APWA – Washington Report – May 6, 2019

May 6, 2019 Share:
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Infrastructure Investment Conversation Continues
• Last Tuesday, President Trump held a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and other Congressional leaders to discuss a bipartisan effort for broad infrastructure investment;
• After the meeting it was revealed (and made huge news), that agreement was found on a topline investment number of $2 trillion, however, a specific plan for how and where to find that money was not agreed upon;
• In addition to roads, bridges, and water investment, there was discussion around supporting broadband deployment, clean energy, and updating the Nation’s power grid;
• The meeting ended with a commitment to come together again in a few weeks to discuss specifics on how to pay for such a large infrastructure investment;
• Also, on May 1 the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a ‘Member Day’ hearing where House members sat before the Committee to share their priorities for the Committee’s agenda including a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill to succeed the FAST Act which expires in September 2020;
• To view an archive of the House Transportation and Infrastructure ‘Members Day’ hearing, please click here;
• Related to infrastructure, and in addition to the above-mentioned events, last Thursday the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (SHGAC) Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing focused on the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) and overall streamlining efforts since the FAST Act became law in December 2015;
• You may click here to view an archive of the SHSGAC Subcommittee hearing;
• Of note, last month during a joint spring meeting in D.C., the APWA Government Affairs Committee, the Emergency Management Technical Committee, and the Water Resources Technical Committee met with staff from FPISC to learn how the Steering Council works, and received a demonstration of the FPISC dashboard which tracks infrastructure projects;
• Infrastructure investment and a surface transportation reauthorization measure are often companion topics in D.C. these days, as both involve finding appropriate levels of funding and policy tweaking to best support our country’s roads and bridges, and broader infrastructure needs;
• APWA’s Government Affairs team will continue tracking these types of events in order to keep our members updated on any progress regarding an infrastructure package and surface transportation reauthorization.
House Expected to Take up Disaster Relief Measure
• This week, the House of Representatives plans to take up H.R. 2157, Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019, introduced by House Committee on Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY);
• In enacted, the bill would provide approximately $17 billion in aid for states and territories recovering from extreme weather events over the past two years, including hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, and tornadoes;
• This bill is in line with the previously passed Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019, H.R. 268, except this bill includes an additional $3 billion in funding to assist midwestern states impacted by recent flooding;
• The measure also includes language which would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 – the deadline without an extension is May 31, 2019;
• If passed by the House, it is unclear if and when the Senate would bring the legislation up for a vote, as they are currently negotiating a separate disaster relief package;
• To view text of H.R. 2157, please click here.
DHS Announces National Critical Functions List
• Last week, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a list of 55 National Critical Functions (NCF) that has been developed over the past several months;
• The NCF’s are defined by CISA as core functions deemed so vital to the United States that if disrupted would have a disastrous impact on national public safety and/or health;
• For additional information including a copy of the NCF list, please click here.
FEMA Announces Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Fire Policy
• The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released policy guidelines supporting wildfire recovery pertaining to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG);
• The HMGP and FMAG guidelines apply to declarations on or after October 5, 2018;
• The HMGP Post Fire program uses the existing Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance, with minor exceptions;
• To date, four events are eligible for HMGP Post Fire grants (three in California and one in New Mexico);
• Eligible applicants must have a FEMA-approved mitigation plan to receive HMGP Post Fire funding;
• For additional information, please click here.
FEMA Seeks Comments on REP & CDL Programs
• FEMA is requesting comments on the Federal Assistance for Offsite Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Planning (REP) program;
• The REP Program coordinates national efforts to provide state, local, and tribal governments with planning, training, and exercise guidance and policies necessary to ensure that adequate capabilities exist to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from incidents involving commercial nuclear power plants;
• To view the REP request for comments, please click here;
• FEMA is also seeking comments on the Community Disaster Loan (CDL) Program;
• CDL’s are designed to assist local governments which have suffered a substantial loss of tax, or other revenues, as a result of a major disaster or emergency, and which demonstrate a need for federal financial assistance in order to perform governmental functions;
• To view the CDL request for comments, please click here;
• If you wish to submit comments on either REP or CDL with APWA, please send those to Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams at mwilliams@apwa.net before June 14;
• The deadline to submit comments directly to FEMA is June 24, and please be sure to include the agency name and docket ID listed on the regulation.
APWA Joins Organizations Supporting Funding for 3DEP Mapping
• APWA joined with over 30 other organizations in signing onto a letter supporting $146 million in FY 2020 funding for the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) mapping tool;
• 3DEP was designed to systematically collect 3D elevation data in the form of light detection and ranging (lidar) data for the conterminous United States, and territories, with data acquired over an 8-year period;
• The letter was sent to Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-NM), as well as House Committee Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chair Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Ranking Member David Joyce (R-OH);
• To view a copy of the letter to the House, please click here;
• To view a copy of the letter to the Senate, please click here.
On the Horizon-
• On May 7 at 3:00 pm EDT, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, & Related Agencies has scheduled a hearing to review the FY 2020 Department of the Interior budget request – for more information, please click here;
• On May 8 at 10:00 am EDT, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works is scheduled to hold an oversight hearing to examine the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program – for more information, please click here;
• On May 8 at 10:30 am EDT, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection & Commerce is scheduled to hold an oversight hearing of the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts on data privacy and protection – for more information, please click here;
• On May 8 at 2:30 pm EDT, the Senate Committee on the Budget is scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “Fixing a Broken Budget Process: Lessons from States” – for more information, please click here;
• On May 9 at 10:00 am EDT, the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittees on Emergency Preparedness Response & Recovery, and Oversight, Management, & Accountability are scheduled to hold a hearing titled, “FEMA Contracting-Reviewing Lessons Learned from Past Disasters to Improve Preparedness” – for more information, please click here;
• On May 9 at 10:00 am EDT, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, & Public Lands is scheduled to hold a hearing to discuss wildfire resilient communities – for more information, please click here;
• Infrastructure Week is taking place May 13-20 – check out activities and talking points at http://www.infrastructureweek.org;
• National Public Works Week is taking place May 19-25, and the APWA Washington, D.C. office, in conjunction with the House Public Works and Infrastructure Caucus, will be hosting two events on Capitol Hill to recognize the week – more details will be provided in next week’s APWA Washington Report.