The legislature is considering adopting a statute that would require workers on private projects to be paid prevailing wage if public subsidies exceed the lesser of $10,000 or 1% of the project cost.  This would effectively eliminate the de minimis exception and likely change the landscape for public subsidies on private projects.


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     On April 16, 2009, President Obama unveiled his new High-Speed Rail Strategic Plan.  Until this year, rail transportation has received less than three percent of all federal investment in intercity transportation infrastructure and the Northeast has the nation’s only high-speed rail corridor. In contrast, throughout the 20th century the United States has invested $1.8 trillion in our highway and aviation infrastructure.  Now however, with oil prices climbing and mounting concern over climate change, investing in public infrastructure solely to support cars and planes in no longer sustainable.  As President Obama’s Plan states, “a new approach is needed–one that responds to today’s economic, energy, and environmental challenges.”  Railroads offer a solution as they can reduce pollution and congestion and efficiently transport people and goods between cities. 

    


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While the recession has led to a drastic slowdown in the construction industry, the horizon looks brighter as the Bay Area preps for a welcome infusion of cash from the federal government. The money comes from the federal stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. During his campaign President Obama emphasized the need for increased infrastructure spending as a means to end the recession, increase public transportation, and improve America’s aging infrastructure. The stimulus bill makes good on his campaign promises, with approximately $50 billion dedicated to core infrastructure spending on bridges, roads, rail, and other transportation projects.


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New laws concerning the construction industry will go into effect in 2007, some of which are previewed below. These laws encompass a wide variety of issues including indemnification of design professionals, the ability of architects to practice as limited liability partnerships, “green” building construction, expansion of design-build procurement, revocation and suspension of contractors’ licenses, execution of public university contracts, and regulation of the conduct of architects. 
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