On November 16, 2015, NECA’s Penn-Del-Jersey members joined their IBEW partners at IBEW Local 98 and nearly a dozen bipartisan lawmakers- including U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, Congressmen Pat Meehan and Bob Brady, Mayor-elect Jim Kenney, State Senator John Rafferty, and State Representative Bill Keller- for a Press Event to renew a push to extend the Philadelphia’s subway line 1.5 miles south into their Navy Yard.
Currently, the extension project is in Phase 2 of its feasibility study, a study that was funded by Pennsylvania’s State Highway Funding Bill in 2013. In the midst of the federal six-year highway bill now being conferenced in Washington, this is a local reminder of how much persistence it takes to make meaningful investments in infrastructure.
Across party lines, all of the speakers commented on the need to see this project to completion. Senator Casey said, “We’re grateful for the work that’s been done to date, but we’ve got to finish the job.” Senator Toomey said, “Part of that growth [in the Navy Yard] depends on good, solid, reliable, convenient transportation.” But John Dougherty, IBEW Local 98 Business Manager, said it best in his follow-up opinion letter, “When was the last time so many Democrats and Republicans joined forces to support any project? […] The Navy Yard is the size of Center City, yet its full potential is limited by a lack of transportation infrastructure and inadequate parking in the absence of efficient public transportation.” With the bipartisan support of the project, there is no better time than now to get the job done.
Philadelphia’s Navy Yard is undergoing a transformation but it needs to update its infrastructure to meet its potential. It is home to more than 11,000 employees and 145 companies. NECA’s Penn-Del-Jersey chapter is currently involved in the Navy Yard through energy efficiency and alternative energy projects in partnership with Penn State University.
However, the Navy Yard is still underutilized. It can accommodate up to 4.5 million square feet of industrial development including manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, light industrial, and flexible space. Its Master Plan supports up to 13.5 million square feet of development, 30,000 people, and over $3 billion in private investment.
Realizing the Navy Yard’s potential would have a tremendous impact on the industry and the region as a whole. The extension of the subway line would help to make that happen.
On September 28, members of the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter met with Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) for lunch and a policy discussion at the Marriott in West Conshohocken.
Multiemployer Pension Reform was a top issue of discussion. NECA members discussed the need for Congress to authorize legislation that would approve the use of a new hybrid plan design known as “Composite Plans,” which are neither defined benefit nor defined contribution plans. Rep. Costello had a number of questions, and NECA contractors were able to speak from their own experiences in their businesses and as trustees to help him understand their challenges.
Rep. Costello also reiterated his support of common sense Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage rates, which protect workers earning family-sustaining wages and protect contractors from being undercut from out of state companies. From his role on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Costello was able to discuss his district’s unique highway and infrastructure issues.
Pictured from left to right are Chapter Executive Jeff Scarpello, Government Affairs Coordinator Helen Levins, Rep. Costello, Ed Collison of Hobbs and Company, and Chapter Governor Frank Holleran of H.B. Frazer Company.
On August 21, members of the Long Island Chapter NECA met with Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to take a tour of the JATC facilities. Rep. Zeldin met with three NECA contractors on the JATC Committee: Bob Kohlmeyer of CRK Contracting, Mike Bender of Bana Electric, and Kristine DiNapoli of KND Licensed Electrical Contracting. Pictured from left to right are: Tom Dunne, JATC instructor; Mike Bender, Bana Electric & JATC trustee; Bob Kohlmeyer, CRK Contracting & JATC trustee; Kristine DeNapoli, KND Electrical Contracting & JATC trustee; Rep. Lee Zeldin; Paul Dunn, Mainline Electric & Chapter President; Chris Kelly, JATC Training Director; Charles Gardner, Director of Government Affairs for Long Island Chapter; John Guadagno, Local 25 President; Kevin Harvey, Local 25 Business Manager.
NECA’s Chairman’s Challenge program encourages NECA contractors to get involved in our government affairs advocacy efforts. August is the perfect time to earn points for your NECA Chapter by hosting a visit with your Member of Congress at your company headquarters, job site, or NECA-IBEW Training Center.
So far, the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter and the Puget Sound Chapter are tied for first place with three visits each!
Be sure to visit our new online Congressional Visit Toolkit and watch and download our new webinar to see how you can get started, and learn what to talk about. This toolkit contains all of the information you need to invite and host a member of Congress at your business. By inviting our elected leaders to visit your facility, you can help demonstrate the importance of the electrical construction industry and the many jobs it creates and sustains.
Make sure you snap a photo with your Member of Congress and send it to NECAGovtAffairs@necanet.org so we can feature your visit in our newsletter!