Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015 - (Page 4)

Legislative Action Congress Approves Defense Bill; Includes ACEC-Backed Reforms on Design-Build T he House and Senate in December passed the F.Y. 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes ACEC-backed improvements to design-build and limits on the use of reverse auctions in military construction projects. Specifically, ACEC worked with stakeholders to secure language to limit to five the number of shortlisted firms in military construction design-build competitions. The Council advocated for this change as the cost of second phase competitions has grown significantly, in addition to the number of finalists in that round. Capping the number of finalists allows for the most qualified teams and engineers to compete and the federal government to attract the best teams. NDAA also included language to limit reverse auctions in design-build competitions for military construction projects. Overall, the bill authorizes $5.091 billion in military construction, $1.19 billion in family housing, and $270 million to continue implementing previously authorized base closings. It also restores $818 million in previous cuts to base budget readiness accounts in facilities maintenance contracts and contracts for other services. ACEC/Idaho Achieves High Court Victory; Minuteman Fund Grant to ACEC/New York I n a major victory for the engineering industry, the Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that an engineer's lien rights commence at the start of professional services, not when the engineer arrives at the site or when something is built. The decision in Stanley Consultants, Inc. v. Integrated Financial Associates, Inc. helps to protect the priority of engi- neers' liens against subsequent liens filed by mortgage companies and other financial institutions. ACEC provided a Minuteman Fund grant to ACEC/Idaho for an amicus brief in this case. Stanley Consultants Vice President and General Counsel Henry Marquard said the case pit the interest of the banking and finance industry clearly against the interest of the engineering profession. "The court ruling affirmed that the Idaho legislature meant to protect engineers and others doing pre-construction, pre-financing work by awarding them lien priority," Marquard said. In a separate action, ACEC awarded a Minuteman Fund grant to ACEC/New York to support its campaign to win additional state infrastructure funding, primarily for roads, bridges, and transit. ACEC Helps Secure Infrastructure Wins on State Referenda V oters in Maryland and Wisconsin adopted constitutional amendments to safeguard transportation investment by prohibiting transfers from their state transportation trust funds to other programs in the state general funds. ACEC Minuteman Fund grants supported both successful campaigns. In Texas, voters approved a ballot proposition to transfer up to half of the oil and gas production taxes from the state's rainy day fund to the state highway fund. The amendment is projected to generate up to $1.2 billion per year to fund road construction and maintenance. Other local sales tax and bond initiatives to fund transportation were approved in California, Georgia and Washington. In a setback, Massachusetts voters chose to repeal a 2013 law that automatically indexed motor fuels taxes to inflation. Congress Clears $1 Trillion Omnibus Appropriations Bill for 2015 P rior to adjournment in December, Congress approved a massive spending bill to fund federal programs for F.Y. 2015. The legislation boosts funding in a number of critical infrastructure programs, a top ACEC priority. The measure maintains surface transportation spending under MAP-21 for F.Y. 2015, with $41 billion going to highways and $10.9 billion for tran4 ENGINEERING INC. sit programs, including $2.12 billion for capital investment grants, an increase of $177 million. The bill provides $3.35 billion for airport improvement grants and $2.6 billion for FAA facilities and equipment, consistent with current funding levels. Amtrak is funded at $1.39 billion, including $1.14 billion for capital grants, an increase of $90 million. No funding is provided for highspeed passenger rail. TIGER JaNuaRy / FEbRuaRy 2015 multimodal grants are funded at $500 million, a decrease of $100 million below 2014. For water projects, the bill provides $2.35 billion for the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, which is $31 million below the 2014 enacted levels. The Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program is funded at $5.48 billion, $20 million above current funding. Hazardous waste clean-up under the Department of Energy's Environmental Management program is funded at $5.76 billion, roughly $40 million less than the 2014 enacted level. The package provides $6.6 billion for military and support construction, which is a decrease of $3.3 billion from the 2014 enacted level. VA construction is funded at $562 million, $220 million above the 2014 enacted level.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015

Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015
Contents
From Acec to You
Legislative Action
Market Watch
The Business Case for Diversity
Closing the Gender Gap
Market Stability Keeping Pli Prices Low
2015 Legislative Scorecard
Made to Market
2014 Fall Conference Highlights
2015 Annual Convention Preview
Risk Management
Business Insights
Members in the News
Mergers and Acquisitions

Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015

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