Federal Issues

The national ACEC Government Affairs staff maintains a continual presence on Capitol Hill and is in constant contact with the federal agencies that do business with, or regulate, the engineering industry. 

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For additional areas ACEC is focused on this Congressional Session, please see fact sheets on:

FAA Reauthorization
On Friday, April 27th, the House of Representatives passed a five-year reauthorization of FAA programs that reflects many ACEC priorities.  The final vote tally was 393-13, demonstrating the broad bipartisan support for the bill once the controversial proposal to transfer air traffic control services out of FAA to a private corporation was removed from the bill.

We were able to secure a provision to expand the application of QBS to more airport projects, which was a big victory.  The House adopted an amendmentsponsored by Representatives Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) to modify existing A/E procurement rules for airports using Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds.  The revision would ensure that if any stage of a project is funded with AIP dollars, then the engineering and design portion must follow a QBS process.  The amendment is intended to discourage airports from segmenting A/E contracts with local funds to avoid federal QBS requirements (similar to the local match rules on federal-aid highway projects).

For airport infrastructure funding, the bill maintains the Airport Improvement Program at $3.35 billion for formula grants out of the Airport & Airways Trust Fund, and adds a new competitive grant program for small and medium-size airports.  The new discretionary grants would be funded from the General Fund and subject to annual appropriations, growing from $1.02 billion in Fiscal Year 2019 to $1.11 billion in FY 2023.  This essentially codifies the $1 billion in additional funds that were included in the FY'18 omnibus appropriations bill.

The bill also contains a significant increase in funding for FAA Facilities & Equipment, growing from $2.92 billion in currently authorized funding to $3.33 billion in FY'18 up to $3.7 billion in FY'23.

ACEC also supported provisions in the House bill to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace, including a risk-based permitting process for expanded commercial operations, and additional research and development into new and emerging technologies.

You can click here for more information on the bill from the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

Advancing the Business of Engineering