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Washington Observer - Featured Headline
Private Infrastructure Dollars Still Face Hurdles
08/19/15
DOT, other agencies are taking steps to address the problems, but TIFIA hits some bumps.

Photo courtesy of Bipartisan Policy Center


Congress May Face New Vote To Renew Ex-Im Charter
07/06/15
Bank ceased approving new loans when authorization expired on June 30.

Photo courtesy Caterpillar Inc.

More News
08/24/15 Obama Announces Actions To Spur Renewable and Efficiency Projects

Actions include significant DOE Commitment to support innovative technologies.
08/19/15 DOE: Windpower Bounces Back, But Post-2016 Gains Uncertain

New installations rose 8% last year, after a steep decline in 2013.
08/19/15 New Leaders Sworn In at FHWA, GSA

Nadeau had been FHWA's No. 2 official; Roth was GSA's deputy administrator.
08/18/15 EPA Methane Proposal Draws Industry Heat, Environmentalists' Praise

Oil and gas groups say rule duplicates existing requirements, but Obama administration says methane cuts are vital in dealing with climate change.
08/04/15 EPA's Final Clean Power Plan Gives States More Flexibility

Some construction groups say plan will cost jobs and affect the reliability of the electric grid, but others say that the technologies exist to help states comply.
07/31/15 Obama Signs 3-Month Transport Stopgap, Senate Also Passes 6-Year Bill

Short-term bill averts highway funds cutoff; six-year measure raises hopes that the House will produce similar plan in the fall.
07/30/15 House Approves Bill to Continue Coal Ash Recycling

Construction groups say "hazardous" designation supported by environmental advocates would be the death-knell of coal ash recycling.
07/30/15 Wide-Ranging Energy Bills Come into Focus in House, Senate

Bills have critics on both sides of aisle, but lawmakers say bills represent areas of "common ground."
07/30/15 Tax 'Extenders" Could See Floor Action This Fall

Despite desire for comprehensive tax reform, lawmakers say another short-term extension package is necessary.
07/27/15 Transit Gains Funds in Revised Senate Transportation Bill

DRIVE Act's architects shift more aid to transit, offset partly by deep cuts to TIFIA funding.
07/22/15 Senate Transport Bill Clears One Hurdle, But More Lie Ahead

Six-year measure, which has only three years' funding guaranteed, wins procedural vote after losing one a day earlier.
07/17/15 Crunch Time Near for Senate Transport-Bill Talks

If deal on multi-year package is reached, procedural floor vote could occur within days.
07/15/15 Hill Labors To Avert Transport Funding Lapse

As federal highway and transit programs’ funding authority nears a July 31 expiration, Congress is laboring to find a fix.
07/15/15 OSHA Postpones Enforcement Date for Confined-Space Rule

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration will delay fully enforcing its new rule for construction in confined spaces to give firms more time to comply with its training requirements.
07/15/15 Court Upholds EPA's Pollution Diet for Chesapeake Bay

The American Farm Bureau, National Association of Home Builders and other groups are reviewing whether they will appeal a court ruling upholding mandatory pollution reductions in Chesapeake Bay.
07/14/15 House Approves 5-Month Highway-Transit Stopgap

Extension through Dec. 18 would include transfers to Highway Trust Fund from general fund.
07/07/15 Fast-Track Trade Measure Sparks Praise and Some Worries

Business groups welcome faster up-or-down congressional votes but unions are concerned the legislation will cost U.S. jobs.
07/07/15 Reaction Mixed as President Signs Fast-Track Bill

Critics contend trade deal could be job-killer; supporters say just the opposite.
06/24/15 Senate Committee Approves Six-Year Highway Bill

Measure increases highway authorizations an average of 3% a year, but cuts TIFIA.
06/24/15 House, Senate Committees Approve Bills with Severe Cuts for Water-Wastewater Infrastructure Projects

Bills include controversial policy riders that could prompt a veto.
06/24/15 Hill Democrats Push to Reverse Allowed Benefit Cuts in New Multi-Employer Pension Law

Treasury Dept. issues rules for benefit cut applications by financially ailing pension plans
06/11/15 Opposition to EPA's Ozone Proposal is Growing

Contractor groups say more stringent regulations for ground level ozone could have a negative impact on transportation projects, but the supporters of EPA's proposal say it would save lives.
06/10/15 Federal Court Dismisses Petition to Hear Challenge to Clean Power Plan

Rule has not yet been made final, judge says.
06/01/15 Critics Blast EPA's New Renewable-Fuels Proposal

A wide range of critics say the latest proposal for Renewable Fuel Standard mandates shows that the RFS needs to be reworked or repealed.
05/27/15 EPA-Corps Water Regulation Draws Praise, Criticism

Opponents expected to continue to push to block it in Congress and in courts.
05/27/15 Senate Appropriators Hike DOD, VA Construction, Also Give Corps Civil Works Small Increase

Bill is more generous to DOD construction, VA major projects than House-passed version.
05/25/15 Two-Month Highway-Transit Bill Heads to White House

Senate passage is final congressional action on brief stopgap.
05/20/15 House Passes Two-Month Transportation Extension

Senate approval and Obama's signature are expected for what would be the 33rd extension in six years.
05/13/15 House OKs Bill to Block EPA's Waters Rule

But vote fell short of two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.
05/12/15 Senate Committee Approves Bill to Speed Infrastructure Projects' Permits

Measure would apply to transportation and non-transportation projects of more than $200 million,
05/06/15 House Approves FY16 Boost for DOD Construction, Corps Civil Works

But bill also freezes VA major construction projects’ budget at 2015’s level.
04/30/15 Congress Set To Fight Over ExIm Bank Extension

Capitol Hill battle expected to intensify with bank's authorization due to expire June 30.
04/23/15 Congress Clears Bill To Improve Buildings' Energy Efficiency

Measure sets up voluntary "Tenant Star" program for commercial building owners and lessees.
04/22/15 Energy and Water Spending Bill Has Much for Contractors to Like

But industry officials are disappointed that some new WRRDA programs aren’t funded.
04/09/15 Transit Officials Push for Long-Term Transportation Bill

At first Stand Up 4 Transportation day, officials also seek to derail bills to abolish Highway Trust Fund transit account
04/08/15 Industry Coalition Says OSHA Underestimated Its Silica Proposal’s Cost

Groups urge agency to withdraw proposal but union advocates say rule is necessary to protect workers.
04/08/15 New Short-Term Highway Transit Bill Appears Likely

May 31 deadline draws closer with little progess on multi-year authorization.
03/31/15 White House Sets Targets for Paris Climate Talks

GOP lawmakers blast plan but environmental groups and their Capitol Hill allies praise it.
03/26/15 White House Wants Agencies To Shrink Real Estate Portfolio

OMB memo calls for square-footage cut starting in fiscal 2016, but no specific targets.
03/25/15 DOE, Senators Look for Solution on Radioactive Waste Storage

Nuclear industry advocates say the lack of a permanent repository could hinder construction of new nuclear plants.
03/25/15 Construction Groups Fight Proposal to Slash Federal Gas Tax

Industry warns “devolution” plan could mean sharp hikes in states’ fuels taxes.
03/23/15 GOP and Industry Gear Up to Fight Fracking Rule

Interior Secretary says regulations are needed to provide necessary environmental safeguards.
03/19/15 Obama Order Calls for More Greenhouse Gas Cuts

Federal contractors also agree to do their part in reducing GHG emissions.
03/17/15 Architects Oppose Senate Energy-Efficiency Bill

Measure would repeal 2007 requirement to phase out fossil fuels in new federal buildings and renovations.
03/17/15 Industry Seeks FY16 Spending Boost for Corps Civil Works

Waterways and port groups favor higher appropriations from Harbor Maintenance and Inland Waterways Trust Funds.
03/17/15 ARTBA Puts Gas Tax-Rebate Plan on the Table

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association on March 12 proposed boosting the federal gasoline and diesel taxes by 15˘ per gallon.
03/13/15 ARTBA Proposes Fuel-Tax Boost With Offsetting Rebates

Under the plan, gas and diesel tax would rise 15˘ and motorists would get $90-a-year rebate to offset the hike.
03/10/15 House Passes $7-Billion, 4-Year Amtrak Bill

Measure has a focus on Northeast Corridor, also aims to spark private investment around Amtrak stations and along its rights-of-way.
02/27/15 State DOTs Plan Ways To Cope With Uncertain Federal Funds

States plan, or consider, delaying highway contract bid lettings until federal funding picture clears up.
02/26/15 House Committee Leaders Want OSHA to Change Crane Rule

At issue is a section dealing with how crane operators are certified.
02/26/15 Lawmakers Set to Challenge NLRB's New Election Rule

But Obama will likely veto the bill.
02/26/15 Obama Administration Seeks to Lift Hold on Immigration Directives

Construction groups say protracted legal fight will delay comprehensive reform efforts.
02/18/15 Keystone Bill Clears Congress, But Faces Promised Obama Veto

Pro-pipeline lawmakers will delay sending bill to Obama until after congressional recess.
02/18/15 Lawmakers Still Search for Solution to Highway, Transit Funding Needs

Shuster drafting bill but awaiting tax committees’ action on new revenue.
02/17/15 Federal Judge Halts Enforcement of Obama Immigration Plan

DHS suspends carrying out Obama directive; Justice Dept. will appeal temporary injunction.
02/12/15 House Approves Keystone Pipeline Bill

But Obama threatens to veto the legislation.
02/06/15 White House Tightens Standards for Projects in Flood Zones

Environmentalists, state floodplain managers praise new benchmark, but group of Senate Republicans question its legality.
02/02/15 Obama Budget Features Proposed $478-Billion Transport Bill

Request also includes hikes for GSA, DOD, VA building programs but Corps and EPA clean water accounts would be cut.
01/29/15 Senate Passes Keystone Pipeline Bill

But President Obama maintains that he will veto the measure.
01/27/15 For Inhofe, Senate Panel's New Chairman, Transportation Bill Tops the Agenda

Oklahoma Republican expected to move quickly on new authorization measure.
01/26/15 Critics Blast Obama Plan to Limit Leasing in Arctic Refuge

Plan would designate 12.3 million acres of refuge as wilderness area.
01/22/15 VA Opens Door to Shifting Hospital Construction to Corps

Criticized for poor hospital-construction management, VA now willing to consider transferring program to the Corps.
01/21/15 Judge Cuts Total BP Oil-Spill Estimate

Judge Cuts Total BP OIl Spill Estimate
01/21/15 House Approves Bill to Modernize Regulatory Process

But critics warn bill would harm agencies’ ability to regulate.
01/16/15 White House Rolls Out New Private Infrastructure Finance Plans

Plans include proposed new private infrastructure bonds for public-private ventures.
01/16/15 House-Passed Bill Escalates Immigration Battle

Bill would block Obama's 2014 executive orders, end 2012 deportation shield for "Dreamers."
01/14/15 Supreme Court Hears Contractor Fraud Statute-of-Limitations Case

In case dealing with KBR, justices seemed skeptical that 1942 law focused on criminal activity also applies to civil cases.
01/13/15 Obama Signs 6-Year Terrorism-Insurance Extension

Federal program, which backstops private coverage for terrorism-related damages, is reauthorized through 2020.
01/09/15 Nebraska Court Dismisses Challenge to Keystone Route

But a presidential veto of legislation authorizing the project still looms.
01/07/15 Keystone Pipeline Backers Seek Quick Hill Votes on Bills to OK Project

Measures to move project have strong House and Senate support but White House threatens veto.
01/06/15 Firms Picked to Build, Design U.S. Consulate Projects in Mexico

Awards for Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros projects continue multi-year U.S. plan to upgrade facilities for busy consular program.
12/29/14 Construction Officials Urge Swift Passage of Terrorism Insurance Bill

Projects could be delayed if new Congress does not act quickly to extend TRIA program, officials warn.
12/21/14 New EPA Rule Preserves Coal Ash Recycling for Construction Materials

Environmental groups had advocated for a hazardous designation for the coal by-product.
12/19/14 White House Issues Final Part of Water-Resources Policy Rewrite

But Congress bars Corps from using the new project-evaluation guidelines through fiscal 2015.
12/18/14 Obama Plan to Restore Ties to Cuba Could Spur Equipment Exports

Plan includes more exports of building materials for private housing.
12/17/14 Senate Passes Tax 'Extenders' But Not Terrorism-Insurance Bill

Tax bill includes breaks for renewable energy projects and capital-goods purchases.
12/15/14 Senate Passes DOD Bill Capping Design-Build Short Lists

The president is expected to sign the bill into law.
12/14/14 Senate Approves Overhaul of Multiemployer-Pension Policies

Construction unions divided over measure, which allows pension plans in "critical" condition to cut members' vested benefits.
12/14/14 Senate Approves $1.1-Trillion FY15 Spending Bill

Bill, which holds highway, Corps civil, EPA water, GSA new buildings funding at or near 2014 levels through Sept. 30, now goes to Obama for his signature.
12/12/14 NLRB Issues Rule to Accelerate Union Elections

Employer and construction industry groups plan to challenge the rule in court.
12/10/14 House-Passed Tax 'Extenders' Bill Aids Multiemployer Pension Plans, Renewable Energy

Measure has one-year extension for provisions affecting ailing multiemployer plans.
12/05/14 House OKs Bill to Limit DOD Design-Build Short Lists

The measure, which also bars DOD design-build reverse auctions, moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass soon.
11/26/14 EPA Proposes To Tighten Smog Standard

Proposal to cut ground-level ozone limit to 65 or 70 ppb, from 75, draws environmentalists' praise and industry criticism.
11/25/14 Officials Urge EPA to Revise Renewable Fuel Regulations

Request comes after EPA pulls current proposal.
11/20/14 Construction Groups Say Obama Immigration Directive Will Slow Search for Legislative Fix

Executive order would provide millions with protection for being deported, but with conditions, and only for three years at a time.
11/20/14 States' Total Capital Spending Rose 2% in Fiscal 2014

State budget officers' report shows upturns for transportation, environmental categories, but cutback in higher education.
11/18/14 Senate Blocks Keystone Pipeline Plan

Pro-Keystone lawmakers vow to bring the bill up again during the next Congress.
11/18/14 PBGC Says Multi-Employer Pension Aid Program Faces Record Deficit

Pension agency report comes weeks before legislative provisions to help ailing plans are set to expire.
11/12/14 ?Construction Eyes Key Measures in Congress' Lame-Duck Session

Construction is pushing for action on spending, pension, insurance and defense bills before the end of December.
11/12/14 US, China Set New Goals for CO2 Emissions Cuts

U.S. part of the plan faces fierce opposition from congressional Republicans, who gained more clout in Nov. 4 elections.
11/06/14 After GOP's Election Wins, Construction Officials See Hope for Infrastructure Bills

Republicans take Senate control but majority isn't large enough to block filibusters or override vetoes.
11/05/14 EPA Seeks More Input on CO2 Rule for Existing Powerplants

Document could signal changes agency is weighing.
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