Positive Momentum in Underground Construction Industry

There have been a couple of positive items moving for the underground construction industry. Just this week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) by a large margin of 417-3. This will fund projects throughout the U.S. for dams, waterway improvements, flood mitigation and other similar items providing $10 billion over five years. Additionally, several reforms that will speed up projects for approval, funding and completion were passed within the legislation. It will eliminate unnecessary studies, and it will end the practice of sequential reviews where one governmental agency has to wait for the other to finish its work before it can get started. The changes will result in a review period reduced from 15 years to three years. Staff in the House and Senate will now meet to go over differences between the House-passed version and the Senate version, and it is anticipated that the final product will be passed through Congress this fall.
Miss Dig Legislation Moving Forward
In Michigan, efforts to put into law best practices for locating underground facilities has seen significant movement. MITA has been involved in the Michigan Damage Prevention Board since its inception and has helped develop the best practices our membership utilizes. The legislation has already passed the full Senate and has seen two committee hearings in the House. It is anticipated that next week the House Energy and Technology Committee will vote the legislation out, and it should be taken up rather quickly in the full House. There are a few changes that the House Committee has looked at from the Senate-passed version, so it will likely have to get concurrence in the Senate before it heads to the Governor’s desk.
The Miss Dig system has been a great tool for MITA members throughout the years in preventing damages and accidents to underground facilities. Once the legislation is passed into law, we will update our members on some of the changes from the best practices that may have occurred throughout the legislative process.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lance Binoniemi, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, at lancebinoniemi@mi-ita.com or call him at 517-347-8336.