This week, hundreds of elected, nonprofit, business, and community leaders will host events to advocate one message: “Americans are waiting. The future won’t. It’s #TimeToBuild.” Every day of Infrastructure Week, local, state, and national stakeholders will highlight the projects, technologies, and policies that are necessary to improve our country’s infrastructure. To participate in this week-long event, check out the Infrastructure Week website to see the latest calendar of official events and download graphics you can use to promote the cause on social media. Follow the official conversation on Twitter using #TimeToBuild.
This week, Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) will co-host a CarFit event with many stakeholders in their region. CarFit is a free, interactive, and educational program that uses trained volunteers to assess the safest “fit” for older drivers and their vehicles. Simple improvements that help improve driver safety and community mobility include educating the public on proper mirror positioning, foot positioning between pedals and brakes, and the distance between the driver and steering wheel. See CarFit’s website to learn about bringing their events and services to your community.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has begun its National Level Exercise (NLE) 2018, an event that brings together more than 250 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, private industry, and nonprofit organizations to test their emergency response to a simulated major disaster. Through May 11, these organizations are coordinating together and using established plans, policies, and procedures to prepare for and respond to a Mid-Atlantic hurricane scenario near Hampton Roads, Virginia. FEMA Administrator Brock Long said, “NLE 2018 serves as the culminating effort to exercise the nation’s response capabilities before the 2018 [hurricane] season.” To help your communities prepare as well, please share the following FEMA tips and resources with your residents:
- Download the FEMA App.
- Create and test a Family Communications Plan.
- Document and insure your property to ensure that you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild, or replace whatever is damaged.
- Learn about purchasing flood insurance.
- Strengthen your financial preparedness by collecting and securing personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records.
- Get trained because you could be the one to help others until help arrives.
- Join the FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center.
- More info on FEMA’s National Level Exercise 2018.
On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register seeking nominations to fill vacancies on EPA’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC). EPA requests nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for a three-year appointment. The 15-member NDWAC was established by the Safe Drinking Water Act to provide practical and independent advice, consultation, and recommendations to the EPA’s Administrator on the activities, functions, policies, and regulations required by the bill. EPA’s notice solicits nominations to fill four vacancies from August 2018 through December 2020, and five vacancies from December 2018 through December 2021. To maintain the representation required by statute, nominees will be selected to represent state and local agencies concerned with water hygiene and public water supply (two vacancies) and the general public (two vacancies). Nominations are due by May 31, 2018.
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) launched a new safety campaign focusing on seat belt use, proper child safety-seat use, and safe cycling guidelines. This new effort is in response to recent, staggering statistics that show that only 83% of Ohio motorists wear a seat belt – the lowest rate in five years. MVRPC is also using this safety campaign to prepare motorists and cyclists for the warmer weather, when cyclists are more likely to share the road with vehicles. MVRPC partnered with the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority to display campaign ads on their transit vehicles. Residents will also see ads on poster and digital billboards and the Dayton Daily News.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently announced $68.5 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for early-stage research of advanced vehicle technologies. Projects selected through this Vehicle Technologies Office funding opportunity will address one of five topics, including batteries and electrification, technology integration, and co-optimization of engines and fuels. The goals of this opportunity are to improve transportation efficiency and reliability by enhancing economic growth and enabling affordable mobility.
The Nebraska Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) recognized the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) with awards for two projects in addition to the APA Planning Agency Award for its overall work. The Omaha Metropolitan Area Online Bicycle Map won the Transportation Plan Award. The interactive map helps the community find routes for biking through the city and provides information on the current trail system and street network.
Under the newly proposed bipartisan and bicameral Flood Mapping Modernization and Homeowner Empowerment Pilot Program Act of 2018, cities would gain access to a new grant initiative aimed at improving how the nation assesses and manages flood risk. If implemented, three cities with populations over 50,000 would be selected to participate in the FEMA pilot program every year to help develop better methods for mapping urban flood hazards. It would authorize $1.2 million for FY 2019 and a total of $4.3 million for FY 2020-2022 that could flow to state and local governments. FEMA will use information learned from this pilot program to create best practices and improve their flood risk mapping program.
Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray recently introduced a bipartisan bill to address the urgent opioid crisis in America. The Opioid Response Act of 2018 (S. 2680) is composed of forty proposals, mostly from members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions, that came from seven bipartisan hearings and feedback received from the public. The bill’s proposals include: improving data sharing among states so doctors and pharmacies know if a patient has a history of opioid abuse, making grants available that support state and local workforce boards and communities affected by the opioid crisis, and providing grants for states and localities to collect data and implement key prevention strategies. To learn more, read this summary of the legislation. The committee expects to mark up the bill tomorrow morning.