December 23, 2020
LEGISLATIVE NEWS
Congress Passes COVID Relief Package

Congress passed a historic $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief package this week. There were several provisions favorable to the construction industry. AGC of MN will have more information available about these provisions in the coming weeks should they be signed into law by President Trump. 

POLICIES IMPACTING PUBLIC & PRIVATE CONSTRUCTION MARKETS

  • FY 2021 Appropriations: Provides funding certainty through September 30, 2021 for federal and federal aid construction programs, including but not limited to transportation, military construction, state revolving loan funds for drinking and wastewater, federal buildings and Army Corps civil works construction programs
  • COVID-Relief for Transportation: An additional $10 billion for state departments of transportation, $14 billion for public transit agencies and $2 billion for airports. Estimates by ARTBA put MN at roughly $162.9 million allocation. 
  • Educational Facilities: May allow for some of the nearly $82 billion for education-related COVID-relief to be used for K-12 and higher education construction/renovation related to pandemic needs
  • Broadband: Provides $2 billion to rip out certain Chinese-made broadband equipment and replace it
  • Army Corps Civil Works: Includes the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which authorizes funding for 46 U.S. Army Corps of Civil Works projects (locks, dams, levees, so forth) and invests the nearly $10 billion balance in Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for harbor maintenance over 10 years

TAX & FISCAL POLICIES IMPACTING CONSTRUCTION FIRMS

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):
  • Loan Deductibility: Allows full deductibility of ordinary and necessary business expenses paid for with forgiven PPP loan funds (overturning the IRS position)
  • Loan Forgiveness: Expedites loan forgiveness for PPP loans less than $150,000
  • EIDL Impact: Repeals a CARE Act provision that required businesses to subtract Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advances from PPP loan forgiveness
  • Second Draw: Establishes a second draw for PPP loans (subject to more stringent eligibility requirements than the original PPP loan program, among other things)

Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC):
  • Extension of ERTC: Extends the ERTC through June 2021
  • PPP & ERTC: Allows PPP loan recipients to also collect the ERTC (which was prohibited under CARES Act) with respect to wages that are not paid for with forgiven PPP loan funds

POLICIES IMPACTING THE CONSTRUCTION WORKFORCE

  • FFCRA Paid Leave Mandates: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid-sick and paid-family leave mandates expire on Dec. 31, 2020 and are NOT extended into 2021. However, the bill extends the related refundable payroll tax credits through March 31, 2021
  • Unemployment Insurance: Provides an additional $300 per week to supplement all state and federal unemployment benefits, starting after December 26, 2020 and ending March 14, 2021.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
STP Registration Open for January

Registration is open for two Supervisory Training Program (STP) units beginning in January:

Wednesdays: January 13, 20, 27, February 3, 10 

Thursdays: January 14, 21, 28, February 4, 11
CM-Lean January Cohort

AGC of Minnesota will be starting another Lean cohort in January! More information to follow next week. Let Renee know if you'd like information as soon as registration opens.

  • Jan 26 & 28: Unit 1 (Variation in Production Systems)
  • Feb 2 & 4: Unit 2 (Pull in Production)
  • Feb 9 & 11: Unit 3 (Lean Workstructuring)
  • Feb 16 & 18: Unit 4 (The Last Planner System)
  • Feb 23, 24, 25: Unit 5 (Lean Supply Chain and Assembly)
  • March 2 & 4: Unit 6 (Lean Design and Pre-construction)
  • March 9, 10, 11: Unit 7 (Problem-solving Principles and Tools (includes 2-hour exam prep)
GENERAL NEWS
Winter Load Increases Begin Saturday for
North Central Frost Zone

Winter load increases on unrestricted highways in the North Central frost zone will begin at 12:01 AM on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

Winter load increases are already in effect in the north frost zone.
Frost zones and restricted routes can be found on the MnDOT load limits map.
More load limit information, including start and end dates, can be found here.
10 benefits of having an experienced right of way professional on your project

Enlisting the help of a licensed right of way professional to manage planning, design and land acquisition processes can keep project development moving forward. Right of way experts bring the knowledge and understanding to ensure each phase of development remains in compliance with federal and state regulations. Learn more

By Penny Rolf, Director of Right of Way, WSB
AGC 2020-2021 Minnesota Construction Industry Assessment

The annual AGC of Minnesota survey of General Contractors, Specialty Contractors, Architects and Engineers can be accessed here.
MNOPS Releases Compliance Guidelines

The Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety has put together the following guidelines for Excavators and Utility Operators with regard to MN Statutes 216D. These regulations ensure worker/public safety as well as protecting underground utility infrastructure. Please take a moment to review the following guidelines for the safety of your employees, the public and important infrastructure.

Please contact Laura Ziegler or Lisa Frenette if you have any questions.
Your Trusted Resource

Associated General Contractors of Minnesota 

525 Park Street, Suite 110 |  St. Paul, MN 55103
651-632-8929