News & Press: Member Update

ACEC Texas Member Update - June 12, 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020  
Posted by: Michael Hancock
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Texas Engineering News & Updates


ACEC Texas


June 12, 2020

Chairman DeFazio Rolls Out INVEST in America Act

Last week, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, introduced the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST) Act, a bill aimed at bringing U.S. infrastructure into the new era. The bill authorizes nearly $500 billion over five years to address deemed urgent infrastructure needs, including repairs and replacements of roads, bridges and transit systems; building resilient infrastructure with climate and weather impacts in mind; and putting the nation on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector through off-road infrastructure and prioritizing carbon pollution reduction. The INVEST in America Act also ensures states, cities, and local entities can administer programs, advance projects and preserve jobs by accounting for the economic downturn and the future aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee is expected to consider the bill on Wednesday, June 17th, which would replace the current surface transportation authorization, which expires on September 30th. For more information, please click on the following link:
INVEST in America Press Release.

President Trump Signs PPP Flexibility Act

President Donald Trump has signed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act into law, providing more flexibility to businesses that received loans from the PPP. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses, including several engineering firms, applied and were successful in receiving funding aid through the PPP. However, PPP loans originally came with restrictions, that, as the loans rolled out, were considered too stringent by business owners. Highlights from the PPP Flexibility Act include:

  • Loan recipients now have 24 weeks instead of 8 weeks to spend loan money.
  • Reducing mandatory payroll spending from 75% to 60%
  • New exceptions allow loan recipients to obtain full forgiveness even without fully restoring their workforce.
  • Timeline for loan recipients to pay off loan extended to 5 years from 2 years.
  • Allows businesses to delay paying payroll taxes even if they took out a PPP loan.


Public Policy Council News

The ACEC Texas Public Policy Council (PPC) hosted a virtual policy briefing on Friday morning with special guest, Dale Craymer, President of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA), who gave an update on the state budget and fiscal outlook following the COVID-19 pandemic and recent global oil price war. Following the recent declines in state sales tax revenue, state and local governments are facing budgetary shortfalls, and PPC members are working to ensure funding for infrastructure, protection of qualifications-based selection (QBS), and continued exemption from taxation for design services. The PPC Steering Committee will meet virtually on June 18th to discuss ACEC Texas’s legislative priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session and the upcoming election cycle. All member firms are eligible to join the PPC. For information on how to join and get involved, please contact Scott Stewart at or (512) 497-8847.


ACEC Texas Membership Survey Update

Thank you to all who participated in the ACEC Texas Membership Survey. As previously mentioned, ACEC Texas is in the process of developing a strategic plan and the survey will be an important tool in helping us plan and improve our programs and services. The responses will provide valuable input into the board’s discussions and will help establish priorities that will make the biggest difference for you and our member firms.

Respondents were entered into a drawing for one of two $50 Amazon gift cards and one of five ACEC Texas baseball caps…and the winners are:

Amazon Gift Card:

  • Mike Nichols, Freese & Nichols
  • Jim Urban, Urban Engineering

ACEC Texas Hat:

  • Jaime Aguilar, CP&Y
  • Anna Boenig, PE Structural Consultants
  • Doug Dillon, BGE
  • Robert Lawrence, HVJ North Texas
  • Mark Sappington, Sappington Engineering

Thanks again to all participants!


Texas Water Development Board

  • New Water Website: TWDB this week launched their new website, Texas Water Newsroom, which will feature videos, articles, press releases and stories updated regularly on flood planning, infrastructure news, educational articles, and any water related reports affecting the state of Texas.
  • Flood Planning Group Nominations – July 2nd Deadline: The TWDB is seeking nominations for the state’s first regional flood planning groups – 15 total groups. The Texas Legislature passed legislation in 2019 to create a new regional flood planning process through establishing groups divided amongst river basin boundaries that will require representatives from specific categories, including: agriculture, industries, river authorities, counties, municipalities, water districts, flood districts, electric generating utilities, water utilities, environmental interests, small businesses, and the public.More information can be found on the TWBD Flood Planning Webpage.

  • Flood Infrastructure Abridged Applications – Due June 15th: TWDB Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) abridged applications will be used to collect the information necessary to prioritize projects, determine the best source of funding, and rank projects according to the Flood Intended Use Plan. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) will invite entities whose proposed projects ranked within the program’s funding capacity to submit complete applications for financial assistance.For more information, please click on the following: TWDB FIF Webpage.

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