I don’t know about you, but I have had about as much gloom and doom as I need for a while, so this month I thought we might hunt down some good news for the members of the Engineering Contractors Association and other industry friends who enjoy our magazine.

It ain’t easy, brother, but the good news is out there if you hunt hard enough.

The first and probably most fun story is that the on-again, offagain plan for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build a space ship plant in the Los Angeles Harbor is on again! That’s right, rocketships will be toing and froing from San Pedro soon to launch sites in Florida and Texas.

SpaceX petitioned the Harbor Department to re-establish rights to operate a manufacturing facility at the Port of Los Angeles and secure a long-term permit similar to the one previously approved by the Board in 2018. SpaceX will lease 12.5 acres of property at the former Southwest Marine site on the main channel. The Harbor Commissioners approved the plan last month. The next stop is Los Angeles City Council in May for approval, which passed a similar project two years ago.

How good is this? Can you imagine telling your kids or grandkids that you helped build the plant that made the rockets that sent astronauts back to the moon and then on to Mars?

 

Good News from the State and Courts?

In a move that helps home builders (which used to be our biggest construction market), the California Energy Commission last month unanimously approved the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s plan to build a large-scale solar site that homeowners can tap into, forgoing the need for solar on every new home roof.

Environmentalists didn’t think it was good news, saying it guts the solar roof mandate and will lead to other utilities copying Sacramento’s plan. You haven’t heard this often, but the regulators backed the proposal after support from home builders and lawmakers who said it provides clean energy without raising home prices in a state facing a housing crisis.

In Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of the Southern District of California granted a preliminary injunction motion in January, putting enforcement on AB 5 on hold until it goes to trial later this year. The judge said the case presented by the California Trucking Associations made a strong argument for, in the case of truckers, at least, that existing federal law preempts AB 5.

 

By Brendan Slagle, ECA President Email: [email protected]jfshea.com