APWA – Washington Report – August 6, 2018

August 6, 2018

**Please note, both the House and Senate are out of session this week. The Senate will return to D.C. on August 15. The next edition of APWA’s Washington Report will be sent out on August 20, 2018.

In the meantime, please be sure to keep up with any Government Affairs related activities by checking Advocacy News at www.apwa.net and follow @APWAGovAffairs on Twitter.

LATEST NEWS

FY 2019 Appropriations Update

  • Before departing for its abbreviated August recess last week, the Senate passed a four-bill fiscal year (FY) 2019 minibus appropriations measure (HR 6147);
  • The minibus is called so because it includes Senate proposed funding for four appropriations measures rolled into one bill, and these are: Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) and related agencies, Interior and Environment and related agencies, Financial Services-General Government, and the Agriculture-Food and Drug Administration;
  • For T-HUD specifically, the Senate passed bill proposes $26.6 billion in discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and is $3.3 billion above authorized funding levels passed in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, with $800 million of those funds targeted for rural bridges;
  • Also proposed in the Senate passed T-HUD portion of HR 6147, is $1 billion for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants; $49.3 billion for the Federal Highway Administration; $956 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; $17.7 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration; $2.8 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration; $13.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration; $667 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Administration; and $275 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration;
  • In the Interior-Environment bill, individual programs within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) receive increased funding under the Senate bill:
    • Clean Water State Revolving Fund – $1.544 billion (+$300 million from FY 18 actual level);
    • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund – $1.164 billion (+$301 million from FY 18 actual level);
    • Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (WIFIA) – $63 million (+$43 million from FY 18 actual level);
  • To date, no FY 2019 appropriations bill has been conferenced between the two chambers to be sent to President Trump for his signature;
  • The current fiscal year ends September 30, 2018, and a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government beginning October 1, 2018 will be needed;
  • The likely scenario in September will be to attach a CR to an appropriations measure that is traditionally bipartisan and unlikely to contain controversial provisions such as the FY 2019 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill;
  • How long the CR may be, and whether it will extend funding for the federal government until after the November 6 election, will need to be decided upon.

Congress Votes to Extend NFIP

  • Last week, the Senate joined the House in passing an extension to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through November 30;
  • Without an extension the program would have expired on July 31;
  • The measure passed by the Senate, which was previously adopted by the House during the week of July 20, was introduced by Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R-NJ);
  • The language was voted on in the nature of a substitute to an unrelated Senate bill S. 1182, The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act;
  • To view the text of the amendment from Rep. MacArthur, click here.

Cybersecurity Bill Headed to the White House

  • Last week, the Senate passed S. 770, the Main Street Cybersecurity Act of 2017, introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and passed by the House last month;
  • If signed into law by the President, the measure would require the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide resources to help reduce small business cybersecurity risks, and for other purposes;
  • Specifically, this bill would require NIST to consider small businesses when it facilitates and supports the development of voluntary, consensus-based, industry-led guidelines and procedures to cost-effectively reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure;
  • To view text of the bill, click here.

APWA Invited to Participate in FEMA September PrepTalk

  • On September 6, Phil Mann, Public Works Director for the City of Gainesville, FL will represent APWA during a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) PrepTalk session;
  • PrepTalks, which began this past January, are a partnership of the emergency management community including FEMA, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Homeland Security Consortium, and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security;
  • Mr. Mann will provide an 18-minute presentation, followed by a 10-minute audience question and answer period during the in-person symposium;
  • PrepTalks are recorded, providing the emergency management community, and the general public, an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the essential role played by public works professionals before, during, and after disasters;
  • For additional information on PrepTalks, click here.

USDA Announces Funding for Rural Water Infrastructure

  • Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $4 billion in available funding to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure;
  • USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program;
  • The funding can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage, and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents;
  • Examples of recent projects may be viewed here;
  • Communities can apply for this funding through the USDA rural development online application page, or through one of the USDA’s Rural Development offices.

FEMA Releases Notice of Hazard Mitigation Grants for 2018 

  • On August 3, FEMA announced that $395.2 million in funding is available through two Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs, the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM);
  • These competitive grant programs will provide assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLLT) governments in strengthening their ability to mitigate disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages;
  • In FY18, $160 million is available for FMA grants including a set-aside amount of $70 million for community advance assistance and flood mitigation projects;
  • The remainder of the FY18 FMA grants will continue to focus on reducing or eliminating the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures, and flood hazard mitigation planning;
  • $235.2 million is available for FY18 PDM grants to states and territories which fulfill statutory requirements and $15 million of these funds will be allocated for federally recognized tribes;
  • The balance of funds will be for the competitive mitigation activities with a major focus on resilient infrastructure;
  • FEMA will be providing a series of informational webinars to provide an overview of the grant programs and details about the agency’s funding priorities and review process;
  • For additional information on the FMA grant program, click here;
  • For more details on the PDM grant program, click here;
  • For additional information on the webinars, click here.

EPA Closes Two WIFIA Loans

  • Last week, the EPA closed two loans from the WIFIA program;
  • The first is a $135 million loan to the Orange County Water District to help finance its Groundwater Replenishment System final expansion;
  • The second is a $699 million loan to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to help finance its innovative Southeast Treatment Plant Biosolids Digester Facilities Project;
  • EPA has now closed loans on four of its initial 13 projects;
  • To learn more about WIFIA click here.

DHS Announces New Cybersecurity Information Sharing Initiative

  • Last week during the first National Cybersecurity Summit, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the creation of the National Risk Management;
  • The intent of the Center, which will operate out of DHS’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, will be to bridge the current gap between the federal government and the private community pertaining to information sharing of cybersecurity best practices;
  • Initially, the Center will focus on the energy, finance, and telecommunications sectors as well as emphasizing the defense of our nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks;

To view the DHS release on the Summit and the National Risk Management Center, click here.