Washington, DC - The National League of Cities (NLC) told Congress today that the nation's water infrastructure is aging and that cities face a backlog of projects and funding challenges that were only made worse by the recent economic downturn.
Michael Sesma, Council Member, Gaithersburg, MD, testified on NLC's behalf before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Environment and Economy. He asked the committee to "lead and serve the country by addressing the underlying issue of aging infrastructure and unmet infrastructure needs. This effort will strengthen the intergovernmental partnership by enabling our cities and towns, our states, and country to meet the challenges and opportunities of leading the world into the next century."
The full testimony can be found at http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF18/20130215/100242/HHRG-113-IF18-Wstate-SesmaM-20130215.pdf
Council Member Sesma also called on the federal government to remain committed to being a full partner to local governments. "As the nation's cities continue to endeavor to improve aging infrastructure, meet federal regulatory requirements, create and retain jobs, and foster a climate of economic growth in our communities," he said, "a partnership with the federal government is essential."
Additionally, Council Member Sesma testified on the importance of local governments in implementing federal environmental protection programs, serving as implementers of state and federal environmental policies and programs and with authority over local land use, zoning, and code development.
Additionally, Sesma highlighted key areas where the federal-state-local partnership has led to improved environmental protection and more vibrant communities. Specifically:
• Federalism consultation - Consulting with cities earlier and more frequently on projects reduces the burden on local governments in both cost and regulatory requirements.
• Regulatory review - Looking at old and outdated regulations that add to the cost and paperwork burdens of cities.
• Integrated planning - Allowing local governments to identify opportunities to achieve the requirements of the Clean Water Act in an affordable manner.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.