July 30, 2021
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Infrastructure Friday's Top Story
Pay-fors in the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure plan include $205 billion in unspent pandemic relief funds, $87 billion from spectrum auctions for 5G services, $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid and $49 billion from delaying a Medicare rebate rule, according to a Republican summary of the plan. The plan would also reinstate a tax on chemical manufacturers and would crack down on a tax enforcement for cryptocurrencies.
Full Story: The Associated Press (7/29) 
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Roads, Tunnels & Bridges
Roughly 20% of Iowa's bridges are in poor condition, meaning they are not necessarily dangerous but need to be repaired or replaced, according to the state Department of Transportation. The latest regular inspection of Iowa's nearly 24,000 bridges has also found more than 42% in fair condition and almost 40% in good condition.
Full Story: WOI-TV (Des Moines, Iowa) (7/28) 
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The Florida Department of Transportation is looking to save money on improvements to Interstate 4 by shifting its focus to toll or carpool lanes from elevated lanes. The department is value-engineering the project to ensure the reduced price yields similar safety and congestion relief.
Full Story: News 13 (Orlando, Fla.) (7/28) 
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Waterways, Canals & Ports
A Senate panel is considering changes to cost-benefit analyses carried out for projects by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Witnesses before the Environment and Public Works Committee have testified that current analyses are too rigid and should include such factors as climate resilience, water quality, soil stabilization, habitat and recreation.
Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model) (7/28) 
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Power Plants & Transmission Lines
The estimated cost of two reactors at Georgia's Plant Vogtle has increased by $1 billion, according to Southern Co. The company says construction of the $27 billion-plus project is taking longer than expected, with Unit 3 expected to come online in the second quarter.
Full Story: Statesboro Herald (Ga.) (7/29) 
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Mass Transit, Rails & Airports
Amtrak has a shared a 15-year plan to add service to 160 communities across 39 routes, including routes that connect Tucson, Ariz., to Phoenix and Los Angeles. The plan has garnered support from mayors in cities between Tucson and Phoenix.
Full Story: KOLD-TV/KMSB-TV/KTTV-TV (Tucson, Ariz.) (7/27) 
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Wastewater & Sanitation
Planning began in 2017 and construction began last month on the RiverRenew project in Alexandria, Va., providing a brief time frame to complete work to reduce combined sewer overflow. Such projects normally take much longer, and this one, which has a deadline of July 2025, involves a 2-mile-long tunnel, two diversion facilities, several deep shafts, two pumping stations and expansion of a sewer.
Full Story: American Society of Civil Engineers (7/28) 
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Levees, Dams & Hurricane Protection
This week has marked the long-awaited start of construction on a $760 million levee on the western side of Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain to provide storm protection. The project dates back five decades to congressional approval in 1971, followed by extensive surveying for difficult work in virgin swampland and poor soil that has to support a 15-foot levee.
Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model) (7/29) 
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The effects of climate change and severe weather on roads and bridges are the focus of the Climate Adaptation Action Plan issued by the Hawaii Department of Transportation. The plan envisions greater resilience against hazards such as storm surges, rockfalls, landslides and wildfires.
Full Story: KITV-TV (Honolulu) (7/27) 
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Association News
Registration has opened for AGC of America's inaugural National Construction Industry Workforce Summit. The summit, which is taking place Oct. 13 in St. Louis, is designed to bring together leaders in the construction and workforce development community to focus on establishing solutions to chronic worker shortages. During this daylong summit, construction and workforce development professionals will learn about successful programs that are helping recruit, develop and retain high-quality construction professionals. The goals of the summit are to identify a more consistent approach that industry should take to improve the workforce pipeline, leverage existing strategies proven successful and make connections that provide support and resources to attendees to continue addressing workforce development issues long after the summit ends. Contact Brian Turmail at brian.turmail@agc.org or 703-459-0238 for more information.
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AGC's latest BD Best Practice, "Why Negotiate vs. Traditional Bid Delivery," developed by Hal Routh of Equalizer9, walks AGC members and clients through the components of cost, showing that a general contractor's markup is not the driving force behind total cost. Furthermore, the white paper describes the most prevalent mistakes buyers of construction make on a regular basis. The white paper also describes the "smart way to buy construction services" and further explains the benefits of negotiated construction with regard to schedule efficiency, budget adherence and capturing the best subcontractor pricing.
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David A. Sinclair,
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