ACEC Transportation Committee Meeting Minutes by sanmelody

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									                              ACEC Transportation Committee
                                     Meeting Minutes
                                       April 26, 2010
                             Grand Hyatt Hotel ~ Washington, DC

1. Chairman David Oates called the meeting to order.
2. Chairman Oates introduced the current and incoming subcommittee chairs.
3. The Committee received an update on the reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU from Tom
   Lynch, staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
   (Senator Max Baucus, chair), and James O’Keeffe, senior economist for the Senate
   Committee on Environment and Public Works (Senator James Inhofe, Senior Republican
   Member).
    The committee is making progress in drafting a new highway and transit authorization
      bill, but the shortfall of revenues into the Highway Trust Fund is a huge obstacle.
    The Trust Fund is solvent in to 2013, but revenues are not sufficient to support current
      funding levels after that. There is a $33 billion shortfall over the next 6 years, even
      without the recommended cash flow cushion. An additional $130 billion in revenue is
      necessary to support House Chairman Oberstar’s proposed $450 billion bill.
    It is difficult to set priorities when it is unclear how the bill will be financed.
    User fee financing is essential for maintaining multi-year funding guarantees and budget
      contract authority for states. Revenue proposals like a transaction tax on commodities
      trading and oil speculators, or a crude oil import tax, could lose that user fee connection
      and threaten multi-year contracting authority, which would subject transportation
      programs to the annual appropriations process and potential diversion for other uses.
    There is no political will to enact a fuel tax increase and there are not 60 votes in the
      Senate to pass it. It is not popularly supported by the public, and Senators are worried
      about backlash in the November elections from any tax increase.
    The current political environment makes it difficult to enact any significant legislation.
      The larger the bill, the more difficult it becomes.
    If the funding for the program does not increase, then the various constituencies and
      interest groups will be fighting for limited resources. Groups like ACEC should stick to
      the bigger picture message of enacting a robust bill, not starting to fight over details or
      specific programs.
    If Congress fails to enact a bill before the end of the year, the process must essentially
      start over in 2011 with a new Congress. After August 2011, the politics of the 2012
      presidential election could interfere with legislative activity.
    The next bill is likely to include research and expanded pilot projects for VMT-based
      user charges, but Senators and the public are very wary of the privacy implications of a
      system that tracks where and when you drive. The transition to a viable VMT system
      will not take place in this bill.
    When considering tolling, public-private partnerships and other financing options, the
      Senate will consider those issues in light of the proper federal role in facilitating interstate
      commerce and travel in the context of a national transportation program. Those
      mechanisms tend to work well on a project-specific basis, but they are not sufficient to
      finance a national program.
4. Subcommittee chair Dan Purvine presented an update from the Audit Subcommittee.


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   a. Audit Guide Overview
        Substantial progress is being made toward a uniform set of audit rules.
        Compensation, audit quality and cognizance were key areas of focus during
           development of the Audit Guide.
        Remaining issues include National Compensation Matrix as FHWA has not yet
           endorsed the recommendation or agreed to create a matrix.
        Training initiatives are ongoing. All stakeholders are engaging in educational
           opportunities.
        Reports from FHWA indicate that they still intend to incorporate Audit Guide into a
           future rulemaking.
   b. Audit Guide Implementation Issues
        Implementation issues exist in numerous states in areas of compensation and
           consistency with Audit Guide.
        ACEC members were asked to inform ACEC Transportation Committee Staff
           (Vivian Moeglein or Matt Reiffer) of any implementation issues they are
           experiencing in their state.
        ACEC is working closely with FHWA and AASHTO to address implementation
           issues on a state-by-state basis.
   c. Cost Recovery / OIG Audit
        Cost Recovery is a result of the OIG Report and it is being conducted in a two step
           process – finalize audit findings, then determine cost recovery.
        Most affected firms are still undergoing review of audit findings.
        Cost recovery issues include compensation and FAR unallowables.
        FHWA Deadlines - March 31 was the deadline for completion of the first part of the
           cost recovery process; however; that deadline has been extended as firms are still
           working with DCAA to determine their final audit findings. October 31 is the
           deadline for completing the cost recovery effort.
   d. Compensation Surveys / Compensation Survey Taskforce
        ACEC Taskforce is developing executive compensation survey standards.
        The goal is to work with survey companies to implement these standards.
        We will encourage ACEC member firms to participate in the surveys to improve data
           quality.
        Early feedback from survey companies has been positive.
5. Jim Porter, incoming chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, gave an update on the FAA
   reauthorization bill.
   a. The House passed its version of the bill (H.R. 915) in May 2009. That bill contained the
       following provisions of interest to ACEC members:
        Increase in Airport Improvement Program funding to $4 billion in 2010, $4.1 billion
           in 2011, and $4.2 billion in 2012. AIP funding has been flat at $3.5 billion for the last
           4 years, while the current program has been extended 12 times since originally
           expiring in September 2007.
        The Passenger Facility Charge cap was raised to $7 per flight segment, up from the
           current $4.50, which has the potential for $1.1 billion additional annual funding for
           airport development. $2.9 billion was collected in PFCs in 2009.




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           The bill mandates QBS on PFC-funded airside projects, under an amendment
            developed by ACEC and supported by House Transportation Committee Chairman
            Oberstar.
         In a novel concept, the bill raises aviation fuel taxes to finance air traffic control
            modernization.
     b. After years of inaction, the Senate finally passed their companion bill (H.R. 1586) in
        March. Like the House bill, it increases AIP funding to $4 billion in 2010, $4.1 billion in
        2011. It is only a two-year bill, while the House bill extends through 2012. The Senate
        did not raise the cap on PFCs, simply because they knew the House did and they will
        negotiate over the final number. The Senate bill passed by a vote of 93-0, because they
        avoided controversial labor issues included in the House bill.
     c. The House and Senate committees are negotiating the final bill now. Passage of a
        multiyear FAA reauthorization bill will be a focus of ACEC lobbying and our Hill visits
        later this week.
6.   Outgoing Environment Subcommittee chair Hal Kassoff presented a report to the Committee.
     a. The two biggest successes of the subcommittee over the past several years have been the
        streamlining provisions of SAFETEA-LU and the initiative with AASHTO and FHWA
        to improve the quality of environmental documents.
     b. Climate change legislation and sustainability initiatives are the biggest issue facing the
        subcommittee.
     c. The climate bills under consideration in Congress have two primary impacts on
        transportation: (1) the political resistance to depositing revenues from a carbon tax on
        transportation fuels into the Highway Trust Fund, which would divert resources and
        undermine any other effort to raise the gas tax; and (2) new planning and project
        development requirements that require project sponsors to meet stringent emission targets
        set by EPA and/or the state.
7.   Incoming Environment Subcommittee chair Pete Mesha highlighted two issues for the
     Committee.
     a. Congress is increasingly disposed to enacting changes to transportation policy outside of
        traditional transportation-specific legislation. ACEC and the committee members should
        closely monitor linkages of non-transportation legislation – such as climate change,
        livability, clean air, clean water, etc.
     b. ACEC and its members need to use the term “sustainability” sparingly and ensure that its
        definition and meaning is clearly defined.
8.   Subcommittee chair John Kurgan presented a report from the Rail & Transit Subcommittee.
     a. The subcommittee has recently been involved in two issues: (1) a QBS problem with the
        project management oversight contractor program at the Federal Transit Administration,
        and (2) liability, indemnification and other problematic provisions in the standard Amtrak
        contract for consultant services.
9.   Subcommittee chair Peter Strub presented the Funding Subcommittee report.
     a. As part of the jobs bill Congress passed earlier this year, $19.5 billion was transferred
        into the Highway Trust Fund, essentially recapturing lost interest earned on the balance
        since 1998. The Highway Trust Fund is now projected to remain solvent through Fiscal
        Year 2012, under current funding levels and projected spending.
     b. The infusion of cash into the Highway Trust Fund is the third transfer in as many years:
        $8.1 billion in 2008, $7 billion in 2009, and now $19.5 billion. It is almost undoubtedly


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         the last such transfer that can be justified as maintaining the connection between user fees
         and transportation spending.
    c. At least $130 billion in additional revenue is needed to pay for the $450 billion bill
         proposed by House Chairman Oberstar. His latest proposal is to issue Treasury bonds
         and then pay it back with a future gas tax increase that wouldn’t take effect for at least 4
         years.
    d. Passing a transportation bill this year will be a focal point of the lobbying visits this
         week, with obvious attention paid to financing options.
10. Committee Chairman Oates provided an update on the ACEC-AASHTO Joint Committee,
    which is scheduled to meet on May 19 during AASHTO’s annual conference. The agenda
    will likely include an update on the transportation bill and funding options, implementation
    of the Audit Guide, cost recovery stemming from the IG report, and potential FHWA
    changes to consultant services regulations.
11. Matt Reiffer informed the committee that a task force has been appointed to develop
    recommendations and feedback on any rulemaking proposals from FHWA.
12. Jackie McCullough, Executive Director of ACEC/Nebraska, briefed the committee members
    on a recent transportation summit convened by Senator Ben Nelson, in response to concerns
    from ACEC and state and local agencies about slow federal project approvals and other
    regulatory burdens. FHWA Administrator Mendez attended the meeting and was influenced
    by the testimony of ACEC and the other participants about problems in the state. Progress
    since the summit has been slow but positive.
13. Vivian Moeglein gave an overview of recent cost cutting efforts by state DOTs and
    encouraged members to contact ACEC when these situations arise in their states. ACEC can
    provide briefing materials, talking points and legal analysis, and can liaison with federal
    agencies when necessary.
14. Chairman Oates announced that the next meeting of the Committee would be October 17-20
    at the ACEC Fall Conference in Puerto Rico.
15. The meeting was adjourned.




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                        ACEC Transportation Committee
                                 April 26, 2010
                       Grand Hyatt Hotel ~ Washington, DC

                                       Attendees
1. Walter Alix – Hubbell, Roth & Clark             32. Jay Lyman - David Evans &
2. Ed Alizadeh - GeoTechnology, Inc.                   Associates
3. Jimi Barna - E.L. Robinson                      33. Stu Mathis - STV/Ralph Whitehead
    Engineering                                        Associates
4. W. Arthur Barrett - Gannett Fleming             34. Jackie McCullough -
5. Foster Beach - Hatch Mott                           ACEC/Nebraska
    McDonald                                       35. Andrew McCune - Wade Trim
6. John Boldt - Clark Dietz                        36. Pete Mesha - Wight & Co.
7. David Bradshaw - Clark Nexsen                   37. Dwight Miller – Parametrix
8. Art Brooks - Strand Associates                  38. Rose Morgan - EMCS, Inc.
9. Fred Burchett - Kimley-Horn                     39. Todd Morris - Pennoni Associates
10. Bob Campbell - TranSystems                     40. Scott Murray - Stantec
11. Daniel Cheng - Johnson, Mirmiran &             41. Ralph Norman - Jacobs Engineering
    Thompson                                       42. David Oates – Oates Associates
12. Robert Close - Parsons Brinckerhoff            43. James Pappas – Stantec
13. Jeanne Cormier - H.W. Lochner, Inc.            44. Bert Parker - Garver
14. Andy Cummings - Connelly &                     45. Scott Perkins - Wilson & Co.
    Wicker                                         46. Jim Porter - J-U-B Engineers
15. Richard Deemer - Deemer Dana &                 47. Dan Purvine - Kimley-Horn
    Froehle                                        48. Rob Refvem - Felsburg, Holt &b
16. David Diestelkamp - Jacobs                         Ullevig
    Engineering                                    49. Cathy Ritter - Constellation Design
17. Michael Ellsberry - Huitt-Zollars                  Group
18. Charlie Geer - Kimley-Horn                     50. Tim Ross - George Butler Associates
19. Lloyd Graham - Parsons                         51. Glenn Schreiner - SHE
    Brinckerhoff                                   52. James David Sigler - Entran
20. Dean Groves - Fay, Spofford &                  53. Jay Skoog - ACEC/Montana
    Thorndike                                      54. C. Michael Smith - Mannik & Smith
21. Stephanie Hachem - Kimley-Horn                 55. Ross Snider - USI Consultants
22. Kevin Hagen - GRAEF                            56. Gary Steele - PMPC
23. Terry Helms - Helms & Associates               57. Harry Stephen - Century Engineering
24. Mark Henderson - LJB Inc.                      58. Peter Strub - TranSystems
25. John Herzke - Clark Nexsen                     59. Paul Tarvin - AECOM
26. Bob Hutteman - LU Engineers                    60. Richard C. Wells - Kleinfelder
27. Anthony Kamburis - Hatch Mott                  61. Ken Wightman - David Evans &
    McDonald                                           Associates
28. Hal Kassoff - Parsons Brinckerhoff             62. Mark Willis - Stantec
29. John Kurgan - Michael Baker                    63. George Wirth - Schnabel
30. Sia Kusha - HNTB                                   Engineering
31. Tom Long - Rowe Professional
    Services



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