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Welcome to the NASHTU Website

 

The National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU) is dedicated to ensuring that federal transportation dollars are spent on cost-effective, safe projects that serve the public interest.  NASHTU is comprised of 38 unions and associations representing hundreds of thousands of state and locally employed transportation engineers, construction managers and inspectors, technical workers and related public servants from throughout the United States.

 

 

NASHTU 2015 Conference Dates -- April 20-22

Save the date! The 16th Annual NASHTU Conference will be held on Monday, April 20 through Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. 

The NASHTU Conference is a good opportunity for NASHTU members to come together and share information. The annual conferences have demonstrated that outsourcing for engineering, technical, and other transportation services is a problem in nearly every state. By coming together and sharing strategies and perspectives, NASHTU helps each member union be more successful in its fight to limit outsourcing. Even though outsourcing has proven to be wasteful and inefficient, it has strong political and ideological support in many state and local governments and transportation agencies. 

If you have any suggestions for speakers, panel topics, or interesting subjects for the conference, please let us know.



Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee for Highways and Transit, was a featured speaker at the 2014 NASHTU Conference.

 

NASHTU News

ALEC in the news again…

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a notoriously conservative organization that cultivates relationships between corporate special interests and state lawmakers, can no longer count Google as one of its members. Google bowed to public pressure after the Sierra Club, major unions, and other government watchdog groups penned a letter asking Google to sever ties with the controversial organization. ALEC has recently faced slipping membership numbers after public backlash against the organization’s efforts to introduce boilerplate bills advancing conservative proposals such as laws on Voter ID requirements, Stand Your Ground, Climate Change denials, and union-busting measures. 

As you may remember, 2014 NASHTU conference attendees heard a presentation from Lisa Graves, who through her role as the head of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), exposed the secretive inner workings of ALEC. NASHTU attendees also viewed a documentary (The United States of ALEC) that chronicled CMD’s investigation. 

Read the full story here. 


As we reported last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Special Panel on Public-Private Partnerships (P3) released its final report on using P3s to deliver transportation infrastructure. Overall, NASHTU was pleased with many of the findings and recommendations to create more transparency and accountability in P3 transactions and urged public sector involvement for critical roles such as construction inspection. 

In addition to the press release that we sent out last week, NASHTU also drafted letters on the report and sent it to all Members of Congress who served on the panel.

Click here to read NASHTU’s letter to the Chairman of the Special Panel, Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN).

 

 

Hats off to Jimmy Tarlau!


Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD) with NASHTU Founding Member Jimmy Tarlau

Jimmy Tarlau, one of NASHTU’s original founders, has won the Democratic Primary for Maryland State Delegate, District 47A. Jimmy was competing against five other Democrats for two seats and he was the top vote getter, with 26.7% of the vote. Jimmy now moves on to the November General Election. District 47A is heavily Democratic so Jimmy’s election to the Maryland Statehouse is likely. Congratulations to Jimmy Tarlau!

 

 

 

News Stories

 

  • House rejects Senate highway bill July 31, 2014 (The Hill) – WASHINGTON – The House on Thursday shot down legislation from the Senate that would have extended federal transportation funding until December. The 272-150 vote puts pressure on Senate Democrats to accept the House-passed transportation bill, which would provide funding until next spring and avert a late summer shutdown of construction projects. Read the full story.

  • Obama to Congress: Finish highway bill before recess July 30, 2014 (The Hill) – WASHINGTON – President Obama pushed lawmakers on Wednesday to finish working on a bill to extend federal transportation funding before they leave Washington for the August recess. Lawmakers spent much of Wednesday squabbling over competing versions of a short-term extension that would prevent road and transit funding from drying up next month. Read the full story.

  • Senate steps closer to 'highway cliff' July 29, 2014 (Politico) – WASHINGTON – The Senate has passed a bill to rescue highway and transit funding that House Speaker John Boehner says he won’t accept, keeping the specter of a “highway cliff” alive with just days before Congress is set to leave for its August recess. Read the full story.

  • Senate Dems to take up House's highway bill July 22, 2014 (The Hill) – WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he plans to hold a vote on the $10.9 billion House measure extending transportation funding until the spring as early as Wednesday. Read the full story.

  • House Passes Highway Bill as Deadline LoomsJuly 15, 2014 (Associated Press) – WASHINGTON – With an August deadline looming, the House voted Tuesday to temporarily patch over a multibillion-dollar pothole in federal highway and transit programs while ducking the issue of how to put them on a sound financial footing for the long term. Read the full story.

  • Short-Term Highway Fund Boost Gets Both Parties’ Support  July 10, 2014 (Bloomberg News) – WASHINGTON – Lawmakers in Congress are uniting behind a plan to replenish the U.S. fund for road and mass-transit projects through May 2015 as they delay a debate over raising taxes for long-term infrastructure financing. Read the full story.

  • House proposes $10.5B, eight-month highway bill July 8, 2014 (The Hill) – WASHINGTON – The House Ways and Means Committee is proposing a $10.5 billion, eight-month transportation funding bill to push the debate over road and transit spending into the next Congress. Read the full story.

  • White House to Congress: Fix highway funding after recess, 2014 (The Hill) — WASHINGTON — The White House said Thursday that Congress will have to make preventing a bankruptcy in federal transportation funding a priority after the Fourth of July holiday break. Read the full story.

  • Obama says no executive action on transportation funding July 3, 2014 (The Hill) — WASHINGTON — President Obama said Thursday that he would have to rely on Congress to approve a transportation funding fix, even as he has goaded GOP critics of his executive actions in other areas. Read the full story.

  • Dem bill would pay for Highway Trust Fund by closing corporate tax breaks July 3, 2014 (The Hill) — WASHINGTON — Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) have introduced a bill that would maintain the Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to dry up this summer, by closing tax breaks for corporate expatriations. Read the full story.

  • Obama Urges Congress to Fund Infrastructure Projects July 1, 2014 (New York Times) — WASHINGTON — President Obama called on congressional Republicans on Tuesday to take quick action to fund infrastructure projects throughout the country, arguing that failing to do so could mean huge layoffs for Americans this year. Read the full story.

  • Senators propose 12-cent Gas Tax Increase June 18, 2014 (Washington Post) — WASHINGTON — Two senators unveiled a bipartisan plan Wednesday to raise federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time in more than two decades, pitching the proposal as a solution to Congress’ struggle to pay for highway and transit programs. Read the full story.

  • Lawmaker Wants State to Study If Mileage Fee Could Replace Gas Tax May 14, 2014 (Los Angeles Times) — With California’s gas tax unable to keep up with road maintenance needs, one state lawmaker has proposed a study to determine the feasibility of instead taxing motorists based on the number of miles they drive. Read the full story.

  • Not Getting Their Money's Worth January 4, 2014 (New York Times) — At first glance, two recent crises to hit the White House — the revelations about unlawful surveillance and the botched health care rollout — have nothing in common. But each is a reminder of the increasing extent to which government work has been contracted out to private-sector companies. Currently, Washington spends about $500 billion a year on private-sector contracts, more than twice the amount in 2000. Read the full story.

  • Private Toll Road Investors Shift Revenue Risk to States November 26, 2013 (Bloomberg.com) — Companies that build private toll roads are pressing states to assume more financial risk of traffic not meeting expectations, a change that benefits the operators while threatening to increase taxpayer costs. Read the full story.

  • Public-Private Partnerships Are Popular, But Are They Practical? November 1, 2013 (Governing.com) — The message was clear: America’s infrastructure is struggling, but the private sector can help. “No one wants another bridge to collapse, as did the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge,” testified a Morgan Stanley official. That tragedy, which killed 13 people, underscores the need for expanded new, federally subsidized financing tools, he told Congress. Read the full story.

  • How parking meters killed privatization of Midway Airport
    September 13, 2013 (Washington Post) — At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, the chairman of a major finance company addressed the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships. “Desperate government,” he said, “is our best customer.” Read the full story.

  • Across U.S., bridges crumble as repair funds fall short 
    September 3, 2013 (Los Angeles Times) — America's roads and bridges have been eroding for decades, but the deeper they fall into disrepair, the less money there is to fix them. First, the recession crippled local budgets, cutting the money available for transportation projects. As states began to recover, the federal government adopted its own mandatory budget cuts via sequestration. Then last month, the federal legislation that annually funds transportation projects across the country hit a roadblock of Republican opposition that throttled multibillion-dollar transportation bills in the House and Senate. Read the full story.

  • The Loss of The Public Good
    August 21, 2013 (Baltimore Sun) — Much of the rest of what's considered "public" has become so shoddy that those who can afford to do so find private alternatives. As public schools deteriorate, the upper-middle class and wealthy send their kids to private ones. As public pools and playgrounds decay, the better-off buy memberships in private tennis and swimming clubs. As public hospitals decline, the well-off pay premium rates for private care. Read the full story.

  • HOT Lanes Are Even More Popular When They're Expensive
    August 19, 2013 (Atlantic Cities) — Everyday, sometimes twice a day, commuters in the increasing number of U.S. metro areas with a HOT lane ask themselves that timeless question: to pay, or not to pay. How they answer depends on the toll price, which charges single-occupancy cars for HOT access based on congestion levels. Logic suggests that as the toll goes up, fewer drivers would fork over the money — for the same reason we sit coach on a plane once we see the price of first-class. Read the full story.

  • Silver Spring Transit Center’s inspectors ran poor concrete tests, report says
    March 26, 2013 (Washington Post) — The firm hired by Montgomery County to perform field inspections on the Silver Spring Transit Center improperly tested the strength of concrete, apparently failed to measure its thickness and didn’t raise sufficient concerns when the concrete started to crack, according to independent engineers and county officials. Read the full story.

  • Old tax, new fees among options for highway funding
    June 6, 2013 (Politico) — The next highway and transit bill might be more than a year away, but a string of major infrastructure failures has lawmakers and advocates already thinking about how to boost funding. Read the full story.

  • Obama to Nominate Anthony Foxx as Transportation Secretary
    April 28, 2013 (Reuters) — President Barack Obama plans to nominate on Monday Charlotte, North Carolina, Mayor Anthony Foxx to be his next transportation secretary, a White House official said on Sunday. Read the full story.

  • Obama wants $50B for roads, $40B for rail, MAP-21 extension in 2014 budget
    April 10, 2013 (The Hill) — President Obama's 2014 budget proposal calls for Congress to approve $50 billion in immediate spending on U.S. highways and $40 billion on long-distance railways. Read the full story.

  • I will not serve a second term; but we have more work to do
    January 29, 2013 (USDOT) — One of the best things about the four years that I (USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood) have served in this office is the ability to share the achievements of DOT with readers of this blog. It's no secret that I value the work we do here, and it has been a pleasure to demonstrate that twice daily on the Fast Lane. Read the full story.

  • Deficit-Reduction Talks May Fuel Gas Tax Increase
    December 6, 2012 (Fed Watch) — Leaders of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will try to introduce a new surface transportation bill at the very onset of 2014, according to a committee aid who outlined the expected timeline of the legislation. Read the full story.

  • Raise Gas Taxes, Avoid the Fiscal Cliff?
    November 27, 2012 (U.S. News and World) — A group of natural gas and oil organizations sent a letter to members of Congress Tuesday morning, urging them to think twice before leveling any tax increases on the industry as part of fiscal cliff negotiations. Read the full story.

  • Click Here for Older Entries

 

 

 

OMB Cracks Down on Wasteful Outsourcing

 

February 4, 2011

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released a status report on their efforts to curb wasteful government contracting.  In FY 2010, federal agencies spent nearly $80 billion less than they would have if contract spending continued to grow at the same rate it had under the prior Administration.  NASHTU applauds the Obama Administration’s success in contracting reform for federal agencies, but to make government spending even more efficient, these efforts should be expanded to target federally-funded programs as well. 

 

June 14, 2010

Read Representative Judy Chu’s (D-CA) letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asking that the federal contracting reforms be expanded to apply to all state and local projects that use federal funds. 

 

March 31, 2010

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) released its draft policy letter defining inherently governmental functions that should be performed only by government employees.  Read the Federal Register Notice

 

 

October 27, 2009

WASHINGTON, October 27 – In an attempt to crack down on mismanaged and wasteful federal contracting practices while strengthening oversight and accountability capacity across the government, the Obama Administration has issued guidance today that requires federal agencies to increase the capability and capacity of the civilian agency acquisition workforce to ensure sufficient management and oversight of acquisition dollars.

 

The guidance also provides specific instructions for agencies to avoid high-risk contracts that can result in excessive costs being passed on to taxpayers.

 

July 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, July 29 — President Obama in conjunction with the OMB formally unveiled contracting and workforce reforms that are designed to save the taxpayers at least $40 billion a year. The reforms, released today, focuses on three areas: improving acquisition, managing the multi-sector workforce, and contractor performance information.

 

"Today’s guidance is a major step forward in providing the federal government with the capacity to carry out robust and thorough management and oversight of its contracts in order to achieve programmatic goals, avoid significant overcharges, and stop wasteful spending," said OMB Director Peter Orszag.

 

 

 

March 4, 2009

WASHINGTON, March 4 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the U.S. government was paying too much for things it did not need and ordered a crackdown on spending he declared "plagued by massive cost overruns and outright fraud."

 

The Democrat, under fire from Republicans for the $3.5 trillion price tag for his 2010 budget plan, also took aim at predecessor George W. Bush and noted the cost of government contracts had doubled to more than half a trillion dollars over the past eight years. 

 

Click here to read the Presidential Memorandum