Public works officials discuss Farm Bill with congressional staff

Becky Wickstrom
Manager of Media Affairs
APWA Washington Office

On August 28, APWA member experts Dave Danielson, Business Development Manager for S E A Consultants, Inc., Ray C. Funnye, Director of Public Services in Georgetown, S.C., and Tom McCurdy, Senior Consultant with Quad Knopf in Visalia, Calif., discussed Rural Development and Conservation titles of the 2007 Farm Bill during a briefing for congressional staff in Washington, D.C.

Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 27, the $280 billion Farm Bill (HR 2419) would increase conservation funding and provide funds for water and sewer projects benefiting rural communities. The Senate is expected to take up its version of the bill following the fall recess.

APWA member Ray Funnye discussed the Farm Bill during a Congressional Briefing in August.

Danielson, Funnye and McCurdy sited examples of successful projects funded through the Farm Bill and encouraged lawmakers to fully fund rural development and conservation titles.

"Funding made possible through the Farm Bill helps rural communities complete projects that would not be otherwise possible," said Danielson. "The funds benefit the health and safety of citizens, safeguard the environment and assist with mandatory compliance requirements."

According to Danielson, 40 percent of communities in Vermont and New Hampshire are rural, with an average of 2,542 residents. As is the case in many rural communities with small tax bases, federal grants and loans, used in addition to local taxpayer dollars, bridge the funding gap needed to complete rural projects.

"Small communities face the challenge of doing what is right for their citizens with the resources they have available," said McCurdy. "The challenges are especially great when faced with mandatory federal requirements. Funding through the Farm Bill makes projects possible."

Funnye added, "Rural development monies also help develop industries and provide jobs."

APWA Congressional Briefings are one part of an awareness campaign to provide congressional staff with information about the role and needs of public works and infrastructure in local communities. APWA experts brief staff members about issues ranging from transportation funding to emergency preparedness and clean water.

For more information contact Julia Anastasio at (202) 218-6750 or janastasio@apwa.net.