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The VRMCA Government Relations Committee coordinated a number of meetings with key Congressional representatives early this fall with the intention of engaging our representatives for a discussion on the current political landscape. More importantly however, the group wanted to voice support and/or concerns regarding specific legislation.

These meetings also served another purpose. They were a fantastic substitute for the federal advocacy session of the Concrete Leadership Program. With restrictions in place due to COVID-19, face-to-face meetings aren’t likely to happen anytime soon. These virtual meetings were a great way for the CLP participants to interface with legislators and begin to establish relationships.

Conversations focused on two specific topics: infrastructure spending and COVID-19 relief. VRMCA representatives stressed support for investing in large, capital, and labor-intensive projects believing they will support steady job creation, economic recovery, and development in communities across the Commonwealth in the coming years. Of particular note, the team requested the Congressional representatives:

  • support long-term surface transportation reauthorization
  • oppose negative truck provisions in the Moving America Forward Act (H.R. 2)
    • increasing minimum liability insurance coverage for heavy trucks
    • delay of FMCSA Hours of Service rule
    • underride protection mandates – rear impact guards on trailers and semi-trailers
    • mandatory sleep apnea screenings for commercial motor vehicle drivers
  • support additional funding for state Departments of Transportation (DOTs)

Also discussed was the need to help the concrete industry recover from the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. VRMCA shared the belief that Phase 4 relief legislation should take steps to help businesses through this difficult time, provide liability protection, and provide a backstop to state departments of transportation by:

  • supporting expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)
  • supporting Paycheck Protection Program reforms, including:
    • clarification on forgiveness eligibility and “necessity”
    • ensuring that tax deductible expenses remain tax deductible
    • including 501c6 organizations
  • supporting funding for State DOTs to reinstate canceled or postponed projects
  • supporting liability protections for businesses

While no specific promises were made by any of the representatives, the information shared was welcomed and the needs of our industry heard.