NARC’s Congressional Breakfast

To wrap up our National Conference of Regions last week, NARC members attended a breakfast at the Capitol Visitors Center where they heard from federal lawmakers before meeting with their delegation and agency contacts. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) joined us to talk about transportation, infrastructure, water…

NARC Tours Union Station

Last week at NARC’s National Conference, attendees and staff participated in a mobile tour of Union Station train station. Phil Hancock, Assistant Secretary at Amtrak, guided us through the building, providing interesting photos and facts about its history along the way. Check out some of the photos below! You could be having as much fun…

NARC in the News: Route Fifty National Conference of Regions Coverage

Reporters from Route Fifty attended NARC’s National Conference of Regions this week and interviewed NARC’s Director of Transportation Programs, Erich Zimmermann, on infrastructure funding and the MPO Coordination Rule. They also attended and covered two different sessions at the conference on NARC’s Fleets for the Future grant program and infrastructure funding.

Executive Order Aimed at Reducing Regulations

President Donald Trump ordered government agencies to propose repealing two regulations for each new one they issue. Agencies will propose regulations to repeal when they write new ones, and the White House will approve them. Administration officials say that the military and regulations related to national security will be exempt from the executive action.

Fleets for the Future Website and Best Practices

The Fleets for the Future (F4F) project, led by NARC and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, has recently released four extensive best practices documents on alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) procurement. The guides, which are available on the new Fleets for the Future website, cover gaseous fuel and electric vehicle procurement,…

Climate Resilience and Planning Peer Exchange Report: ARC

On October 4-5, 2016 the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) co-hosted a climate resilience and planning peer exchange with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Staff from several MPOs, state DOTs, and public and private organizations gathered together to share best practices for climate resilience. Staff also provided guidance to FHWA on what resources would be helpful…

A Final Farewell from Secretary Foxx

January 19 marked Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s last day in office. In his farewell message to USDOT employees, Foxx highlighted the successes of USDOT during his tenure, including securing the first long-term transportation bill in over a decade and embracing innovative technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems. He also highlighted the integration…

Beyond Traffic 2045 National Freight Strategy Framework

This USDOT document reflects on the progress made to address freight challenges and provides thoughts on the future of freight and the role of the government with regard to freight policy. The Beyond Traffic 2045 National Freight Strategy Framework includes lessons learned and synthesizes input from engaged citizens, business leaders, practitioners, operators, and planners, among…

Executive Order to Expedite High Priority Infrastructure Projects

President Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday to expedite delivery of high priority infrastructure projects. The order references agency processes and procedures that “routinely and excessively” delay projects that address the U.S. electric grid and telecommunication systems, as well as  upgrades and repairs to port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges, and highways. Projects can be designated…

Senate Democrats Infrastructure Plan

Senate Democrats released a Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure on Tuesday, pledging a trillion dollars over the next ten years to repair, modernize, and build infrastructure from ports to schools. Infrastructure spending as a percentage of GDP is lower than it has been in the past twenty years, and the Democrats proposal highlights areas where…

SNAP Pilot Program

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a pilot program that will give participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) a way to purchase their groceries online. The two-year trial provides low-income families in seven states with a system to have SNAP-eligible items delivered to their homes through retailers like FreshDirect, Amazon,…

HUD Seeks Comments: Implementation of Various Section 8 Voucher Provisions

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published an implementation notice for several of the provisions of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, which passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama in July 2016. The provisions specifically impact the Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Voucher programs. HUD seeks additional public…

President’s Team Eyes Major Spending Cuts

As congressional Republicans head off for a retreat on fiscal priorities for the coming year, the president’s team is reviewing the recommendations from two conservative groups that recommend broad spending cuts and the elimination of programs long targeted by Republicans. In previous statements, Trump has promised to boost defense spending, launch a $1 trillion infrastructure program,…

EPA Awards $12.7 Million to Assist Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $12.7 million in grants to help small drinking and wastewater systems and private well owners. More than 97 percent of the nation’s 157,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people, and more than 80 percent of these systems serve fewer than 500 people. Many small systems…

EDA Issues Final Rule for the Regional Innovation Series Program

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) issued a final rule applicable to the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program last Thursday. Launched in 2014, EDA through its RIS Program, awards grants for capacity-building programs that provide proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs and for operational support to organizations that provide essential early-stage funding to…

Seeking Comments on Local Wireless Facilities

Before the holidays, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice seeking comments on local wireless facilities siting policies as they apply to small cell infrastructure. Local government groups are concerned that a petition filed by Mobilitie, a wireless infrastructure provider, would substantially limit cities’ authority over public rights of way and ability to…

Tax Exemption for Municipal Bonds

As the new administration and Congress take office and highlight tax reform on their agenda, state and local governments have joined together to encourage continued support for tax-exempt municipal bonds amid fears that this key infrastructure finance tool might again be targeted as a source of revenue. NARC has joined with the Public Finance Network…

ETCOG Awarded for Excellence in Financial Reporting for Fifteenth Consecutive Year

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for 2015. This certificate of achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting…

What We Learned from the Smart City Challenge to Build Cities for the Future

Secretary Foxx and USDOT have created a lessons learned report with information gleaned from the 75 cities who applied for the Smart City Challenge to help local leaders innovate in their own cities. The report includes several data points from the first round of applications and an overview of the seven finalist cities’ comprehensive applications.…

Secretary Foxx Exit Memo

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx released his Cabinet Exit Memo today, highlighting his time in office and record of progress. Foxx focuses on the advancements in technology, such as automated vehicles and connected infrastructure, and ways USDOT has assisted in their deployment through the Smart City Challenge and Federal Automated Vehicle Policy. He emphasizes the…

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