Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring 2022

An Evening to Remember NUCA of Colorado Legislative Update 2022 NATIONAL UTILITY CONTRACTORS ASSCIATION Christine Barnes NUCA (National Utility Contractors Association) of Colorado had an exciting event on February 9th, the NUCA of Colorado Legislative Update. NUCA National Lobbyist, Zack Perconti spoke about the $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure package and what that means for the Utility Construction industry in Colorado. The NUCA of Colorado local lobbying firm, Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs gave an update on the latest bills presented related to the Utility Construction industry and infrastructure. And the NUCA National CEO gave an overview of where the association is headed for 2022 and the accomplishments from 2021. This was a great benefit for the NUCA of Colorado members to be able to hear an insightful message on government affairs in the industry on a state and national level. Colorado is set to receive at least $6.2 billion in federal funds as a direct result of the signing of H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Colorado is expected to spend nearly $1 billion towards construction projects in 2022. Approximately $4 billion are expected in Federal highway formula funding for highways and bridges with significant funding expected to go towards improving I-70 in the Denver area. At least $950 million will be allocated for public transportation with $57 million of that slated for the expansion of the electric vehicle charging network. Water infrastructure was also a hot topic for Colorado. Colorado will receive at least $688 million for water infrastructure projects. Our state legislators have also stated that lead water lines in schools will be a priority use for these funds. 67 CO schools tested their water between 2018 and 2020. 40 of those schools had lead levels above federal standards. Denver Water has also prioritized lead line replacement. Each state is set to receive a minimum of $100 million for Broadband infrastructure. At least 85,000 Coloradans currently lack broadband speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps. 25 Mbps is good for about 2 people and up to 5 connected devices, depending on what you do with them. With 25 Mbps, you could stream one show in 4K if there are no other internet connections being used at the same time. The new requirement for service is that you must provide at least 100/20 Mbps. “Unserved” communities, those lacking 25/3 service will be prioritized first followed by “underserved” communities, those lacking 100/20 service. The NUCA National accomplishments for 2021 were vast, but one in particular of note was the growth of the state chapters and members which is believed to be directly related to the expanding range of new business benefits. The growing network of NUCA Chapters are reflected in NUCA’s annual membership numbers. In 2021, NUCA membership grew, achieving over a 6.5% growth rate as the association expanded into new regions and states. Overall, NUCA added over 260 new members and attained a 90% renewal rate, demonstrating the reliable satisfaction members receive from more NUCA benefits and services. A similar retention rate was achieved in the Colorado Chapter along with increased benefits and services such as our scholarship program where NUCA of Colorado awarded 10 scholarships to NUCA of Colorado member dependents. It’s a great time to be a NUCA of Colorado member in this exciting Utility Construction Industry! The author Christine Barnes, is Executive Director of the Colorado Chapter of NUCA and can be contacted at 58| ColoradoPublic Works Journal Above: Josh Hanfling & Sami Davis of Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs Right: Doug Carlson, NUCA National CEO Far right: Zack Perconti, NUCA National Lobbyist, Wyman & Associates