Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates. This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director Robb Kahl
Today, April 28, is International Workers’ Memorial Day. It is a day to honor those workers who have died, been hurt, or become ill on the job. It is a day to acknowledge the suffering experienced by families and communities due to workplace fatalities and injuries and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthy workplaces for all workers.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, 119 Wisconsin workers died in the workplace in 2019, which is the most recent year for the BLS data. Nationwide, there were 5,333 fatal work injuries and nearly 20% of those fatalities were in the construction industry. Everyone at CBG appreciates the brave men and women who work in construction despite the inherent risks. 

We also would like to thank Governor Evers for proclaiming today Workers’ Memorial Day in Wisconsin. The Governor’s proclamation acknowledges the sacrifices made by hard working Wisconsinites and promotes the importance of workplace safety.
Building Wisconsin Together®
From the News Stand
Updated FY '21 Quantity Estimates Released
WisDOT this week released estimated construction quantities for the current state fiscal year. The estimate includes 10 STH Rehabilitation projects that have been moved into this year's program with additional federal funding received under the December 2020 COVID relief package. An additional 32 projects have been advanced into next year's (FY 2022) program.
White House Gives State Infrastructure a "C"
President Joe Biden's administration issued Wisconsin infrastructure a grade of C this week as it continued to pitch its $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan. The White House scorecard is consistent with the 2020 infrastructure report card issued by the Wisconsin section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The President's report card says there are 198 bridges and more than 1,949 miles of highway in poor condition and that the average driver in Wisconsin pays an additional $547 annually by driving on bad roads.
Republicans are reportedly preparing a counteroffer to the President's proposal in the range of $600 billion to $800 billion and paid for with unspecified increases to user fees. The President has proposed paying for his plan by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
Supplemental EIS Ordered for I-94 East-West
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) announced yesterday it will conduct a supplemental environmental impact statement on proposed I-94 East-West Corridor improvements, setting the project back a year. The 3.5-mile section of I-94 just west of downtown Milwaukee has been recommended for enumeration in the upcoming budget currently before the Legislature.
“This will allow us time to better assess the changes in traffic patterns resulting from the pandemic, and to receive more public input. It will also help us make certain that our efforts to ensure racial equity with this project are comprehensive and aligned with federal priorities," WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said.
According to the department's Facilities Development Manual, reevaluation of a proposed project's environmental documents should be conducted when new or updated information is available that could change previously made decisions.
In this case, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on the preferred alternative to add a fourth lane in each direction on Sept. 9, 2016, at an estimated cost of $852 million (2014 $). However, after the Legislature removed the project from the 2017-19 budget due to a dispute with former Gov. Scott Walker over funding, WisDOT requested the ROD be rescinded on Sept. 29, 2017. Gov. Tony Evers announced in July 2020 that the project was being restarted and recommended enumeration in his 2021-23 budget proposed in February. It had been anticipated that a new ROD would be issued later this year, but conducting a Supplemental EIS will push that back at least a year.
I-94 East-West -- the corridor between the modernized Zoo and Marquette Interchanges (at a cost of $2.5 billion) -- is one of the oldest and busiest freeways in the state, carrying an estimated 17 million tons of freight valued at $25 billion annually. It is also one of the most unsafe freeway corridors in the state, with a crash rate two to three times higher than the statewide average. The last three freeway modernization projects in the Milwaukee area resulted in crash reductions of between 29% and 48%.

Evers Creates $420M Grant Program for Small Businesses, Vetoes GOP Bills to Spend Relief Dollars
Gov. Tony Evers is using $420 million of the billions in federal relief funding heading to Wisconsin to help small businesses that lost revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evers on Thursday announced a new grant program funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act that would provide $5,000 grants to Wisconsin businesses that have an annual gross revenue between $10,000 and $7 million — about 84,000 would qualify. 
The Democratic governor also on Thursday vetoed Republican lawmakers' plans for the federal funding, which would have spent the money in ways that federal authorities likely won’t allow. 

Among the bills vetoed Thursday is one that would give property owners a payment equal to 10% of their last property tax bill. That would account for $1.1 billion of the federal funds the state is receiving.

Presidential Executive Order Raises Hourly Minimum Wage to $15 for Federal Government Contract Workers
Yesterday, President Biden issued an Executive Order which increases the hourly minimum wage to $15 for federal government contract workers. The relevant details of this new directive are:
  • Starting January 30, 2022 all federal government agencies (agencies) will need to incorporate a $15 hourly minimum wage in new contract solicitations, and by March 30, 2022, all agencies will need to implement the minimum wage into new contracts. Agencies must also implement the higher wage into existing contracts when the parties exercise their option to extend such contracts, which often occurs annually.
  • Continue to index the minimum wage to an inflation measure so that every year after 2022 it will be automatically adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living.

  • Eliminate the tipped minimum wage for federal government contractors by 2024.
  • Extend the required $15 hourly minimum wage to federal contract workers with disabilities.
  • Restore minimum wage protections to outfitters and guides operating on federal lands.
The President has directed the United States Department of Labor to implement and enforce this Executive Order.
CDC Issues New Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People
Yesterday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new set of public health recommendations that apply to fully vaccinated people in non-health care settings.
For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson). According to the new CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people can:
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel;
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States;
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings;
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic;
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible;
  • Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues;
  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing; and
  • Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or social distancing.
The CDC recommends fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask, avoid large-sized in-person gatherings, get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and follow guidance issued by individual employers. 
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