Advocacy Letters

2021 Letters

Letter to Office of Management and Budget Concerning Changes to the 2010 Standards for Delineating Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (March 2021) 
National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) appreciates the opportunity to provide comment on behalf of its national membership in response to the January 19, 2021 Federal Register notice, “Recommendations From the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee to the Office of Management and Budget Concerning Changes to the 2010 Standards for Delineating Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas” (FR Doc. 2021–00988; Docket ID number OMB-2021-0001).

2020 Letters

Regional Transit Letter from NARC Members (December 2020)
This letter from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and 19 other NARC members representing regions all across the nation calls for $32 Billion in Emergency Federal Funds for Transit Agencies to be included in an upcoming stimulus package. With unprecedented drops in ridership and losses in revenue, transit agencies nationally need $32 billion in emergency funds to avoid damaging service and jobs cuts and minimize economic hardship. With CARES Act funding running out, transit agencies will be forced to cut transit service and furlough or lay off workers or redistribute capital funds, intended for repairs and expansion, to bolster operating budgets. the letter strongly urges Congress to include funds in a COVID relief package and pass the package before the end of 2020.

Senate Sign-on Letter for Federal Infrastructure Investments as the Country Recovers from the COVID-19 Pandemic (September 2020)
Twelve Senators, supported by NARC and other partner organizations, have written to congressional leadership requesting targeted federal infrastructure investments as the country recovers from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter includes an ask for significant investment in federal transportation programs that meet local transportation needs. It additionally requests that this funding be provided to local areas of all sizes and be provided at 100% federal share given the depletion of local budgets from COVID-19.

LOT Coalition Letter on Transportation Extension and COVID-19 Relief (September 2020)
NARC along with LOT Coalition members have written to congressional leaders requesting that emergency stabilization funding to stabilize local budgets be included in the next coronavirus relief legislation. They also request that Congress extend the FAST Act for one year based on Division A of H.R. 2 which includes increased funding levels for fiscal year 2021 and allows for a 100% federal share of eligible project costs. – Additionally, the coalition recommends that Congress extend the statutory approval deadlines for documents such as long-range transportation plans, the Transportation Improvement Program, the Unified Public Work Program, FTA triennial reviews, quadrennial certifications, invoice processing, and other relevant deadlines that occur during fiscal years 2020 and 2021 and provide up to one year after the National
Emergency Declaration is lifted for compliance.

Regional Letter on Census 2020 (August 2020)
NARC along with a coalition of organizations representing metropolitan, regional, and rural planning organizations from across the nation, have written this letter to express concerns about specific elements related to the 2020 United States census, namely: the reduction, by one month, in the amount of time available for data collection; the implementation of differential privacy; and the treatment of population counts for communities with colleges, universities, and other educational institutions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

LOT Coalition Letter Requesting Additional Local Transportation Funds (June 2020)
NARC and the Local Officials in Transportation (LOT) Coalition sent this letter to House transportation committee staff reiterating our request that the transportation reauthorization bill include an increase in the percentage of the Surface Transportation Program (STP) that is provided for local projects. We were disappointed that this was not included in the recently released INVEST Act, but it’s not too late to have it included before the bill gets to the House floor at the end of the month. In addition, we requested that a portion of new programs focused on reducing carbon pollution and pre-disaster mitigation, both of which have significant local nexus, also be suballocated.

NARC-NADO-AMPO Letter on STBGP Funding (May 2020)
This letter, sent by NARC, the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), requests:
• $20 billion in funding through the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP).
• That all of these funds act as suballocated STBGP funding (to be distributed by population)
• That the eligible uses of these funds be expanded so this funding can be used as the non-federal match for any project under Title 23 (Highways) and Title 49 (public transportation). This allows these funds to be used to backstop local funding and allow projects to proceed even if local funds are not available.
• That these funds allow for a 100% federal share.

NARC-NADO-AMPO Letter on Local Funding (April 2020)
NARC, along with the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), has written to congressional leaders urging them to provide additional funding specifically for local governments in the next COVID-19 relief legislation. The letter explains that federal funding for communities of all sizes is necessary in order to meet the current and emerging challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. The letter also urges for flexibility so that this funding can be spent on expenses related to COVID-19 or used to fill revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic.

Group Letter to Congressional Leadership on AVs (April 2020)
NARC signed on to this coalition letter expressing concern about the consideration of the SELF DRIVE Act as part of America’s strategy to combat COVID-19. The letter states that coalition members strongly oppose any efforts to attach legislation from last session or staff draft provisions from this session for the deployment of AVs to any must-pass legislation, including additional COVID-19 relief or economic stimulus packages

Workforce in Fourth Stimulus Package Letter (April 2020)
NARC joined the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW) to ask Congress for additional support considering COVID-19’s impact on the U.S. economy and its workforce. CIAW requested an immediate investment of no less than $15 billion in our nation’s workforce development system to ensure that we can respond quickly to current demands for new workers in key industries, while helping those who have lost their jobs as a result of this crisis to transition to new family-supporting jobs.

CIAW- Workforce COVID-19 Letter (March 2020)
NARC recently signed a letter as a member of the coalition the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW), encouraging Congress to provide vitally needed funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in any further federal COVID-19 stimulus packages. Funding for the workforce system today is even more vital than it was a decade ago given the global impact of the pandemic and lowered levels of economic security across our country.

EDA Coalition Letter COVID-19 (March 2020)
NARC alongside several national organizations representing major national economic development stakeholders recently signed a letter urging both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to address economic response concerns in the next round of supplemental funding for COVID-19 response. Specifically, we asked for targeted funding through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) including a significant increase in programmatic funding for the agency and for several programmatic reforms to be included in any funding supplemental aimed at addressing the economic crisis of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Stimulus Package Municipal Bond Considerations (March 2020)
NARC signed a letter along with 19 national organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of state and local government public finance professionals and members of the municipal bond issuer and user community to express the immediate need for a COVID-19 stimulus package to include the following: restore advance refunding of tax-exempt bonds (H.R. 2772), increase access to capital for small borrowers (H.R. 3967), restore and expand the use of Direct-Pay Bonds.

COVID-19 Stimulus Package Transportation Considerations (March 2020)
NARC, NADO, and AMPO wrote this letter to congress as they develop legislation to promote the public health response and bolster economic recovery to counter the COVID-19 health crisis. The signatories encourage congress to include or consider the following: provide additional funds to metropolitan, regional, and rural planning organizations through the Metropolitan Planning (PL) program, Federal Transit Administration planning funding, and the State Planning and Research (SPR) program, utilize the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, allow funds provided in a stimulus bill to be used as the local share funds for any program, waive all restrictions under 49 U.S.C. § 5307 on the use of funds for operating expenses for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021, and consider ways to accelerate the current reimbursement of funds to states and subsequently to sub-state entities.

Comments on Disaster Recovery Reform Act (March 2020)
NARC along with a coalition of over 40 organizations urge FEMA to revise and strengthen its approach to its proposed Draft Recovery Policy (Draft Policy) to implement Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) section 1206. Section 1206 permits the Agency to, post-disaster, provide communities with assistance for building code adoption and updating, as well as for improved building code application communitywide.

Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) MOU Comments (February 2020)
NARC along with 7 other organizations and local governments recently provided comments regarding the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As the TCI jurisdictions work toward developing a final MOU, these comments encourage the leadership team to consider several elements that the signatories see as crucial to the successful implementation of a cap-and-invest program.

LOT Coalition FAST Act Reauthorization Letter (January 2020)
NARC signed a Local Officials in Transportation (LOT) Coalition letter asking Congress to leverage local governments’ increased commitment to invest in the nation’s transportation networks by substantially growing the local share of the Surface transportation Block Grant Program (STGBP). The undersigned organizations represent a broad coalition of local stakeholders from cities, counties and metropolitan planning organizations from across the country who respectfully request the Committee’s consideration of raising existing federal commitments to local governments.

Supporting the Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334) (February 2020)
NARC signed the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s national organization letter supporting the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, H.R. 4334. This bill represents bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act which expired on September 30, 2019. NARC and the other 126 national organizations who have signed this letter have a vested interest in the well-being of America’s aging population and write to congress in support of the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334) to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA).

Funding for Workforce and Education Programs (January 2020)
NARC signed a Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW) letter to Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to include adequate investments in workforce and education programs to meet the needs of businesses and workers.

2019 Letters

2020 Census Funding Letter (December 2019)
NARC signed a letter developed by the Census Project letter and sent to Congressional leadership in the House and Senate Appropriations Committees asking them to fully fund the 2020 Census as they work to finalize the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills.

Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (January 2019)
NARC signed a Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW) letter to Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to include adequate investments in workforce and education programs to meet the needs of businesses and workers.