News and Updates

Transportation
Eli Spang

More Uncertainty for Capital Investment Grants (CIG) in 2019 and 2020

Last Tuesday, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a $1.36 billion allocation of Capital Investment Grant (CIG) funding. The money, drawn from streams of both fiscal years (FY) 2018 and 2019 allocated funds, will be directed at 11 existing projects and 5 new projects.

Community and Economic Development
Maci Morin

Addressing Public Health Concerns Using Regional Solutions

Happy National Public Health Week! This annual week-long celebration, spearheaded by the American Public Health Association (APHA), celebrates the nation’s public health successes while calling attention to our most pressing health-related challenges.

Community and Economic Development
Maci Morin

Census Day is a Year Away!

We are officially one year away from the decennial census. By April 1, 2020 – National Census Day – the U.S. Census Bureau plans to send a letter or a door knocker to every U.S. household to conduct a constitutionally-mandated, nationwide headcount.

Each year, our regions continue to grow and increase in diversity. Because this opportunity comes around only once every 10 years, it is critical that regions do everything they can to ensure a fair and accurate count for all our communities.

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Newsletters

eRegions

April 15, 2019        View full newsletter

April Recess is Here!
Members of Congress will be home for the next two weeks for their annual April recess. NARC encourages our membership to take advantage of this time by requesting meetings with federal representatives and their staff, and/or inviting them to visit sites that drive home the importance of Congress supporting regional priorities. Don’t forget that next week is National Community Development (CD) Week – a national celebration highlighting the successes of the Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. To prepare for National CD Week, check out this toolkit NARC partnered on with several CDBG Coalition members.
 
House Dems Attend Three-day Policy Retreat
In Leesburg, Virginia, House Democrats celebrated their first 100 days in the majority by promising a robust summer agenda. Infrastructure and drug pricing are expected to be high priorities, which will be high-stake legislative fights but could receive bipartisan buy-in. Other looming battles over federal spending, the debt ceiling and, potentially, immigration, will test the sprawling party’s resolve to stay unified.
 
McConnell Lays Out Agenda as House Bills Pile Up
Amid a pileup of House-passed bills, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has outlined a few of his priority areas the next few months. He wants to get the appropriations process back on track and recognizes that “The single biggest thing we need to do and cannot do without [both parties] is the spending caps.” Majority Leader McConnell is holding out hope for an infrastructure deal but is insisting that its cost must be offset. Republicans further expect movement on items including the National Defense Authorization Act, reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, and an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program.
 
Congress leaves Washington without Reaching a Disaster Relief Deal
As lawmakers leave Washington for a long break, they do so without resolution on funding for millions of Americans harmed by hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other natural disasters. So far, the Senate has failed to pass two competing disaster relief plans – one supported by Democrats, the other by Republicans. There is still much disagreement on how much funding should be provided for relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which is still struggling almost two years after being devastated by Hurricane Maria. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) stated that congressional staff and White House staff are planning to work together on a proposal during the two-week recess, in hopes that there will be a vote by the end of the month.
 
County Commissioner Testifies in Support of the Economic Development Administration (EDA)
Last week, Gunnison County, Colorado Commissioner John Messner testified on behalf of the National Association of Counties before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Recovery at a hearing titled, “Building Prosperity: EDA’s Role in Economic Development and Recovery.” Commissioner Messner stressed that the EDA is essential to helping communities rebuild and transition economies after disasters and economic upheaval (see full testimony here). Chairwoman Dina Titus (D-NV) indicated plans in her opening statement to introduce an EDA reauthorization bill, which was last authorized in 2008 and expired in 2011.

Transportation Thursdays

April 11, 2019      View full newsletter

ADMINSTRATION
U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $25 Million for Emergency Repairs to Flood-Damaged Roads in Nebraska
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that it will provide $25 million in emergency relief funds to help repair roads damaged by the recent flooding in Nebraska. Nebraska state officials estimate that almost 190 miles of highway and 27 state bridges will need significant repair and six bridges will need to be replaced entirely. FHWA will provide the emergency funding as a “quick release” to be distributed immediately. The overall damage estimates of the storm exceed $160 million and are likely to climb higher. This funding is intended to address immediate concerns while a long-term plan for complete repairs is being developed.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $1.36 Billion of CIG Allocation for 16 Transit Projects 
The Federal Transit Agency (FTA) announced on Wednesday that they will be distributing $1.36 billion in Capital Investment Grants (CIG) funding to 16 new and existing transit projects. $225 million of this funding will be provided to five new bus rapid transit projects in Jacksonville, FL; Reno, NV; Albany, NY; Portland, OR; and Spokane, WA. The FTA has been under pressure by lawmakers and transit advocates to speed up their distribution of funds. This funding was announced a day before Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao headed to the Hill to testify on the fiscal year (FY) 2020 transportation budget.

California Sues Trump Administration for Details on Car Emissions Rollback Decision
The State of California has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding that details behind the decision to lower tailpipe emissions standards for cars and trucks be released. In the lawsuit, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) states that it was unlawful for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to withhold the data and analysis that was used to determine the new standards. The Trump administration has stated that the changes were necessary on the grounds that the previous, more stringent standards developed during the Obama administration were unachievable and threatened the auto industry. California has argued that the weakening of the standards hinders the ability of the state to maintain Clean Air Act standards.

Building Regional Communities

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regions by advocating for regional cooperation as the most effective way to address a variety of community planning and development opportunities and issues.

Advocacy

NARC is responsible for representing regional planning organizations in Congress and with the federal executive agencies. NARC staff work through a committee-guided and local elected official board-driven structure in developing and executing national legislative policies.

Resources

NARC provides its members valuable information and research on key national policy issues, federal policy developments, and best practices. The association conducts enriching training sessions, conferences, workshops and webinars for its members.

Conferences

During NARC conferences members come together to share best practices and attend informative sessions on legislative and regulatory issues. Speakers include experts from the public and private sector, lawmakers, and individuals from universities and non-profit organizations.