NACA Fly-In Nets Positive Connections

In April, five ACPA members traveled to Washington, D.C., along with executive director Christi Collins, to meet with members of Congress at the annual North American Concrete Alliance (NACA) Cement & Concrete Fly-In. NACA’s two-day event featured Capitol Hill visits, briefings and a reception, during which participants discussed critical issues with key administration and congressional leaders.

Topics included halting the promotion of tall wood buildings, with NACA advocating against policies that favor one building material to the exclusion of others. Fly-In participants also urged congressional members not to support a federal gas tax holiday, which would reduce funding for the Highway Trust Fund and, in turn, for transportation construction projects.

Discussions included Portland Cement Association’s Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality and resilient concrete construction of long-lasting infrastructure. The Concrete Pump Tax Fairness Act also was highlighted. The current draft of the bill would restore 55 percent of the refund of federal fuel tax paid by pumpers. The 55 percent reflects the industry average of fuel used on the road, as opposed to fuel used in power take off, says ACPA Washington Advocate Patty Power.

Participants encouraged development of federal workforce programs for construction trades, including apprenticeships and Pell Grants for trade schools. This included asking congressional leaders to co-sponsor and support the JOBS Act, Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act and BUILDS Act.

High-Level Engagement

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) served as keynote speakers, along with deputy secretary of transportation Polly Trottenberg and general services administration chief sustainability officer Kevin Kampschroer. Other keynote speakers included Emily Grubert, Ph.D., deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Energy’s Office of Carbon Management, and Tomás Elias Carbonell, deputy assistant administrator for stationary sources at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation.

During the Fly-In event, participants broke into groups to meet with Maryland, Ohio, Alabama and Texas delegations.

“Everyone we met expressed their appreciation for our efforts to travel to Washington in support of the concrete construction industry,” says Power. “They appreciate the jobs created by the cement and concrete industries, which contribute to the national, regional and local economies. Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) was specifically interested in meeting workforce needs and looking for ways to work with local high schools.”

Power’s group, which included Collins and ACPA member Matt McDonald of Blanchet Concrete Pumping, met with Reps. Balderson and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), along with staff from nine other Maryland and Ohio offices. ACPA president Wayne Bylsma, ACPA manufacturing director Gabriel Ojeda and ACPA member Carl Walker of Central Concrete Pumping met with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and five Texas and Alabama offices. ACPA past president Gary Brown joined NACA members from Indiana, Illinois and Michigan to visit Reps. Mike Bost (R-Illinois) and Tim Walberg (R-Michigan), plus several congressional offices.

“The preliminary feedback from our trip is positive, based on excellent engagement with key officials and participation by NACA partners and member companies,” says Power.

The North American Concrete Alliance was formed in 2004 to address industrywide concerns and initiatives in research, safety, education and government affairs. The coalition is comprised of the American Concrete Pavement Association, American Concrete Pipe Association, American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association, American Concrete Pumping Association, Concrete Foundations Association, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, National Concrete Masonry Association, National Precast Concrete Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Portland Cement Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and Tilt-Up Concrete Association.