Transportation Thursdays

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


October 20, 2016

February 15 is NARC’s Capitol Hill Day
NARC is already busy planning your visit to Washington, D.C. in February for the National Conference of Regions. Presidential and congressional elections are around the corner and transition teams for both candidates are already laying the foundation for the next administration. That makes this conference particularly important, as your visit will be perfectly timed to outline your priorities for the new Congress and new administration.

As you begin to think about your plans for February, we strongly encourage you to stay for Capitol Hill Day on Wednesday, February 15. We are particularly excited that our new location at the Washington Court Hotel puts us just a few blocks from the Hill, and we plan to take advantage with a congressional breakfast to kick off the day and hear from congressional leaders on their plans for the 115th Congress.

Shuster Highlights T&I Committee’s Accomplishments
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) has released his committee’s legislative record and accomplishments in the 114th Congress. The report card highlights House passage of 96 bills and 54 hearings while an accompanying document briefly describes legislative highlights like the FAST Act and the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. Chairman Shuster’s statements also mention the desire to finish the Water Resources Development Act before the end of this session and continuing efforts to address infrastructure needs in the next Congress.

MPO Coordination Rule Comments Due Monday
There are still a few days left to submit comments on the MPO Coordination Rule before the docket closes on Monday, October 24. FHWA and FTA have asked for specific comments on elements of the proposed rule and NARC has some action items to reinforce your concerns to the administration and Congress.

Guidance on State Freight Plans and State Freight Advisory Committees
A provision in the FAST Act requires each state that receives funding under the National Highway Freight Program to develop a State Freight Plan that includes immediate and long-range planning and investments with respect to freight. USDOT released guidance for states that provides the minimum required elements and a template for completing a State Freight Plan as well as suggestions for creating State Freight Advisory Committees to assist with freight planning.

USDOT Announces New Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced this week the creation of the Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT), which will help guide federal policy for automated transportation. The committee will assess USDOT’s current research and policy and assist in information gathering, technical advice, and recommendations for deploying technology in the future. USDOT is seeking 15 individuals with extensive knowledge in the industry to serve two-year terms. Individuals interested in nominating themselves or other potential members, should send materials to

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Member Request: Federal-Aid Projects
The Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA), the joint COG/MPO in Omaha, Nebraska, is seeking examples and ideas from NARC members of MPOs taking a more active role to advance federal-aid projects. MAPA is interested in ways other MPOs have found methods to assist their local jurisdictions to advance federal-aid projects that have a very delayed project delivery due to issues such as right-of-way or environmental reviews.

Has your MPO done work like this or thought about ways to help move projects forward, such as convening an environmental work-day with FHWA and resource agency staff or dedicating MPO staff as a project sponsor on behalf of the local jurisdiction?

Please send responses to Anna Rosenbaum, Thank you in advance for your assistance.

USCM Mayors Infrastructure Agenda
Last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) held a forum in New York City to meet with transition leaders from the two presidential campaigns and lay out their collective vision for a national infrastructure agenda for the new administration. USCM notes that the “share” of federal transportation dollars allocated to local areas today is less than when the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act was enacted 25 years ago. The mayors call for greater investment in surface transportation, including additional resources allocated directly to local governments to improve existing local road and street facilities in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, additional flexible funds for transportation in metropolitan and local areas, and increased commitment to transportation research. For water infrastructure, mayors call for a renewal of the federal-state-city partnership to take a comprehensive approach to water, sewer, and flood issues; additional funding for local priorities including green infrastructure; and full funding or an end to unfunded federal mandates. The mayors’ agenda also calls for a more aggressive goods movement within the U.S. to make ports globally competitive.

View full list of jobs!

Department Director of Technical Services
San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego, CA

Lead Manager
Alamo Area Council of Governments, San Antonio, TX

Senior Planner
Yakima Valley Council of Governments, Yakima, WA

View full list of grants and events!

EPA Webinar – Toolkit of Available EPA Green Infrastructure Modeling Software
October 26, 2:00 – 3:30 PM ET
This webinar will present a toolkit consisting of five EPA green infrastructure models, tools, and communication materials. This toolkit serves as a teaching and quick reference resource to be used by planners and developers when making green infrastructure implementation decisions. It can also be used for low impact development design competitions. The models and tools included are the: Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz), Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST), Visualizing Ecosystem Land Management Assessments (VELMA) Model, Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), and National Stormwater Calculator (SWC).

Reminder! NCHRP Snapshot Survey: Resiliency Planning
Survey Closes October 30
The AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning (SCOP), through the NHCRP 8-36 program, invites your participation in a brief survey covering current and future planning activities at state DOTs, MPOs, and regional organizations. The insights and responses you provide will be used to develop a quarterly series of “snapshot” publications. These snapshots highlight current practices, address trending topics, provide best practice examples, and act as a resource for planners, executives, legislators, and others interested in planning practices. The survey explores the topics of risk, resiliency, and redundancy in long range planning. Please distribute the survey to the person(s) within your agency who may best respond to this topic.

Work While Walking: The What, Why and How of Walking Meetings
November 17, 2:00 PM ET
Walking is a great way to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. One way to make sure you are getting the recommended amount of steps is to turn meetings at work into walking meetings. Join America Walks to explore the what, why, and how of walking meetings and learn from examples of businesses and organization that have put them into practice.

Save the Date! 2017 Walkability Action Institute
March 27-30, 2017, Decatur, GA
Cross-disciplinary teams can apply for travel assistance through a competitive application process. An RFA will be released at or near the end of October and will be due at or near the end of November. Teams will attend a multi-day action institute and develop action plans supporting sustainable policies, systems, and environments supporting walkability and walkable communities. Start putting your teams together now!

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