June 7, 2021

 

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LATEST NEWS


Infrastructure Update

  • On June 4, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Democrat Subcommittee Chairs Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act;
  • The INVEST Act calls for $547 billion in federal spending over 5-years for surface transportation programs and is scheduled for mark-up by the full T&I Committee on June 9;
  • In summary, the INVEST Act calls for:
    • $343 billion for roads, bridges, and safety needs
    • $4 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure
    • $8.3 billion to reduce carbon pollution
    • $6.2 billion for mitigation and resiliency improvement efforts
    • $109 billion for transit
    • $50 million a year for investment in rural communities.
    • $95 billion for passenger rail
  • For the bill text and additional related resources, click on INVEST Act;
  • The mark-up is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am ET on June 9 and a link to watch the hearing live can be found here;
  • In other related infrastructure news, discussion continues today between President Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the lead Republican in the Senate on infrastructure matters;
  • Senator Capito is the Ranking Member for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee which has jurisdiction over many surface transportation authorization programs;
  • On May 26, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee marked up and unanimously passed a bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization bill, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021;
  • That proposed legislation calls for $303.5 billion over 5 years to Dept. of Transportation (DOT) programs for highways, roads, and bridges and is a 34% increase over current law;
  • The current law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act will expire September 30, 2021;
  • Disagreement remains over how to pay for infrastructure investment, how to define infrastructure, and whether a broad all-encompassing infrastructure package will be considered by Congress, or there will be several separate infrastructure related legislative packages;
  • Over recent weeks, both chambers have held hearings to examine funding and financing for surface transportation reauthorization, and archives of those hearings are available on the Senate Finance Committee site, and the House Ways and Means Committee site;
  • Additionally, in recent weeks House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republicans have introduced their own Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill (the STARTER Act) and a streamlining bill (the BUILDER Act) aimed at increasing efficiency of infrastructure project reviews;
  • APWA Government Affairs continues bipartisan outreach to Congressional offices about the Association’s 117th Congress Public Policy Priorities, which are Surface Transportation Reauthorization, Water Resiliency, and Emergency Management;
  • Please contact APWA’s Director of Government and Public Affairs Andrea Eales at aeales@apwa.net with any questions about APWA’s Government Affairs activities and priorities.
 

President Biden Releases Full FY 2022 Budget Proposal

  • On May 28, President Biden released a $6 trillion full fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request to Congress;
  • Related to public works and APWA’s public policy priorities, here are the key highlights:
    • Transportation
      • $25.7 billion in discretionary spending and $62 billion in mandatory spending is requested for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, a proposed increase of $3.3 billion more than appropriated in FY 2021, and calling for:
        • $47.1 billion for the Federal Highway Administration
        • $18.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration
        • $13.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration
        • $2.7 billion for Amtrak
        • $1 billion for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants, formerly BUILD grants
        • $625 million for a new passenger rail competitive grant program
        • $110 million for a new ‘Thriving Communities’ program specifically to address transportation inequities
    • Water Resiliency
      • $11.2 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a proposed increase of $2 billion more than appropriated in FY 2021, with $3.6 billion allocated for water infrastructure, including:
        • $1.35 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
        • $1.87 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund
        • $80 million for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans
        • $81.5 million for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Grants
        • $75 million towards PFAS studies to accelerate establishment of Safe Drinking Water Act limits
        • $36.5 million for Lead Testing in Schools Grants
        • $9 million for Drinking Water Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability Grants
      • $717 million under the Department of Agriculture for Rural Water and Wastewater Grants and Loans, an increase of $100 million;
      • $17.4 billion towards the Department of Interior (DOI), an increase of $2.4 billion;
      • $6.8 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), an increase of $1 billion.
    • Emergency Management
      • Approximately $52 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, an increase of approximately $100 million from FY 2021, other agencies of note for public works include:
        • $28 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with approximately $18.9 designated towards disaster relief, an increase of $1.7 billion towards disaster relief
        • $2.1 billion for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a slight increase
        • $852 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA) budget, an increase of $74 million
        • $17.4 billion for the Department of Interior, an increase of $2.4 billion and including:
          • $1.6 billion for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a $326 million increase
        • $46.2 billion towards the Department of Energy (DOE) budget, an overall increase of $4.3 billion, including:
          • $201 million for the Cybersecurity Energy Security Emergency Response (CESER) division
        • $11.5 billion for the Department of Commerce, an increase of $2.6 billion which includes:
          • $7 billion for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) an increase of $1.5 billion from last year
        • $2.5 billion, dispersed through multiple agencies which will fund wildfire suppression and mitigation efforts, an increase of $1.1 billion
    • Workforce Development
      • $14.2 billion for the Department of Labor (DOL), a $1.7 billion increase from FY 2021
      • $102.8 billion for the Department of Education (DOE), a $29.8 billion increase.
 

U.S. EPA Announces Intent to Reconsider Clean Water Act Certification Rule

  • June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice of its intent to revise a 2020 rule regarding Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification;
  • EPA’s stated goal with this revision will be to strengthen the ability of state and tribal governments to set water quality standards;
  • Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires applicants to get EPA approval of projects that involve discharge of pollutants into navigable waters to first obtain water quality certification from the affected state;
  • On June 1, 2020, then-President Trump’s EPA finalized a rule limiting state review of these projects to one year and limiting the scope of requirements the state may impose on those projects;
  • Under the 2020 rule, state requirements for Section 401 certification must be directly related to point source discharges into the waters of the United States and may not consider other issues such as air quality, transportation concerns, or public access to waters;
  • The Biden administration’s EPA will likely loosen or eliminate these limitations on state review;
  • Until the rulemaking process is complete, the 2020 rule will remain in place;
  • EPA plans to begin a stakeholder engagement process in June and is currently seeking comments on how best to revise the rule – comments are due by August 2;
  • For more information and to submit comments, please see the notice’s entry in the Federal Register.
 

U.S. EPA Adds PFAS Chemicals to Toxics Release Inventory

  • June 3, EPA issued a final rule adding three per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of chemicals subject to toxic chemical release reporting;
  • This action implements a legislative mandate passed by Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020;
  • The three specified chemicals are perfluorooctyl iodide, potassium perfluorooctanoate, and silver(I) perfluorooctanoate;
  • As the rule is complying with a congressional mandate, notice and comment were deemed unnecessary;
  • The rule will take effect July 6;
  • For more information, please see the rule’s entry in the Federal Register.
 

U.S. EPA Implements Court Ruling Vacating Scientific Transparency Rule

ON THE HORIZON