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Washington Observer - Featured Headline
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.

Photo by Mario Olivero/AASHTO

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.

Image courtesy of White House/Office of Management and Budget

More News
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.
02/26/15 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.
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.
10/29/14 Even If GOP Wins Senate Control, Gridlock May Persist

Industry officials say infrastructure bills still will have bipartisan support.
10/29/14 Infrastructure Funding a Key Litmus Test for Political Donors

Most industry and labor groups report that spending is up compared with 2010 mid-term elections.
10/22/14 NRC Report Concludes Yucca Mountain Design is Safe

But more congressional funding would be needed before project could be revived.
10/22/14 Federal Green Infrastructure Program Adds Private-Sector Members

ASCE other industry groups will lend expertise to the program.
10/22/14 Critics Want FERC to Withdraw Its Approval of Maryland LNG Export Project

Environmental groups contend environmental review doesn’t meet NEPA requirements.
10/14/14 DOD Says Climate Change Could Threaten National Security

Pentagon hopes to integrate climate change considerations into planning.
10/14/14 Court Throws Out Challenge to EPA Clean-Air Proposal

Ruling says that the state cannot file suit to block a regulation before it becomes final.
10/13/14 World Bank, Investors Join in New Infrastructure Finance Plan

Public-private Global Infrastructure Facility will start pilot phase this year, focusing on "climate friendly" or trade-boosting projects.
10/09/14 EPA IG Says Gulf Restoration Funds Mismanaged

But EPA disputes the IG's claims concerning most of the $781,000 in questioned spending.
10/08/14 SBA Office Asks EPA To Pull Proposed Water Rule and Do Small-Business Impact Study

Comment period on controversial rule extended until Nov. 14.
10/08/14 Port Group Leads Push for Hike in Harbor Fund Spending

Campaign seeks to have 2015 appropriations roughly equal the hike WRRDA authorized.
10/02/14 Report Seeks More Life-Cycle Cost Studies on Transportation Projects

ASCE-Eno Study calls for linking federal discretionary funding to transportation projects’ performance.
10/02/14 Supreme Court's New Term Includes Two Key Cases

Industry groups are watching cases dealing with contractors’ liability protections, agencies’ regulatory procedures.
09/24/14 Reid Says Senate Will Consider Tax Extensions During Lame Duck

Senate Majority Leader Reid says he plans to take up a tax-incentive extensions bill after the elections. House Ways and Means panel has backed a more incremental approach.
09/24/14 Manufacturers' Group Charts Benefits of Infrastructure Funding Hike

New NAM study says annual infusion of $83 billion over 15 years will boost GDP, jobs, workers' pay.
09/17/14 House Panel Calls for Steps to Improve Infrastructure P3s

Recommendations include a new U.S. DOT office to develop performance standards for P3s and other project-delivery methods.
09/12/14 US DOT Awards $584 Million in Latest TIGER Grant Round

Highway projects received 47% of the sixth TIGER round's dollars; transit got 27%, maritime 13% and rail 11.5%.
09/11/14 BP Faces Hefty Fines For ‘Gross Negligence’ in 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

Money will boost cleanup work for firms, but it could be years before anyone sees substantial funds.
09/10/14 House Passes Bill To Block EPA From Issuing Final Water-Permit Rule

But the bill faces dim prospects in the Senate and a White House veto threat.
09/09/14 Feds Step Up Quest for Private Infrastructure Financing

DOT announces aid for projects as infrastructure "summit" sparks ideas to boost private investment.
09/03/14 Spending Bill Is Top Congressional Agenda Item in September

A stopgap measure funding federal agencies through at least part of fiscal 2015 seems likely.
09/03/14 NRC Vote Clears Way for Action on Stalled Licensing Decisions

NRC approves final rule on spent fuel storage, clearing the way for new reactor licenses to be issued.
08/27/14 GSA Seeks to Modernize Its Approach to Buildings Design and Construction

The bulk of the agency’s federal buildings construction budget is aimed at repairs and renovations.
08/18/14 BL Harbert Picked for $153.5M U.S. Embassy Job in Jordan

State Dept. also selects SOM to design embassy complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Ennead Architects to design embassy in Ankara.
08/15/14 Commerce, AIA Plan November Trade Mission to Mideast

Trip includes stops in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which have huge plans for new buildings of many types.
08/14/14 VA Overhaul Includes Some Funds to Upgrade Facilities

The measure provides $16 billion to add staff and upgrade infrastructure.
08/14/14 Protesters Target EPA Proposal on Powerplant Carbon Emissions

Twelve states file lawsuit challenging the draft rule.
08/01/14 Senate Approves House's $10.8B Trust-Fund Patch

Action sends bill to President Obama for his expected signature, averting a slowdown in federal highway aid.
07/31/14 Obama Directs Federal Contractors To List Labor Violations

Worker advocates praise action, but contractor groups threaten legal and legislative challenges.
07/29/14 White House Report Urges Climate-Change Action, Projects Rising Cost

A new report from the White House's Council of Economic Advisers projects an increase in the cost to mitigate climate change if no action is taken.
07/24/14 White House Unveils $10B Rural Infrastructure Fund

New fund aims to help finance projects in water, wastewater-treatment, electricity generation and transmission sectors.
07/24/14 Report Says Unified Approach Needed To Prepare for Coastal Disasters

National Research Council study calls for proactive approach to coastal disaster protection.
07/23/14 Obama Pushes for More Private Financing for Infrastructure

Plan consists of modest, incremental steps but no new federal funds.
07/23/14 EPA Moves One Step Closer to Restricting Mining at Bristol Bay

House committee approves legislation limiting EPA’s authority.
07/22/14 Senate Approves 7-Year Terrorism-Insurance Program Extension

Key House lawmaker criticizes Senate bill and expects resolving the issue will take months.
07/17/14 Obama Seeks to Spark More Private Infrastructure Financing

Plan includes a new DOT center to identify and surmount barriers to broader use of public-private partnerships.
07/15/14 House OKs $10.8B Highway Trust Fund 'Fix'

After House passage of a trust-fund infusion, attention now shifts to the Senate, where the Finance Committee has cleared a similar measure.
07/09/14 Officials Hope Multiemployer Pension Changes Will Be Enacted This Year

Labor and industry groups say problems with the current program point to a need for comprehensive action.
07/02/14 Oil Spill Trustees Approve 44 Gulf Restoration Projects

Texas agencies refrain from signing on to approval.
07/02/14 EPA Asks D.C. Circuit to Lift Hold on Air Pollution Regulation

Agency makes request in light of 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
07/02/14 Senate Finance Committee Is Aiming for Short-Term Trust Fund Patch

Wyden revises earlier proposal, dropping a heavy-truck tax hike and seeks agreement with Republicans.
07/01/14 Facing Highway Cash Crunch, DOT Plans to Slow Reimbursements

DOT to end daily highway funding reimbursements to states in August, shifting to twice-a-month distributions.
06/27/14 Corps Chief Calls for Private Investment in Water Infrastructure

In a press briefing on June 26, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, discussed the effects of the recently passed WRRDA bill and the need for public-private partnerships to address the nation's aging infrastructure.
06/24/14 Wyden Proposes Short-Term Fix for Ailing Highway Trust Fund

But Finance Committee’s top Republican finds fault with the proposal.
06/18/14 Sens. Murphy, Corker Seek 12-Cent-Per-Gal. Gas-Tax Boost

To counter Capitol Hill opposition to tax increases, the plan would include other tax cuts, such as extending R&D and depreciation incentives.
06/17/14 National Competition Will Award $1 Billion for Resiliency Projects

Projects will be in states and localities affected by major natural disasters between 2011 and 2013.
06/13/14 Senate Passes Bill Calling for Study of VA Construction Program

Senate measure next must be reconciled with the House-passed version, which doesn't have a construction-panel provision.
06/11/14 Anxiety Grows as Trust-Fund Deficit Looms

House Republicans propose bolstering trust fund with revenue saved by cutting Saturday mail deliveries.
06/11/14 Boxer Presses NRC Chief About Post-Fukushima Recommendations

Senate panel chairman says none of NRC task-force recommendations for U.S. nuclear powerplants have been implmented yet.
06/11/14 Senate VA Bill Includes Construction Commission

Panel would examine VA construction projects and program and recommend improvements.
06/04/14 Water Industry Awaits WRRDA’s New WIFIA Loan Program

WIFIA’s funding is much smaller than transportation’s TIFIA.
06/02/14 EPA Sets Ambitious Goal to Cut Existing Powerplants' CO2 Emissions

States will play a key role in carrying out the regulation, through implementation plans due by June 2016 that are tailored to their circumstances.
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