AIA cranks at Congress

I have cranked on previous occasions about how frustrated I am that the river of government handout money for road repair seems to be a raging, never-ending torrent (Cranking here is one thing. You should hear me when I’m circumnavigating construction sites trying to get to work!!), while commercial construction firms can’t seem to get enough credit to be able to move a shovel full of dirt. The holdup doesn’t seem to be so much a desire to receive a D.C. handout as it does a need to have credit availability return to some level of sanity.
   Today, the American Institute of Architects, Washington, cranked a little at Congress.
   Here’s what the press release tells us was said: Tampa-based architect, Mickey Jacob, FAIA, unveiled the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Rebuild Renew plan for both short- and long-term economic recovery to the House Committee on Small Business at a hearing today. “Small business does not want a bailout. We want access to loans to bridge the economic downturn to help fund operational costs. We want relief from the premium costs of health insurance. We want incentives for people to build, buy, and renovate their homes and businesses. We want the availability of grants that assist in the acquisition and implementation of new technologies to keep small business competitive in the worldwide marketplace. These are investments in the future of the country,” Jacob testified (Download Mickey’s entire statement here.)
   The AIA Rebuild Renew Plan recommends these steps:

  • Make financing available for design and construction projects.
  • Provide tax relief for small businesses.
  • Make tax policies work for recovery.
  • Rebuild our infrastructure for the 21st century.
  • Build the new green economy.

   Download the AIA Rebuild Renew Plan here .
   I applaud the AIA for being proactive, not just today, but throughout this recession. I just hope that Congress starts to listen.—Gary L. Parr

DOE parts with some cash

Finally! U.S. Dept. of Energy (Washington) secretary Steven Chu announced Thursday that more than $106 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being awarded to nine states to support energy efficiency and conservation activities. Under DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, these states will implement programs that cut energy use, reduce carbon pollution, and create green jobs locally.
   “This funding will allow states across the country to make major investments in energy solutions that will strengthen America’s economy and create jobs at the local level,” said Chu. “It will also promote some of the cheapest, cleanest, and most reliable energy technologies we have—energy efficiency and conservation—which can be deployed immediately. Local communities can now make strategic investments to help meet the nation’s long-term clean energy and climate goals.”
   States receiving immediate funding are Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.
   These awards to the state energy offices will be used to support state-level energy efficiency priorities, along with funding local conservation projects in smaller cities and counties. At least 60% of each state’s award will be passed through to local cities and counties not eligible for direct EECBG awards.
   Projects eligible for support include developing an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, conducting energy-efficiency audits and retrofits, improving transportation programs, creating financial-incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements, developing and implementing advanced building codes and inspections, and installing renewable-energy technologies on municipal buildings.
   For a full list of awards to date, visit—Gary L. Parr