By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

ARTBA continues its regulatory advocacy on behalf of its members ahead of the year-end holidays and January inauguration of a new presidential administration. The association recently weighed in on easing innovation to the marketplace, smoothing payroll relief efforts during the pandemic, and supporting state oversight of environmental reviews that impact transportation projects.

In brief:

  • A letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao urged the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to include a repeal of the prohibition on patented and proprietary products in the forthcoming update of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).  ARTBA noted repealing the MUTCD’s ban on proprietary products would be consistent with the agency’s earlier repeal of a similar ban for general construction.

  • Comments to the Small Business Administration (SBA) addressed the Loan Necessity Questionnaire for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), aimed at participants with loans of $2 million or more. ARTBA focused on issues specific to transportation construction forms participating in the PPP and urged SBA to allow companies greater opportunities to explain why they chose to participate in the program.

  • In a related effort, ARTBA also urged Congress to allow companies a second opportunity to apply for PPP loans as well as supported streamlined forgiveness for loans of $150,000 or less, and pressed for treating loans as tax deductible.

  • Supported the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) delegation program in Arizona.  ARTBA has consistently supported NEPA delegation in multiple states to reduce costs and delays in the project review process while maintaining environmental safeguards.