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04/26/2016

ACEC Ohio members meet with majority of state's Congressional delegation during national convention

Fifteen ACEC Ohio members attended the Council's annual convention in Washington, DC, last week and took advantage of the opportunity to meet with most of the members of the state's Congressional delegation to discuss issues of importance to the industry.

Literally dozens of outstanding general and business management sessions are offered during the annual convention, but one of the key reasons the convention is held in Washington each spring is to encourage Council members from all over the nation to trek up to The Hill to meet with their senators and representatives.

After being thoroughly briefed by ACEC's Government Affairs staff, members put on their "citizen lobbyist" hats and asked for their legislators' support on four key issues:

Overtime Regulations – The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed to increase the minimum salary threshold for those who qualify for overtime pay from $23,660 to $50,440 – a 113 percent increase that will prove costly for engineering firms.  Lawmakers were asked to support bills that would delay imposition of the rules, even though passage of such a bill would likely result in a Presidential veto.

Sustainable Transportation Funding – Passage of the FAST Act, the $305 billion, five-year transportation funding bill, will be a boon to state transportation agencies, but that legislation did not address the fiscal instability of the Highway Trust Fund. HTF revenues, derived primarily from motor fuel taxes, will continue to dwindle with the proliferation of low-mileage and alternative fuel vehicles. More than $140 billion in general revenue has been transferred into the HTF since 2008, and Congress needs to find a long-term, sustainable funding solution.

Energy Policy – Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are considering bills to speed the permitting of natural gas export facilities, secure the electric transmission grid, and generally make the nation's energy abundant, efficient, affordable, clean, diverse, reliable and secure.  Enactment of a comprehensive energy bill will enhance the nation's security and promote economic growth.

Aviation and Airport Investment – Over the next five years, airports will need $71 billion to update aging facilities, relieve delays and congestion and promote safety and security. Direct federal funding through the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program (AIP) has not been increased for more than a decade.  Passenger Facility Charges have been capped at $4.50 for 15 year and inflation has eroded the purchasing power of PFCs by half.

ACEC Ohio members met with these members of Ohio's Congressional delegation (or in some cases with members of their staff: Senator Rob Portman and Senator Sherrod Brown;  Representatives Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati); Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeview); Dave Joyce (R-Russell Twp.); Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo); Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green); Jim Renacci (R-Alliance); Tim Ryan (D-Niles); Steve Stivers (R-Columbus); Pat Tiberi (R-Galena); and Mike Turner (R-Dayton).

Also during the convention, Thomas E. Mosure, a past president of ACEC Ohio, was installed as a vice chairman of the national council.

 


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