- First and foremost, the PPP program was an extraordinary response to a national emergency that was created to save jobs. It doesnt fit in the FAR, and the decision to apply it to PPP loans without consulting Congress or giving stakeholders the chance to comment is flawed;
- Some US Senators view this as double-dipping. Its also unfair to apply a double-dipping standard to one industry while other businesses working on the very same infrastructure projects such as construction contractors and other firms are allowed to keep their loans;
- The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) asked for modifications to the amendment to narrow the waiver of FAR credits clause to situations where the PPP loan was used to save jobs, while not waiving the clause for other PPP-allowable expenses like rent and utilities. This is a fair compromise that ACEC supports and ensures that the waiver only applies to the most important part of PPP, which was to keep people employed;
- Finally, the federal government cannot guarantee fair treatment for engineering firms, which run the very real risk of losing more than what they took in PPP loans if this policy is allowed to proceed. Many engineering and land surveying firms work for multiple State DOTs and local agencies that use the FAR rate, where firms will be required to lower their rates for each contract with each agency client to “credit” back the value of the PPP loan. There is no requirement or mechanism in place to ensure coordination among DOTs to prevent firms from crediting more than what is appropriate, nor is FHWA equipped to oversee and manage this process to ensure that firms arent harmed.
On the PPP issue, we appear to be very close to have at least two Senators take the lead on an amendment to waive the FAR credits clause as it applies to PPP loans
The amendment sponsors are already thinking about next steps on alternative legislative vehicles for the PPP fix, and there may even be an opportunity on this legislation in the House. We’ll keep you informed as this campaign continues.
The White House and a bipartisan group of Senators announced an agreement on a bipartisan infrastructure deal on 7/. Attached is a summary from the White House highlights include $550 billion in new investment overall, including $110 billion in new funding for roads, $39 billion in new funding for transit projects, over $100 billion for water projects and resiliency, $73 billion in clean energy, as well as funding for airports, rail, waterways, electric vehicles and other priorities. Its possible that the Senate could work through the weekend and/or into next week to complete the process. Well provide you with updates and more information as this process moves forward.
House Bill Background: In the House, ACEC won a partial fix to the PPP/FAR credits clause issue in the bill, limiting the FAR credit to federal dollars in contract payments and thereby preventing state DOTs from applying the FAR provision to state-funded contracts
Staff with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) are talking to the staff with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and they endment. Were still uncertain whether there will be an amendment process or whether we can secure our language into the base text of the bill, but having Senators making the ask on our behalf takes this campaign to a new level.
On , the US House passed the $720 billion INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684) which includes a five-year $592 billion surface transportation reauthorization, $54 billion for clean water infrastructure, and $105 billion over 10 years for drinking water infrastructure and the replacement of lead service lines.