News & Press: Member Update

ACEC Texas Member Update: COVID-19 (March 18, 2020)

Wednesday, March 18, 2020  
Posted by: Michael Hancock
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Member Update

March 18, 2020

In these challenging times, ACEC Texas wants to provide information, be a resource, and help our member firms navigate issues that may arise.

Information is and has been coming fast and furious, and we will try to pass it along to you in a manner that is informative, timely, and unobtrusive. We are in the process of setting up a link on our website to a page that will be updated as new, important, and relevant information becomes available. We are in communication with ACEC National, State Agencies, and other entities, and will continue to provide information from these entities and others. Please feel free to share information with us as well.

As always, our staff is available to help via phone or e-mail.

 

ACEC Texas 

As previously announced, ACEC Texas has cancelled most of the events associated with the 2020 ACEC Texas Annual Meeting & Engineering Excellence Awards Gala. However, the General Membership Meeting/Quarterly Board of Directors meeting will be held online on Monday, March 30th, at 2:00 PM. More detailed information on how to register via web portal will be sent out by next week.

ACEC Texas continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and how it may affect upcoming scheduled ACEC Texas conferences and events such as the upcoming ACEC Texas Business Conference in May. We will provide updates regarding those events as soon as decisions have been made.

 

State of Texas

On March 13th, Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster for all 254 Texas counties. He has followed this up with a number of other directives regarding the health, safety, and welfare of Texans. We will make you aware of any that are pertinent.

  • Driver Licenses: Governor Abbott has directed the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to temporarily waive expiration dates for Driver Licenses, Commercial Driver Licenses, and other identification forms: Driver License Information

  • Local Elections: The Governor issued a proclamation suspending provisions of the Texas Election Code to allow political subdivisions to postpone 2020 local elections until November 3, 2020 if they choose.

  • State Runoff Elections: A decision on the May 26 runoff election has not been made at this time, but rumor is that the election will most likely be pushed back to a later date.

  • Statewide Restrictions on Bars and Restaurants: Gov. Abbott says he will make announcement Thursday about possible statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants.

TxDOT

Things are changing rapidly within TxDOT and ACEC Texas has been and will continue to be in communication with TxDOT regarding changes that may occur.

The Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 26, remains on schedule, but may limit in-person attendance. Details are still being finalized, but much of the meeting may be held virtually. TxDOT will be provide more information in the coming days.

ACEC Texas spoke with TxDOT Chief Engineer Bill Hale and he said things change daily. He stated that the two main areas of concern are office and field work. He noted that most office work can be done remotely/virtually but that field work obviously cannot. TxDOT does not plan on reducing contracts at this time and plans to try to move the current contracts along and because of it stated that design and CEI folks need to be available to work if possible. He said TxDOT plans to keep moving forward with waves but is working on a process to potentially do those online or via a web program in order to follow in-person gathering guidelines. ACEC Texas will continue to keep tabs on this, and Mr. Hale stated that he would keep us updated as things change.

On Wednesday, the Texas House and Senate Transportation Chairmen asked the Texas Transportation Commission to postpone adoption of the 2020 UTP revisions and updates, and instead, to continue to develop the 2021 UTP several months later. This is not necessarily related to the COVID-19 issues. The letter makes the point that revenue volatility and predictability is a concern, but there is also speculation that this is related to the Commission’s discussion last month to fund Austin I-35 projects using Commission discretionary funds. The letter can be found here.

 

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Small businesses may be eligible for Small Business Disaster Loans from the US Small Business Administration. Additional information can be found here: Small Business Loan Information

 

ACEC National

ACEC continues to provide its State Member Organizations with valuable information regarding national issues and issues in other states. Information is being posted multiple times a day on ACEC’s Last Word blog found here: https://www.acec.org/last-word-blog/.

 

ACEC Coronavirus Resource Center

https://www.acec.org/conferences/coronavirus/


The United States Congress is in the process of debating legislation related to employer related family/sick leave as well as tax credits for such leave. ACEC has relayed concerns from smaller firms on cash flow impacts resulting from those new benefits. Details can be found here: Congressional Legislation Information

It is our understanding that most state DOT’s are still going forward with contracts and projects with the exception of Pennsylvania (shut down indefinitely) and South Dakota (shut down for at least this week).


ACEC National will most likely be cancelling its annual convention in Washington, DC, next month, but will be discussing alternative ways to have portions of it remotely or online.

Again, we will continue to provide information as it becomes available. If there is anything ACEC Texas can do to assist your firm, do not hesitate to reach out to us. I can be reached directly at Peyton@acectx.org or you can reach out to Mike Hancock at Mike@acectx.org or Scott Stewart Scott@acectx.org.


Until then, we recommend also following us on our Twitter and Facebook pages for up-to-date information.

Sincerely,


Peyton McKnight

President
ACEC Texas



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8/19/2020
ACEC San Antonio Chapter Meeting-08/19/20