APWA Washington Report – July 15, 2019

July 15, 2019 Share:
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LATEST NEWS
APWA Attends NGA Infrastructure Roundtable
• Last Tuesday, APWA Executive Director Scott Grayson and Director of Government Affairs Andrea Eales attended an invitation-only roundtable discussion led by the National Governors Association (NGA);
• Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) led the discussion as he will be assuming the role of Chair for NGA next week during the organization’s summer meeting;
• During his time as Chair for NGA, Governor Hogan is focusing on his initiative, “Infrastructure: Foundation for Success, Governors Building a More Efficient, Innovative, Smart & Secure Future”;
• In addition to APWA, other state and local organizations were present to share ideas and strategy for advocating and implementing ideas for broad infrastructure investment;
• NGA will continue hosting future discussions on this initiative both in and outside of the U.S. with leaders from government, business and academia;
• Executive Director Grayson made comments during the discussion about the importance of asset management, and the need to focus on the costs of operations and maintenance;
• Additional comments made during the discussion by roundtable participants spoke to the need for a greater local voice, and urged a changing of dynamics at all levels of government in order to meet our country’s infrastructure needs;
• Other discussion topics included addressing balancing increasing the federal fuel tax and recognizing the investment many states have already made by increasing their state fuel taxes, and the need to ensure we are addressing workforce demands and needs to build, operate and maintain a sustainable, high-quality, and diverse infrastructure for our nation.
Senate EPW Hosts Hearing on Surface Transportation Reauthorization
• Last week, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (EPW) held a hearing focused on drafting a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill to follow the current law (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Public Law 115-94) set to expire September 30, 2020;
• EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) stated that he and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) are focused on drafting a bipartisan, 5-year reauthorization bill, and the Chairman also shared his strong belief the current highway funding structure to distribute federal funds by formula to the states should remain;
• The EPW Committee says it will release its draft surface transportation reauthorization bill prior to its intended mark-up of the bill on August 1, just before the Congressional district work period begins for the month;
• EPW does not have jurisdiction over transit so the legislation will be addressing programmatic proposals for roads, bridges, and highways;
• If this schedule remains, the Senate EPW will be the first of any House or Senate committee to officially push out a surface transportation reauthorization bill;
• To view an archive of the hearing, you may click here.
House to Vote on Small Business Cybersecurity Training
• Under suspension of the rules, the House of Representatives plans to vote on H.R. 1649, the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act of 2019, introduced by Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH);
• If enacted, the bill would mandate that U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) employees are certified to provide counseling on cybersecurity issues;
• SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by Congress through a partnership with the SBA;
• SBDCs were created to assist new and existing entrepreneurs face the many challenges encountered by small businesses in remaining competitive globally;
• To view text of H.R. 1649, please click here.
DHS Releases Report on Mass Attacks in Public Places
• Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released their 2018 National Threat Assessment Center’s Annual Report on Mass Attacks in Public Spaces;
• The report is designed to assess motives, early behavioral signs, and trends that are common among the attackers;
• The report analyzed 27 targeted attacks that occurred in public spaces during 2018;
• To view the report, please click here.
FEMA Requests Feedback on revised NFIP Payment Methodology
• The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is requesting comments pertaining to the proposed revised National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) “Write Your Own” (WYO) policy payment methodology;
• The WYO policy program, created in 1983, is a joint endeavor between the private insurance industry and FEMA;
• The program was designed to allow participating property and casualty insurance companies to write and service flood insurance policies in their own names;
• The companies receive an expense allowance for policies written and claims processed while the federal government retains responsibility for underwriting losses;
• Specifically, FEMA would like to receive recommendations on how to improve the WYO policy, including streamlining the process;
• FEMA is accepting comments through September 6;
• For additional details, and instructions for submitting comments, please click here.
DOE Seeks Comments on Guidance Standards
• Last week, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced they are seeking feedback on two guidance standards;
• The first guidance standard they are seeking feedback on is, “Codes, Standards, Specifications, and Other Guidance for Enhancing the Resilience of Electric Infrastructure Systems Against Severe Weather Events”;
• The second is, “Codes, Standards, Specifications, and Other Guidance for Enhancing the Resilience of Oil and Natural Gas Infrastructure Systems Against Severe Weather Events”;
• The deadline to submit comments directly to DOE for both is August 23.
ON THE HORIZON
• July 16 at 10:00 am ET, the House Committee on Oversight & Reform is scheduled to hold a hearing to examine the Administration’s response to the Hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – click here for more information;
• July 16 at 10:00 am ET, the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways & Transit is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Oversight of the Federal Transit Administration’s Implementation of the Capital Investment Grant Program” – click here for more information;
• July 16 at 10:00 am ET, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Solving the Climate Crisis: Cleaning Up Heavy Duty Vehicles, Protecting Communities” – click here for more information;
• July 16 at 10:30 am ET, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications & Technology has a hearing scheduled to discuss building a comprehensive approach to spectrum policy pertaining to wireless technology – click here for more information;
• July 17 at 10:00 am ET, the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation is scheduled to hold a hearing to discuss the state of aviation safety – click here for more information;
• July 17 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Electric Battery Production and Waste- Opportunities and Challenges” – click here for more information;
• July 17 at 2:00 pm ET, the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology Subcommittee on Energy has a hearing scheduled to discuss modernizing and securing our nation’s electricity grid – click here for more information;
• On July 18 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water & Power is scheduled to hold a hearing focusing on water conservation through rehabilitating and developing water supply infrastructure – click here for more information;
• July 18 at 4:00 pm ET, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is scheduled to hold a webinar titled, “What is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC)” – click here for more information.