging them to craft and pass bipartisan legislation providing robust infrastructure investment. While we continue to support a comprehensive approach to infrastructure reform, we recognize that this Congress is running out of time to finish that work. However, we do note recent progress on the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization and the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization to fund the federal airport programs and federal water infrastructure programs, respectively.

We’ll continue urging Congress to act for the repair and rebuilding of our transportation infrastructure and other issues important to the concrete pumping industry. By aligning with other concrete industry associations through NACA and through our own Washington advocacy, ACPA ensures the concrete pumper’s voice is heard. Stay tuned for more updates in coming newsletters.

*NACA is comprised of the following groups: The American Concrete Pavement Association, American Concrete Pipe Association, American Concrete Pumping Association, American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association, Concrete Foundations Association, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, National Concrete Masonry Association, National Precast Concrete Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, Portland Cement Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Tilt-Up Concrete Association.