The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has established the Hurricane Katrina Construction Workers Fund, through the AGC Education and Research Foundation, to provide financial assistance to the construction workers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who suffered financially from the disaster. AGC will work with the chapters in those states to establish criteria for eligibility, identify eligible victims and distribute contributions.
Many of the workers who are likely to benefit from this fund will be employed to participate in the clean-up and restoration of the cities and towns suffering damage.
Construction employment in the three states totaled nearly 275,000 in July, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (Figures are only available statewide; large parts of each state were unaffected).
Many of these employees are without income in the short term while they are attempting to rebuild their homes and replace furniture, clothing and household goods for themselves and their families.
Contributions should be made to the AGC Education and Research Foundation at www.agc.org/donate or by mailing a check to the AGC Education and Research Foundation (Hurricane Katrina Construction Workers Fund)/ 333 John Carlyle Street, Suite 200/ Alexandria, VA 22314. All contributions are fully deductible charitable contributions.
Legislation introduced to protect contractors
Legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that provides measured protections to contractors who repsond to declared federal, state and local emergencies or disasters.
“The Good Samaritan legislation is designed to provide contractors, such as those responding to Hurricane Katrina, with qualified immunity from liability when providing services in volunteer situations that arise from a disaster or emergency,” says AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “When construction expertise is needed, there should not be anything to make the construction industry hesitant in responding to help and possibly saving lives and property.”
Specifically, the bill would provide constuction entities with immunity from liability for negligence when providing services or equipment on a volunteer basis in repsonse to a declared emergency or disaster. It would not cover gross negligence or willful misconduct. Moreover, those protected under the bill would be providing such assistance at the direction of a public official acting in an official capacity.
New vision needed to meet growing needs, says ARTBA president
America’s transportation network is at a crossroads and meeting the challenges of the future will require policymakers at all levels of government to develop and embrace a new approach to transportation planning if the United States is to remain globally competitive, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) top executive says.
ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane, who has more than 35 years of experience in the economic development, transportation and construction fields, delivered his remarks at the 8th Annual Texas Transportation Summit in Irving during a keynote address about the new highway/transit reauthorization law.
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act — A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) — which was signed into law by President Bush August 10, is a step in the right direction, Ruane says, but will not come close to meeting the nation’s highway/transit needs identified in repeated government reports.
“The costs of improving and modernizing America’s transportation systems will be significant, but the costs of doing nothing for future U.S. economic growth, traffic congestion and air pollution levels and highway safety are far greater,” Ruane says. “President Eisenhower embraced a vision for transportation 50 years ago when he created the Interstate Highway System. It’s now time for policymakers and the President to formulate a new transportation vision for the next 50 years. It can be done, but it’s going to take the unprecedented involvement and leadership of the business community and political will by Congress.”
Adjusted for inflation, SAFETEA’s average annual funding gains are only 1.8 percent, compared to the real increases of six percent annually in the previous law — TEA-21. Traffic congestion levels will increasingly threaten business productivity and just-in-time delivery. There is also unlikely to be reduction in highway fatalities under the new law, ARTBA says.