Public Policy Update
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Peter Rogoff Confirmed as Keynote Speaker at East Coast P3 Infrastructure Conference
On March 5-6, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Charlotte Area Transit System and Foundation For The Carolinas to host a two-day conference on public-private partnerships in roads, transit, water, sewer and economic development based on a commitment made through the Clinton Global Initiative. The event will focus on project delivery and financing infrastructure in the public domain. Experts will share their insight and experiences through case studies and panel discussions. We are pleased to announce that Acting Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Peter Rogoff, has been confirmed to speak at the event.
Click here to view a list of more than 40 confirmed speakers and take advantage of the $250 early registration fee for members and nonmembers until Tuesday, Feb. 25. The rate will be $300 on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The event will be held at The Westin Charlotte located at 601 S. College St. Reserve a room by calling The Westin at 866.837.4148 and asking for the room block, which is almost full. Contact Natalie English about event sponsorships.
Forecast for North Carolina General Assembly Short Session
The Legislative Agenda Task Force will kick off the annual process on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 7:45 a.m. Kerri Burke, the chamber's contract lobbyist with McGuireWoods, will provide a forecast to the group of the upcoming North Carolina General Assembly short session. The meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27 has been cancelled. If you are interested in presenting legislative priorities to the Task Force, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Presentations are not limited to chambr members.
The meeting itself is open to all chamber members. Click here to register and reserve a spot. Below is a list of the upcoming meetings, all of which will be held at the chamber's offices located at 330 S. Tryon St.
Tuesday, Feb. 25: 7:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Thursday, March 13: 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.
Tuesday, March 18: 7:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Thursday, March 20: 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.
Tuesday, March 25: 7:45 – 9:15 a.m. *Voting Day*
Provide Feedback on Permitting and Inspection Process
The chamber's Land Use Committee will host an industry roundtable on Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 8-9:30 a.m. We will discuss suggested improvements to Mecklenburg County's plan review, permitting and inspections process. The goal of the meeting will be to engage members to define potential actionable solutions that will then be presented to the Building Development Commission, the Code Enforcement division, and the county manager. We encourage you to take this opportunity to provide input and participate in the process. Jonathan Bahr, chair of the Building Development Commission (BDC), will join us and listen to the group's feedback.
The meeting is open to all chamber members. Click here to register and reserve a spot.
City Council to Discuss Noise Walls Tonight
The chamber's Transportation Committee attempted to meet and hear from Louis Mitchell, N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Division 10 engineer, on the status of the proposed noise walls for portions of interstates 77 and 277. Due to weather conditions, the meeting was cancelled twice.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is proposing widening certain portions of iI-77 and I-277 with high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes through a public-private partnership. HOT lanes allow passengers who meet the occupancy requirements to use the lanes without paying tolls and give the option for others to pay a toll to use them. Given existing traffic congestion along this corridor, the HOT lanes have been proposed as a solution to the conditions. As a result of the HOT lanes, NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration identified noise impacts of the lanes and recommended noise walls for certain portions of I-77 and I-277.
Residents who were determined by NCDOT to be positively affected by reduced noise were sent ballots on Feb. 7 to vote on the walls. The ballots were due on Feb. 21. Policy states that a nonreturned vote will count as a "Yes" vote in favor of the walls. The walls are estimated to reduce noise from traffic by 5 decibels. NCDOT has been working with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department and Charlotte Department of Transportation to host public engagement meetings and share information on the location and design of the walls.
Charlotte City Council will vote on how to weigh in on the issue during its regular meeting on Feb. 24. Click here to view additional information on the walls. You may view visual images of the proposed walls here.
Health Insurance Mandate Delay
Earlier this month, new rules were announced that employers with 50 to 99 workers will have a new deadline of Jan. 1, 2016, to comply with the Affordable Care Act or pay a federal penalty. Originally, this size of employer would have had to comply with the law in 2014.
Companies with 100 employees or more will be impacted by the employer responsibility provision starting in 2015. These employers that were initially required to offer coverage to 95 percent of their full-time workers effective Jan. 1, 2014, or pay the federal penalty will now have until Jan. 1, 2016, to comply with that percentage. They can avoid paying the federal penalty in 2015 by offering insurance to 70 percent of their full-time workers effective Jan. 1, 2015. Click here to read the full facts of the mandate delay.
New Vacancies for City Council Boards and Commissions
Looking for a way to serve your community? You are in luck. There are new vacancies for several of City Council's boards and commissions. Click here to view information on the vacancies, meeting schedules and instructions for applying for a position. Applications for the positions are due by 5 p.m. on March 14.
Hire Standards Elevate Schools
On Feb. 17, the chamber's Workplace Issues and Workforce Development & Education committees hosted Karl Rectanus of the N.C. Chamber Foundation to learn more about the Hire Standards campaign. The Hire Standards, N.C. campaign is a collaborative effort by organizations to support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as career and college ready standards. The chamber had joined the campaign and recognizes the critical importance of the CCSS to ensure N.C. students are globally and nationally competitive. Rectanus highlighted the history of the CCSS and the current implementation of the program in North Carolina. Click here to view the presentation. Visit HireStandardsNC.org to learn more about the campaign and support the effort.
Growth Is Theme at Aviation Committee Meeting
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is now the second-largest hub of the world's largest airline. The Aviation Committee heard updates from Brent Cagle, interim aviation director for Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and Tracy Montross, director of government and community relations for American Airlines/US Airways. Prevalent themes included the impact of the recent snowstorm, new parking decks and potential expansions at the airport to accommodate for future growth. Passenger traffic numbers at the airport increased to more than 43 million travelers, a record-setting number. Click here to view Cagle's PowerPoint presentation with additional details.
Interested in doing business with the airport? There is an event being held on Tuesday, March 4, from 7:45-10:30 a.m. at CLT Center at 5601 Wilkinson Boulevard to learn about upcoming projects and contracts. Attendees will also hear from on-site representatives about the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Charlotte Business INClusion Programs. Registration is free and you may RSVP to Laura Dahlberg at 704.359.1910 or email@example.com.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Budget Meetings
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is extending an online survey of the 2014 budget. The survey will now be open until Friday, Feb. 28. CMS is seeking input from employees, parents and community members for the budget planning process. Click here to complete the budget survey. Survey results will be presented at the following budget-engagement meetings.
Wednesday, Feb. 26: 6 – 7:30 p.m. at West Charlotte High School
Monday, March 3: 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Myers Park High School
Monday, March 10: 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Bradley Middle School
Monday, April 21: 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Hopewell High School
Thursday, April 24: 6 – 7:30 p.m. at South Mecklenburg High School
View additional details about the budget process here.