June 21, 2021


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Infrastructure Update

  • The House is not in session this week, though the Senate is in session and discussions continue related to parameters for a possible infrastructure package(s), focusing on what may be defined as infrastructure, the size of a legislative package(s), the potential pay mechanisms, as well as procedural requirements;
  • APWA joined 68 other organizations on June 14 in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pushing for the full Senate to consider the bipartisan Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (S. 1931);
  • S. 1931 was unanimously passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on May 26 and proposes $303.5 billion over 5 years to Dept. of Transportation (DOT) programs for highways, roads, and bridges and is a 34% increase over the current surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act;
  • On June 9, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) committee marked-up and passed out of Committee by a vote of 38 to 26 the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684);
  • H.R. 3684 proposes $547 billion in federal spending over 5-years for surface transportation programs and may be considered by the full House the week of June 28;
  • Also last week, a bipartisan group of 21 Senators (11 Republicans and 10 Democrats) announced agreement on a $1.2 trillion over 8-years proposal for infrastructure funding, which includes $579 billion in new spending on infrastructure, and the pay proposals reportedly include:
    • Establishing an infrastructure financing authority
    • Repurposing unobligated COVID-19 relief funding approved by Congress in March
    • A fee for electric vehicles to contribute to use of roads and bridges
    • Indexing the federal motor fuel tax to inflation
  • President Biden said late last week that he will review the Senators’ bipartisan draft proposal today;
  • Additionally last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Surface Transportation Investment Act (S. 2016), which proposes $78 billion over 5-years and addresses freight, rail, and transportation safety programs;
  • It is good news that so much legislative action is happening in both chambers, and ongoing discussions continue in Congress, and with President Biden’s legislative team, though strong disagreements over the legislative path forward to move infrastructure related legislation, as well as how to balance and address other legislative priorities, raising the debt ceiling, increased concerns about the nation’s debt level, among other things, complicates matters;
  • Both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have announced their chambers will consider infrastructure legislation in July, and prior to Congress departing DC for the month-long August district work period;
  • In addition to infrastructure, Congress is also beginning its work on fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills, beginning House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee mark-ups this week;
  • This is a particularly late start to consideration of the new FY’s appropriations measures, and will likely lead to the need for a continuing resolution to fully fund the federal government as the current FY expires on September 30, 2021;
  • In addition to FY 2021 ending September 30, 2021, so too does the FAST Act authorization;
  • 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.

APWA to Host Congressional Briefing on Water Policy

  • June 29, APWA Government Affairs, in cooperation with the House Public Works & Infrastructure Caucus, will host a virtual congressional briefing from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET titled, “Water & Public Works 101”;
  • The briefing will include a panel discussion of upcoming legislation and regulations impacting public works and water infrastructure;
  • The panel will consist of:
    • Amy Foster, CMS4S, CESSWI, CSM, Stormwater Coordinator, Coralville, IA
    • Eric Labelle, PE, Principal Project/Process Engineer, Kennebunkport, ME
    • Kristina Ramirez, PE, Assistant Public Works Director, Harker Heights, TX
  • The panel will be moderated by APWA CEO Scott Grayson, and APWA President Mary Joyce Ivers will provide introductory remarks, and Administrator Michael Regan of the Environmental Protection Agency has been invited to speak;
  • Potential topics include:
    • Water and wastewater infrastructure financing/funding
    • Stormwater utilities/water reuse
    • Emerging contaminants including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
    • Revisions to "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) definition
    • Resiliency and cybersecurity of water infrastructure
    • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting
  • To RSVP, please email Michael Altman at maltman@apwa.net to receive the participation link.

NHSC Releases After Action Report on COVID-19

  • Last week the National Homeland Security Consortium (NHSC) a coalition of 22 organizations including APWA, released a COVID-19 Pandemic After Action Comprehensive Report (AACR);
  • To develop this report, the NHSC engaged in a six-month effort including information gathering calls, surveys, and a three-day after-action conference;
  • The process sought to clearly articulate problems and issues encountered throughout the COVID-19 response and develop corresponding recommendations to solve these problems;
  • A list of best practices that the NHSC believes should be widely promulgated and would benefit most, if not all, of the members it represents was the end result;
  • The report will be disseminated to the Biden Administration, Members of Congress, as well as nationally to members of the emergency management community.

Richard Spinrad Confirmed by Senate to Lead NOAA

  • Last week the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Richard Spinrad to serve as Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA);
  • Administrator Spinrad previously served as Chief Scientist of NOAA from 2014 to 2016, followed by working as a Professor of Oceanography at Oregon State University.

U.S. EPA Delays Implementation of Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

  • June 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule delaying the effective date of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR);
  • The Rule’s effective date, previously scheduled for June 17, 2021, is now December 16, 2021;
  • The Rule’s compliance date has also been postponed from January 16, 2024 to October 16, 2024;
  • This delay is part of President Biden’s executive order requesting review of significant regulations issued under then-President Trump’s administration;
  • The review may ultimately result in substantive changes to the LCCR;
  • For more information, please see the Rule’s entry in the Federal Register.

FEMA to Provide Additional Funds to Help Homeowners Following Disasters

  • Last week the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that additional funds to assist homeowners would be available through the Individuals and Households Program (IHP);
  • The IHP provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, those who have uninsured or under-insured necessary expenses and serious needs;
  • IHP assistance is not a substitute for insurance and cannot compensate for all losses caused by a disaster, it is intended to meet basic needs and supplement disaster recovery efforts;
  • This additional assistance will be available for all disasters declared on or after May 26,2021 and FEMA will notify applicants if they have received mitigation funds as part of their IHP assistance.

FEMA Releases Incident Complexity Guide