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Voice of Geospatial Surveying and Mapping Firms Heard in Congress

Posted By John "JB" Byrd, Thursday, October 31, 2013
On October 23, the House passed H.R. 3080, the "Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2013" by a 417-3 vote. MAPPS supported an amendment, sponsored by Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Tom Petri (R-WI), to increase the Corps of Engineers' reliance on the private sector in surveying and mapping. The Young-Petri Amendment would have authorized the Corps to rely on the private sector for surveying, mapping and geospatial services to the maximum extent practical. MAPPS members contacted their members of Congress and urged the U.S. House of Representatives to vote "Yes" on the Young-Petri Amendment.
During floor debate, Reps. Young, Petri, and John J. "Jimmy" Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), three senior members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, spoke passionately in favor of the amendment. Subcommittee Ranking Member Tim Bishop (D-NY) and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) voiced their opposition. Shuster used the term "reluctant opposition". Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) voiced her opposition earlier in the day. Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV) did not oppose. Based on opposition to the amendment by Chairman Shuster, a decision was made not to demand a roll call vote. Watch the 10 minute debate from C-SPAN - 4:27:25-4:36:30.

The good news for private sector geospatial firms is that your voice was heard by Congress! In addition, Reps. Young and Petri received letters and messages of support and endorsements for this amendment from MAPPS as well as the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Business Coalition for Fair Competition (BCFC), Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT), American Conservative Union (ACU), Heritage Action, and National Taxpayers Union (NTU). The House Republican Study Committee (RSC) also posted information on the Young-Petri Amendment. Opposing the amendment was the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the Transportation Trades Department (TTD), and the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE).
The amendment was necessary because MAPPS members have been concerned over the increasing duplication of and competition with the private sector by the Corps of Engineers. Traditionally, the Corps had been one of the leading agencies in the use of the private sector for surveying and mapping services. However, over the last few years, USACE has not lived up to that tradition. Our continuing concern is over the extent to which the Corps is increasingly (1) insourcing work traditionally performed by the private sector, (2) failing to utilize the private sector for a broad range of surveying and mapping activities, and (3) purchasing equipment, including hydro boats and a UAV to support in-house performance of services that are commercially available by contract from the private sector, including small business. MAPPS will continue to advocate the issue to help private sector geospatial surveying and mapping firms.

Tags:  Amendments  Congress  Contracting  Corps  Mapping  Sureveying  USACE  WRRDA 

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