Transportation Thursdays

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.


December 8, 2016

Conference Note:
Energy and Environmental Director Peer Exchange &
Communications Director Peer Exchange

Join NARC for two different peer exchange groups during the 2016 National Conference of Regions in February! NARC intends for these meetings to initiate a network of peer-to-peer learning and best practice sharing.

For the Energy and Environment Group, the meeting will be our second convening of environmental and energy directors from regional COGs across the country, following our initial session at the Executive Directors Conference in South Bend. If you are interested in participating, please email Cameron Herbolsheimer ( with the proper contact for your organization.

For communications and public affairs directors, this will be the kick-off meeting for a NARC Communications Committee. We want this initial convening to spearhead future efforts and engagement among member communications and public affairs directors. If you are interested in participating, please email Anna Rosenbaum ( with the proper contact for your organization.

House Passes CR and Water Bill
A four-month continuing resolution (CR) passed the House today by a 326-96 vote, and must be finalized by tomorrow to avert a government shutdown. The CR funds federal agencies through April 28 with additional dollars for a few urgent needs such as natural disaster relief and war operations, and $7 million for New York City law enforcement for protecting President-elect Trump while he is in Manhattan (New York lawmakers and officials requested $35 million). Democrats and Republicans both expressed disappointment about passing another CR rather than an omnibus package for the remainder of fiscal year 2017. The Senate will now consider the CR, but there are threats to its passage which may result in a government shutdown over the weekend. Congress has until midnight tomorrow night to pass this CR before current appropriations expire.

The House also passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN; previously known as the WRDA bill) by a 360-61 vote today. The House Rules Committee attempted to add an amendment making the one-year “Buy America” provision permanent, but it was rejected in a 3-8 vote. However, an addition was made Monday to provide relief for California’s drought. The bill authorizes $170 million for Flint, MI, which was appropriated though the CR, and nearly $11.7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to improve water infrastructure. The House Rules Committee approved a single closed rule for both the CR and WIIN Act by voice vote, allowing no amendments to be made on the floor. Senator Boxer (D-CA) has threatened to block the bill in the Senate over provisions that would waive environmental review regulations on projects related to drought relief in her state.

Congressional Calendar
Last week, House and Senate leadership released the 2017 schedules for each chamber. Check out this combined calendar for your scheduling needs.

The Latest on Trump’s Cabinet
President-elect Donald Trump has started filling his cabinet, and here are his choices thus far:

Position Selection
Chief of Staff RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Chief White House Strategist Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon
Attorney General Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions
Health and Human Services Secretary Georgia Congressman Tom Price
Transportation Secretary Former Labor Secretary for George W. Bush and Transportation Under Secretary for George H.W. Bush Elaine Chao
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
Ambassador to the United Nations South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
CIA Director Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo
National Security Adviser Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn
Defense Secretary Retired General James Mattis
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson
Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Homeland Security Secretary Retired General John Kelly
Labor Secretary Andy Puzder

Outstanding Cabinet positions: Secretary of State, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Interior

Secretary Foxx Announces $300 Million for University Transportation Center Grants
Thirty-two University Transportation Centers (UTCs) across the country will receive funds to advance research and education that address critical transportation challenges. The UTCs focus on the six research priorities from the FAST Act, including improving mobility of people and goods, reducing congestion, promoting safety, improving the durability and extending the life of transportation infrastructure, preserving the environment, and preserving the existing transportation system. Nine of the selected grantees are new recipients of this program and seven are two-year institutions.

Paul Ryan and Steven Mnuchin on Trump’s Infrastructure Program
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) briefly discussed infrastructure with Scott Pelley for an episode of 60 Minutes that aired Sunday. In response to a question on the proposed $1 trillion infrastructure program, Ryan suggested that the marketplace would decide and it “should be decided by the needs in the particular states and communities as to what is built or rebuilt.” Speaker Ryan also noted that the infrastructure package will be “one of our high priorities” this year.

Trump’s Treasury Secretary nominee, Steven Mnuchin, said last Wednesday that infrastructure is a “big focus” for the incoming administration. “We need to make sure that our infrastructure is built for the 21st century, that we have roads and bridges and power grids and infrastructure that support this country, and that’s going to be a big focus,” Mnuchin told reporters. Mnuchin suggested that the administration would look at different ways to fund the program including public-private partnerships.

2011-2015 ACS 5-Year Estimates and 2016 Determinations for the Voting Rights Act
The U.S. Census Bureau released the 2011-2015 five year ACS estimates, offering a wealth of demographic and socio-economic data on more than 40 topics for communities of all sizes. The five-year estimates average data collected over the relevant time period from an annual sample of roughly 3.5 million addresses, to ensure acceptable levels of statistical reliability for data on neighborhoods, sparsely populated areas (such as rural counties), and numerically small population groups (such as veterans, persons with disabilities, and race and ethnic subgroups). Census also released the 2016 Determinations for Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which lists 263 jurisdictions that are required to provide language assistance during elections for groups of citizens who are unable to speak or understand English adequately.

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NARC Elections Outcomes Webinar Slides
NARC held a post-election webinar on Monday detailing the overall results and thoughts about the incoming Administration. The slides include information on the new Congress and thoughts on what the new Administration might focus on.

DVRPC Board Retreat and Megaregions Workshop
This week, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) held their annual Board Retreat in conjunction with an FHWA workshop on megaregions. The-two day event brought together local, state, and federal transportation experts to explore how to work together on a megaregion level. Day one featured national megaregions expert and director of the Georgia Tech Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, Dr. Catherine Ross, and speakers ranging from the Secretary of PennDOT to a senior research associate from the American Transportation Research Institute. Speakers focused on how the Mid-Atlantic megaregion can collaborate, with in-depth discussions relating to freight activities. The second day included panels with NARC member Executive Directors from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Mid-America Regional Council, and North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. FHWA is hosting workshops like this around the country to spur conversations on megaregions and transportation planning coordination.

Member Assistance Request: CDBG Success Stories
NARC has joined with the Community Development Block Grant Coalition to highlight the value of federal housing and community development programs to communities as the President-elect Trump Transition team develops policies on housing and community development. We are seeking information on CDBG projects that have made a significant contribution to your communities.

Do you have a success story to share?  If so, please provide the following information from this link so we can include your successful project in our transition document. Please send responses to Anna Rosenbaum,

View full list of jobs!

Executive Director
Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Fairfax, VA

View full list of grants and events!

USDOT Technology Programs
December 13, 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET
This webinar will present information on three FTA technology programs: Mobility Services for All Americans (MSAA), Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI), and Mobility on Demand (MOD). In addition to describing the programs and projects that are being supported under each. Speakers will provide information about funding opportunities under these programs and explore why transit agencies, health and human agencies, and other transportation entities should be aware of the work that is happening in these programs.

Registration Open! 2017 National Conference of Regions
February 12-15 – Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave NW Washington, DC
The National Conference of Regions is NARC’s forum to determine key policy issues and a legislative agenda for the year ahead, targeting topics central to our members’ missions and their local elected officials’ focus. Additional information will be available soon. Capitol Hill Day is the final day of the conference, February 15, 2017.

UITP Global Public Transport Summit
May 15-17, Montreal
The Global Public Transport Summit is a unique event that covers all urban and regional transport modes. It combines a full program of sessions with an exhibition of the latest solutions, innovations, and products in public transport and urban mobility. The Summit itself has a long history, dating back to 1886. Once known as the UITP World Congress & Exhibition, today the event is considered the not-to-miss occasion for the international public transport community, transport ministers, mayors, industry CEOs, and urban visionaries to debate and explore the strategic vision and business activities of the sector.

Funding Opportunity: Using a Total Environment Framework (Built, Natural, Social Environments) to Assess Life-long Health Effects of Chemical Exposures
Deadline: March 2, 2017
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for research on how pollution affects human health in the context of the total environment – built, natural, and social environments interacting together with inherent characteristics and interactions. Public and private non-profits, institutions, and state and local governments are eligible to apply.

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