APWA Washington Report
January 4, 2021

Happy New Year to all ‘Washington Report’ readers, and best wishes from the APWA Government Affairs team for a healthy and prosperous year ahead.

Please be sure to visit the ‘Advocacy News’ page on the APWA website and follow @APWAGOVAFFAIRS on Twitter to stay apprised of Government Affairs information.
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APWA Board Approves Public Policy Priorities for the 117th Congress

  • Last month, the American Public Works Association (APWA) Board of Directors reviewed and unanimously approved the Association’s new Public Policy Priorities for the 117th Congress;
  • The policy priorities are – Surface Transportation Reauthorization, Water Resiliency, and Emergency Management;
  • Every two years, to align with the U.S. Congressional cycle, and to be certain APWA’s policy priorities are updated and targeted to be most effective, the APWA Government Affairs Committee (GAC) and APWA Government Affairs staff review the Association’s public policy documents, and revise as needed to best represent the APWA membership at the federal level;
  • The GAC is comprised of 12 APWA members of various public works backgrounds, and from different areas of the country, in order to provide diverse perspective and expertise;
  • Additionally, input is solicited from APWA technical and standing committees;
  • The new policy priorities are APWA’s policy guidance for advocating to Congress and federal agencies, and are being distributed to all Congressional offices and key committees;
  • APWA members are strongly encouraged to share these policy documents directly with policymakers at all levels;
  • If you have any questions related to APWA’s Government Affairs program, please contact APWA Director of Government and Public Affairs Andrea Eales at aeales@apwa.net or by phone at (202) 218 – 6730.

117th Congress Sworn into Office

  • January 3, 2021, members of the 117th U.S. Congress were sworn into office;
  • Of the 435 House seats, it is currently comprised of 222 Democrats and 211 Republicans, with one race in New York’s 22nd Congressional district yet to be certified;
  • Also, very sadly, Representative-elect Luke Letlow (LA-R) unexpectedly passed away from COVID-19 related complications on December 29, 2020;
  • The Senate is presently comprised of 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats, with the balance of power to be decided in two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5, 2021;
  • January 6, 2021 Congress is expected to move to certify the Electoral College results of the November 3, 2020 election;
  • Finalizing of House and Senate Committee rosters will occur over the coming days and weeks, and APWA Government Affairs will be monitoring developments and conducting outreach;
  • January 20, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office, and shortly thereafter the nominations process for Cabinet level and required Executive branch officials will begin in the U.S. Senate.

 EPA Publishes Updated Lead and Copper Rule

  • December 22, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced finalization of the revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCR);
  • APWA submitted comments on the revisions in February of 2020, urging both the EPA and Congress to provide substantial funding increases to programs used for lead service line replacement, as current funding levels are insufficient to meet the need of a nationwide lead service line replacement program, the costs of which could balloon to as much as $123 billion;
  • The revisions to the LCR are the first in nearly 30 years, and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler called the revisions a “critical step in advancing the Trump Administration’s Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures;”
  • Revisions to the LCR include:
    • Requiring testing in schools and childcare facilities served by community water systems;
    • Requiring all water systems to maintain a publicly accessible inventory of lead service lines, and collecting tap samples from homes with lead service lines if they are present in the distribution system;
    • Ensuring that entire, and not partial, lead service lines are replaced;
    • Instituting a “trigger level” of 10 parts per billion (ppb) at which utilities would be required to consult state regulators about how to prevent corrosion of lead pipes;
    • Lowering the rate of lead pipe removal to 3% annually, down from 7%.
  • EPA has compiled a list of existing funding and financing sources for lead service line replacement.”

 National Homeland Security Consortium Survey on COVID-19

  • As a member of the National Homeland Security Consortium (NHSC), APWA requests member input on a NHSC Survey by January 15, 2021;
  • Designed to solicit input on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your profession and community, the survey is comprised of eight topics selected by NHSC partner organizations for discussion during an upcoming February 2021 NHSC conference;
  • Participation in the NHSC survey takes only a few minutes and is crucial in developing a report that captures both the accomplishments and lessons learned to date from the COVID-19 pandemic response;
  • The NHSC findings will be shared nationwide in an effort to enhance the preparedness and response for this and future pandemics, and the inclusion of public works professionals’ perspective helps provide a more complete picture of the pandemic’s effect;
  • Thank you for taking the time to provide your extremely valuable input. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to APWA Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams at (202) 218 – 6732 or mwilliams@apwa.net.

FHWA Proposes Changes to MUTCD

  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released proposed changes, for the first time in 10-years, to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for streets and highways;
  • The Proposed Rule Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) is intended to “…promote uniformity and incorporate technology advances in the traffic control device application, and ultimately improve and promote the safe and efficient utilization of roads that are open to public travel;”
  • Comments must be submitted no later than March 15, 2021, and full details are available in the Federal Register.

FEMA Releases 2020 National Preparedness Report

  • Last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the 2020 National Preparedness Report (NPR);
  • The NPR includes an overview of the risks that communities face, how vulnerabilities present in those communities drive those risks, and how risk management principles can be employed to manage those risks;
  • Additionally, the NPR highlights four critical considerations that comprise the complexity of managing the nation’s risks while providing best practices to assist in efforts to meet these challenges.