Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) recently introduced a bill that would exempt construction projects funded by the Highway Trust Fund from prevailing wage payments required by the Davis-Bacon Act.
The Congressional Budget Office uses the Highway Trust Fund to pay for labor costs incurred on federally funded infrastructure projects. CBO estimates that the fund will become insolvent in fiscal year 2015 if an additional $126 billion in new revenue is not produced.
While Foxx claims Davis-Bacon act requirements drive up the costs on federal highway projects through the implementation of “artificially high wages,” the fact remains that Prevailing Wage Laws protect union workers and working-class families by providing fair wages, meaningful employment and training opportunities.
Research has consistently shown that Prevailing Wage Laws do not result in significant cost variations on construction projects and, in fact, can produce cost savings as the result of better investment in the workforce and the resulting higher-quality and on-time construction.
Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) have joined Foxx as co-sponsors of the measure that already failed to come up for a committee hearing or vote when Foxx first introduced a version of the bill in 2009.
The bill has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, but no hearings are scheduled at this time.