Washington Report: The 2021 Annual Cement and Concrete Fly-In

by Patty Power, ACPA Washington Advocate

Today was the third and final day of the 2021 Annual Cement and Concrete Fly-In. Due to pandemic restrictions, this year’s Fly-In was virtual. We traded dashing around Capitol Hill for signing in and out of Zoom and Go-To meetings and calls.

The Messaging

While our methods differed from the past, our message was consistent:

  • Introduce the cement and concrete industry to federal legislators and their staff;

  • Support robust and predictable federal infrastructure spending;

  • Tell our industry’s story about our commitment to address climate change and promote sustainability;

  • Highlight our industry’s workforce challenges and request federal support for career and technical education (CTE) programs; and

  • Raise awareness of proposed changes to existing trucking regulations, including Hours of Service rules and minimum liability insurance requirements.

The Meetings

One hundred and fifty industry leaders attended nearly 250 meetings with senators and members of Congress and their staff. Also, Fly-In participants were briefed by congressional leadership and federal agency officials. ACPA had a great turnout this year.

This year’s Fly-In was well-timed because Washington is focused on infrastructure. Before his inauguration, President Biden promised two COVID-related packages—the American Rescue Plan, focused on addressing more immediate COVID-related public health and economic recovery needs; and Build Back Better, focused on longer-term economic recovery and transformational infrastructure changes.


On March 10, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). It passed both chambers of Congress on a partisan basis, using a budget reconciliation approach. The nearly $1.9 trillion ARPA addresses many needs across the country highlighted by the pandemic. ARPA provides additional funding for small business, infrastructure and direct assistance to state and local government that can be used for infrastructure projects.

Next up is the American Jobs Plan (AJP), which is the first part of the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better plan. The AJP’s transformational, wide-scoped infrastructure plan met with equal measures of partisan support and opposition.

The two main issues facing the AJP are: 1) how to define infrastructure; and 2) how to pay for the plan. The positions on each of these questions split on political party lines. Republicans talk about “traditional” infrastructure and user fees. Democrats talk about once-in-a- century transformational change and taxes. There is a strong enough commitment to getting something done in the infrastructure space that we may see compromise.

FAST Act Reauthorization

In addition to the AJP, the current surface transportation law, the FAST Act, expired at the end of last fiscal year. Congress extended the law for one year. The extension expires on September 30, 2021.

It is not clear how Congress will move the surface transportation reauthorization and the AJP. Indications throughout the Fly-In say they will move independently. The end-of-the-fiscal year deadline is driving the schedule for the FAST Act reauthorization. The Biden Administration says the AJP is additive, not to be considered in place of existing law. Watch this space for how this will play out.

The next few months promises a lot of congressional infrastructure activity. ACPA is fully engaged offensively— securing ongoing infrastructure project federal support, workforce development support and the Concrete Pump Tax Fairness Act—and defensively, fighting changes to the trucking rules and material restrictions.