eRegions Newsletter

NEWS FROM WASHINGTON
The Senate is in session. The House has begun their August Recess.

Senate to Wrap Up Work This Week Before August Recess
The Senate has plenty left to do before they leave Washington at the end of this week for their five-week August Recess. At the top of their agenda is consideration of the two-year budget agreement (HR 3877) that also suspends the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. The topline for defense spending would be $738 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2020 and $740 billion FY 2021; nondefense spending would be $632 billion for FY 2020 and $634 billion for FY 2021. The House passed the legislation before they left last week by a vote of 284-149, and the president has already indicated his support for the bill’s approval.
 
Other than the consideration of the budget deal, which is expected as early as Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has teed up nearly 20 district court nominations he would like to approve before leaving this week. He is also expected to advance the nominations of Kelly Craft as ambassador to the United Nations and David Norquist as the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
 
EPW Committee Leaders Introduce Most Substantial Highway Legislation in History
Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) has released draft language on the nation’s largest highway legislation in history: America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA)The draft bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair the nation’s roads and bridges. The bill would establish a program to support projects that improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events. It would also authorize a mix of formula-based and grant-based programs to begin to reduce transportation-related emissions. To find out more about what is in the newly proposed legislation:
  • Read the text of the legislation here.
  • Read a summary of the legislation here.
  • Read the section-by-section of the legislation here.
The Senate EPW Committee has announced that they will have a committee business meetingtomorrow at 9AM ET that will in part consider a substitute amendment to the ATIA bill draft.
 
The NARC staff is currently reviewing the bill language and will release a more in-depth analysis for our members this week. If you have any feedback or concerns related to the bill language, please reach out to Erich Zimmermann at erich@narc.org.  
 
A House Bid to Restore and Update the Long-Dormant Intergovernmental Commission
House Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced a bill this week that aims to “reconstitute and reform” the US Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, which has not been in operation since 1996. The long-dormant commission was originally designed to foster cooperation between state, local, and federal policy makers. Members included representatives of the White House, congressional lawmakers, governors, state legislators, mayors, and county officials. From June 2017 through late last year, Representatives Connolly and Bishop led the Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs to propose a bill that would establish a newly organized Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. It would consist of 31 members: six appointed by the president; three appointed by the speaker of the House and Senate majority leaders; in addition, the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Counties, The National League of Cities and US Conference of Mayors would all make submissions. The bill sets guidelines to limit how many commission members could be from one political party or one state, and calls for members to hail from both large and small jurisdictions. The bill says it would act as a forum for discussing common problems across levels of government, options for improving federal grant programs, regulations, and tax policies.

Congress Introduces Four New Carbon Pricing Bills
Pushed by constituent concerns regarding the effects of carbon emissions on climate change, a bipartisan group of lawmakers recently introduced multiple carbon tax bills in the House and Senate. On Thursday, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Climate Action Rebate Act,which would set greenhouse gas fees, starting at $15 per metric ton of carbon and gradually increasing over time. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced a companion bill in the House. Also on Thursday, Representative Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced a pair of bills: the Stemming Warming and Augmenting Pay (SWAP) Act, which would gradually impose a $30 tax per metric ton of carbon, as well as the Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act, which would gradually impose a $40 tax per metric ton of carbon, but at a slower rate than the SWAP Act.
MEMBER REQUEST
A regional council is in the process of updating their travel demand model and corresponding land use model in partnership with their region’s MPOs. They are interested increasing regular maintenance of the model by regularly feeding in the approved development pipeline, not just the future land use potential, on an annual basis. They are looking for models that have a mechanism for collecting this data from local jurisdictions and incorporating it into their forecasting. 

Does your regional council collect development data from local jurisdictions and incorporate it into your travel demand model forecasting? If so, please contact Eli Spang at eli.spang@narc.org.
REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT
NOACA Accepts Irishtown Bend Grant Funding at INFRA Grant Announcement Ceremony in Washington D.C.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) was awarded a $9 Million grant for the Irishtown Bend project under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America) grant program. The Irishtown Bend project will stabilize the hillside and repair bulkheads along a critical stretch of the Cuyahoga River. Executive Director Grace Gallucci of NOACA remarked that “transportation is critical to economic activity and quality of life, and Irishtown Bend is our top priority. 20,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in economic activity depend on a viable shipping channel in Cleveland.” Through a mix of federal grants and local funding options, NOACA has 70% of the entire project covered and are exploring other funding sources for the remaining $10.5 million.
 
INCOG Helps Complete Tulsa Creating Access to Nutrition (CAN) Plan
An Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) aging services, transportation, and GIS team has completed the development of the Tulsa C.A.N. (Creating Access to Nutrition) Plan – a transportation and food desert study funded through the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) in Washington, D.C. The study boundary consists of a nine square mile area north of downtown Tulsa that has been identified as a food desert, an area which is deficient of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. A public survey was distributed to more than 450 individuals, and 208 responses were collected. The study team held four Advisory Board meetings, four focus groups with the targeted populations, and a final workshop that created more than 1,200 responses to the challenging issues this study addresses. Thirteen strategies were identified as general, short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations. Several of the recommendations are expected to be implemented through an additional $70,000 grant awarded to INCOG.

FTA Announces Nearly $85 Million in Grants for Projects Nationwide to Expand Advanced Bus Technologies
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced about $85 million in grant selections through the Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant program, which funds the deployment of transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced propulsion technologies. Eligible projects include the purchase or lease of buses powered by efficient technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric engines, as well as related infrastructure investments such as charging stations. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) was one of the 38 projects in 38 states that were selected. SCAG plans to use their $2 million award to purchase advanced battery-electric buses for the Anaheim Transportation Network.
FROM THE REGIONS LEAD BLOG
Jul 18, 2019 11:28 am | NARC

Read about some of the programs that regional councils across the US are working on to help tackle the impacts of the affordable housing crisis in their regions.

The post How Can Regional Councils Help Increase Affordable Housing? appeared first on Regions Lead.

FEATURED JOBS
View full list of jobs!

Associate Regional Planner
Posted: 7/26/2019
San Joaquin Council of Governments, Stockton, CA

Senior Planner
Posted: 7/26/2019
Washington County Board of County Commissioners, Chipley, FL

Transportation Planner/Engineer (2 Positions)
Posted: 7/25/2019
Wasatch Front Regional Council, Salt Lake City, UT

Grants Assistant
Posted: 7/24/2019
Emerald Coast Regional Council, Penasacola, FL

Community and Economic Development Manager
Posted: 7/24/2019
Emerald Coast Regional Council, Pensacola, FL

GRANTS
View full list of grants!

FY 2019 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant
Applications Due: September 20
This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals from eligible entities to conduct research and provide technical assistance to new, existing, and/or prospective Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grantees. In addition to providing on-going technical assistance throughout the project period, the successful applicant will be responsible for developing an annual meeting to facilitate peer-to-peer networking and provide training to the EWDJT grantees.
 
FY 2020 Marine Debris Removal
Applications Due: December 4
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program supports the development and implementation of locally-driven, marine debris prevention, assessment, and removal projects that benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and NOAA trust resources. Projects awarded through this grant competition will create long-term, quantifiable ecological benefits and habitat improvements through on-the-ground marine debris removal activities, with highest priority for those targeting derelict fishing gear and other medium- and large-scale debris. Successful proposals through this solicitation will be funded through cooperative agreements, with the typical funding level for the federal share of project awards ranging from $50,000 to $150,000.
EVENTS
View full list of events!

Low-Carbon Transportation Investments, Strategies, and Outcomes
July 30, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM ET
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) states continue to seek input on the investments and policies necessary for a cleaner and more equitable transportation system. The livecast of the event will be available at 8:30 AM ET tomorrow morning on the main workshop webpage. At this workshop, officials from TCI jurisdictions will:
  • Provide public updates regarding the TCI regional policy development process and respond to related questions from stakeholders
  • Receive guidance from subject matter experts and input from stakeholders on the following topics:
  • The potential environmental, health, and economic benefits of a regional low-carbon transportation program and associated investments;
  • Strategies for setting investment priorities and ways to measure and evaluate program performance; and
  • How a regional cap-and-invest program and potential complementary policies could work together.
The Rapid Expansion of Micromobility, Data-Sharing, and Dynamic Streets
July 30, 12:00-12:45 PM ET
From flying taxis to delivery robots to micromobility—think shared bikes and scooters—transportation is evolving fast. How people and goods move will look starkly different in just a few years. American ingenuity is once again transforming how we travel and how we connect commerce. The US Department of Transportation Volpe Center’s Our New Mobility Future, which will be discussed on this webinar, explores the promise and pitfalls of our new mobility future—and to discuss how we’re going to get there.
 
Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment
July 30, 8:00-9:00 PM ET
Join Doctors for America for the first of their series addressing substance use disorder. Their Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment co-chairs will discuss prevention, treatment, stigma reduction, and advocacy.
 
Connected and Engaged: Community Outreach Strategies for Transportation
August 14, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
This America Walks webinar will focus on the importance of community engagement and collaboration in designing and creating walkable and movable neighborhoods for all its members. Learn how organizations and individuals can build relationships and connections for a more active and engaged future. This webinar is intended for those just starting out on the walking path as well as those interested in learning more about the topic.

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