NUCA Government Relations is dedicated to improving the business environment for utility and excavation contractors nationwide. NUCA employs lobbying and grassroots advocacy to measurably impact legislation and regulation to benefit our members, industry, and businesses.
The longer we wait to tackle deteriorating infrastructure, the more difficult and expensive the remedy will be. NUCA must help lawmakers understand the scope of our infrastructure needs, as well as the economic benefits of investing in solutions. NUCA must work to secure strong funding for existing programs that support infrastructure and explore other policies to help states and localities address their water needs.
The EPA's State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, the EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program, and the USDA's Rural Utility Services (RUS) are some of the most important federal programs that make investments in water infrastructure. These programs have a significant return on investment and have proven to be a responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Not only do these programs address our nation’s significant infrastructure needs, but they also sustain good paying construction jobs. For these reasons, Congress should support robust funding for these programs.
Private Activity Bonds
PABs allow state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance infrastructure. Drinking water and sewer projects are eligible for these bonds, but there is currently a limit on how much can be financed annually using these bonds. Lifting the cap on PABs will infuse private capital into water and wastewater projects. America needs hundreds of billions of dollars to fix, modernize, and upgrade our water infrastructure to a safe and reliable level and allowing for increased private investment has the potential to provide more funding than the federal government alone can appropriate.
Each year, America's underground utility infrastructure--pipelines, electric distribution, natural gas, water, sewer, and telecommunications lines--is jeopardized by unintentional damage due to failing to have underground lines located prior to digging. Such erroneous strikes has unintended consequences, such as service interrputions, enviornmental damage, personal injury, and even death. The One-Call program through 811 was designed in 2005 to prevent these accidents and remind all excavators that America’s underground infrastructure is made up of a complex network of pipelines, wires and cables. Failure to call before digging results in more than 200,000 unintentional and costly hits annually across the nation. NUCA and the Common Ground Alliance are dedicated to increasing public and industry awareness about damage prevention to our nation's fragile infrastructure.
The construction industry is facing a workforce shortage, and we must ensure that NUCA members have the qualified workforce they need to construct America's infrastructure. NUCA is tackling this issue through two related initiatives. First, we are supportive of efforts that align technical and vocational training with in-demand jobs and the skills employers need. Second, we support reforms that enable our industry to connect with students and other individuals and ease the barriers to highlighting the benefits of a career in the construction industry.
NUCA members’ top priority is the safety of their employees and their operations. This is evident through the way they run their businesses and their participation in NUCA’s voluntary safety initiatives, including our annual Trench Safety Stand Down.
NUCA Government Relations works with federal regulators to ensure that any regulations will protect workers and are based on sound evidence and the realities of our industry’s operations. Unfortunately, our members know that there are too many regulations that fail to achieve their aims while only saddling businesses with additional red tape. Oftentimes, these regulations are the result of bureaucrats ignoring the business community’s input.
To improve the regulatory environment for our members, NUCA tracks regulatory activity and ensures that we communicate with federal agencies and lawmakers about its impact on our industry. We must make sure our voice is heard while these regulations are developed, and when necessary, take action to stop regulations that are unnecessarily burdening our businesses.
Some federal regulations NUCA tracks are:
Indirectly Related Priorities
We understand our members also deal with issues that are not specific to the construction and utility industry, but affect the business community more generally. Issues such as healthcare, immigration, trade, and tax are constantly monitored by the NUCA team. When appropriate, NUCA takes action to influence the legislation and regulations impacting these areas.
If you would like to receive current updates on these utility construction industry issues, you can sign up for Political Insiders, an email newsletter with all you need to know about NUCA Government Relations's lobbying/advocacy efforts and governmental activity impacting our industry. Political Insiders is sent regularly when Congress is in session, or at least every 45 days to subscribers.
To sign up, please contact NUCA Director of Communications Robert Baylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.