AGC of America Advocacy
Friday, June 16, 2023
Section: AGC National

No Regulation without Representation

AGC pushes back on Biden administration efforts to regulate industry with as little industry input as possible in the development of regulations.   

On June 6, AGC and its allies delivered a first set of recommendations on Biden administration guidance implementing a new executive order that significantly changes the process of developing regulations. The guidance would effectively close the door on the very entities that stand to bear the compliance cost of a proposed regulation.

It does this by limiting the business community’s access to the administration during the inter-agency review process, while encouraging feedback from groups that ordinarily would not engage in the regulatory process. The executive order also raises the threshold of a significant regulatory action, meaning fewer regulations would be required to undergo traditional reviews. AGC encourages the Administration to abandon the executive order.

The Administration has provided an extension of the comment period to June 20, 2023, for related policy changes to Office of Management and Budget Circular No. A-4, ‘Regulatory Analysis.’ AGC will respond to the proposed changes to the A-4 circular in a separate set of comments.

AGC to FHWA: Expedite Project Delivery

AGC calls on FHWA to make funds available to state DOTs to hire additional staff and better educate them on recent permitting reforms.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with $100 million to facilitate efficient and effective reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). On June 1, AGC outlined how that money could best be spent to ensure that states can break ground on road and bridge projects and ensure the success of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). These projects that require more thorough environmental reviews are the larger projects that provide tangible benefits to the lives of Americans.

Unfortunately, these are also the projects that get tied up in years of paperwork and delays, often due to staffing constraints. That is why AGC called on FHWA to make these funds available to state DOTs to hire additional staff. By providing funds to assist with staff capacity constraints at state DOTs we believe that more projects will be let on time.

In addition, AGC called on FHWA to better educate state DOT and FHWA Division staff on recent permitting reforms to ensure that project sponsors are taking advantage of these new efficiencies. Likewise, they should develop resources to encourage more states to take on NEPA assignment responsibilities. Taking on these responsibilities at the state level has provided significant benefits in time and cost savings for states like Texas.

If we reach the final year of the IIJA and there are not completed projects in every community, then the IIJA could end up being a once in a lifetime law rather than the new norm. AGC continues to urge FHWA to not use the funding to put new hurdles in place for states and construction companies to get projects done in a safe, efficient and timely manner.