One of the primary missions of NUCA over the decades has been representing the interests of excavation and utility contractors at the federal level. Integral to achieving that task is the Government Relations Committee, whose goal is to increase both the education and advocacy of NUCA members in legislative and regulatory involvement. It is a two-fold mission: identify the legislative and regulatory priorities, and then help members understand the issues and give them the tools to best act on those priorities.
The committee meets approximately six times per year, either in person or via conference calls. Of course, the showcase event for the committee is the annual Washington Summit, which is planned for May 22-24. The Summit gives NUCA members a rare chance to meet face-to-face with their congressional representatives and let them know the issues most directly impacting them. The top priority currently facing the committee is promoting and getting an infrastructure bill passed.
According to Will Brown, NUCA’s director of Government Affairs, this year presents a unique opportunity for utility contractors. “There is a great opportunity in the current climate, especially on the heels of the President’s unveiling of an infrastructure spending plan,” he said. “However, that is counterbalanced by the propensity of legislation to stall in Congress due to partisan issues. Still, there is a great opportunity to get infrastructure projects moving forward.”
In the past, the Government Relations Committee has scored significant wins, including passage of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which has led to more than $1 billion in new funding for water projects. The committee has also successfully lobbied for legislation related to tax reform, reducing limitations on Private Activity Bonds, and issues related to workforce development.
The Government Relations Committee, chaired by Tom Butler, Burgess Civil LLC, Tampa, Florida, works closely with the Political Action Committee in determining the direction of lobbying efforts and which representatives and candidates to support.
NUCA members are welcomed to participate in the Government Relations Committee. “By being involved with the committee you are able to educate yourself on the different issues that are NUCA priorities,” Brown said. “These issues affect the lives and businesses of excavation and utility contractors, and by working together we can help create an atmosphere that makes their businesses run more smoothly.
“Getting involved with the committee not only helps educate people, but it also spurs them to take action regarding legislative and regulatory outreach, as well as help determine our next priorities.”