June 5, 2020

Passage of Paycheck Protection Program Improvements Will Save Many Construction Jobs And Protect Construction Employers

With Needed Improvements to the Vital Survival Program Complete, Construction Official Urges Congress and the President to Act Quickly on Measures to Rebuild the Economy and Restore Jobs

On June 3, the Senate passed the AGC-backed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020 (H.R. 7010) after AGC members sent tens of thousands of messages seeking improvements to the PPP. The measure makes significant improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program that AGC has been pushing for and its passage marks another legislative victory for the association. Among these improvements are: (1) Extending the amount of time that loan recipients can spend PPP funds, and qualify for loan forgiveness, from eight to 24 weeks; (2) Revising the uses of loan funds eligible for forgiveness from up to 75 percent in payroll costs/25 percent in non-payroll costs to up to 60 percent/40 percent, respectively; (3) Creating a safe harbor for employers that made a good faith effort to hire or re-hire qualified employees; (4) Extending the maturity of PPP loans from two to five years; and (5) allowing PPP loan recipients to defer payroll taxes through the end of 2020. Having passed the House on May 28, the bill was signed into law by President Trump on June 5.

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020:

"This new law improves upon the original Paycheck Protection Program by extending the coverage period to 24 weeks, revising the ratio of percentage of expenses allowed to be forgiven up to 60 percent payroll costs and 40 percent non-payroll, extending the maturity period for the loans from two years to five, and allowing loan recipients to defer payroll taxes through the end of 2020. Its enactment will save many construction jobs and allow thousands of construction firms to remain in business."
Government Affairs Update

It is unclear if legislators will meet in a special session next week as Governor Walz seeks an extension the peacetime state of emergency related to COVID-19 that is set to expire on June 12. The date(s) and duration of any special session in unknown as the politically divided legislature has not agreed on a path forward. Lawmakers have unfinished business from the regular session that adjourned May 18th, most notably by failing to gain consensus on a public works bill. Police reform, equity initiatives, and rebuilding efforts are also part of broader legislative discussions in the wake of George Floyd's death.

AGC staff will update members as more information becomes available.
AGC Webinar: "COVID Claims - What Employment and Construction Claims You should Expect"

COVID-19 has created new obligations and challenges for businesses, and we can expect an explosive increase in resulting legal claims. This webinar will focus on the employment and construction claims that every business should prepare for arising out of the challenges caused by COVID-19. Phyllis Karasov and Christopher Yetka of Larkin Hoffman will present.

DATE: Thursday, June 18 (9:00-10:00 a.m.)
COST: $35 for non-members.  AGC Members use Discount Code "AGCMEMBER" to register for free (you will still need to enter credit card details to register, but will not be charged with that code).

Building Resilience: A construction contractor's guide to strategic relationships during COVID-19

Listen to Laura Cataldo and Courtney Davison detail the common questions and considerations within strategic relationships during the coronavirus pandemic and road to recovery. From relationships with employees, banks, financial lenders and project owners, to leadership and professional services providers, we have prepared a checklist of the various conversations you should be having.   Listen now.

Written by   Laura Cataldo, Senior Manager; laura.cataldo@bakertilly.com and Courtney Davison, Senior Manager; courtney.davison@bakertilly.com
Photo: John Autey | Pioneer Press
Rebuilding Our Communities

All Minnesotans have been deeply affected by the tragedy, tensions and protests in the Twin Cities this week. Our hearts are with all who have been directly impacted by the devastation and sorrow. We urge all AGC of Minnesota members to consider making monetary donations to help our community recover and heal.

Rebuilding Efforts in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Support the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative to help the Midway small business and nonprofit community in St. Paul rebuild. Hundreds of businesses have been devastated and monetary resources will help rebuild the Midway community in the months ahead. For those that have visited AGC offices, the Midway neighborhood is a couple miles west along University Avenue.
A fund to help Lake Street businesses in Minneapolis rebuild and reopen. The effort is being organized by the nonprofit, Lake Street Council. The organization affirms that all funds collected will help go toward rebuilding small businesses and nonprofits.

Food and other Necessities
Areas affected by the severe property damage in Minneapolis became food deserts overnight. While grocery stores and other businesses rebuild, people need access to food and other necessary items.

In 2015, AGC members responded to a call from Urban Ventures to build a greenhouse near their location at 5th and Lake Street in Minneapolis. The AGC greenhouse, in tandem with other gardens at the facility, fed the needy population in and around the neighborhood. New Americans were also offered classes on ways to prepare the produce. Although the Urban Ventures' structures were not damaged in recent protests, their need to reach the community with resources has increased dramatically following destruction in the nearby area. 
Jeff Jensen Memorial Construction Safety Excellence Awards

AGC is pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the Jeff Jensen Memorial Construction Safety Excellence Award  . This award, based on safety standards achieved in 2019, will presented in three different categories. The awards will be recognized this fall at the 2020 AGC Recognition Evening. 

Completed applications are due no later than August 24, 2020 and should be returned to Merry Beckmann at mbeckmann@agcmn.org or mailed to the AGC office.
AGC of America Requests Highway Contractor Participation in Survey

Each year AGC of America surveys highway and transportation members about the state of highway work zone safety. Their intent is to measure the extent, and impact, of highway work zone crashes, their impacts on the safety of construction workers and motorists and their impacts on highway construction. Please complete the online survey by Monday, June 22nd. 
White Markings Increase Locator Efficiency

Gopher State One Call would like to remind all excavators to mark the excavation area in white prior to submitting the locate request. White marks increase the efficiency of locators by clearly showing where they need to mark. The use of white marks helps excavations go more smoothly as well as providing more time for locators to mark for other excavations.
Summer 2020 MPCA Volkswagon Settlement Grant:
$1.1M for Heavy-Duty Off-Road Equipment

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will issue a grant request for proposals (RFP) in summer 2020 to fund the replacement or improvement of heavy-duty off-road equipment that is eligible under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). We anticipate approximately $1.1 million will be available for projects that reduce emissions from older, diesel-powered off-road equipment.

Eligible equipment may include marine engines, locomotives, trailer refrigeration units, terminal tractors, drayage trucks, and off-road engines, and equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining, or energy production.

Stay tuned for updates on this grant opportunity! Find more information here, or email the MPCA.



Associated General Contractors of Minnesota 

525 Park Street, Suite 110  |   St. Paul, MN 55103