State of the Union 2022: 5 Takeaways

Last night, President Biden gave his State of the Union address. His speech addressed a broad range of topics including infrastructure, COVID relief funds, public safety, and other priorities for local leaders. Here are 5 takeaways local leaders should know from the 2022 State of the Union.

1. Rebuilding our Nation’s Infrastructure

Cities, towns and villages are ready to rebuild with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). In his State of the Union, President Biden shared our enthusiasm to strengthen and rebuild the infrastructure that keeps Americans and our economy moving. The BIL includes historic investments for communities across the country for transportation, water and broadband projects. We look forward to continuing to work with President Biden and the administration to continue to build on federal-local partnerships for the benefit of all residents.

“We’re done talking about infrastructure weeks. We’re now talking about an infrastructure decade.”

President Biden

Want to learn more about what opportunities are available in the BIL for your community?

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What project is your city funding with investments from the infrastructure package? Share with us here!

2. Strengthening the Economy

Economic recovery starts at home. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the BIL are being put to work in every community to recover from COVID and strengthen our economic recovery. Through these critical federal investments, communities across the country are beating the COVID pandemic, supporting vulnerable communities, and increasing public safety.

“[…] one of the first things I did as President was fight to pass the American Rescue Plan. Because people were hurting. We needed to act, and we did.”

President Biden

NLC, Brookings Metro and the National Association of Counties (NACo) recently launched the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker, an online resource that compiles information from local governments to offer a detailed picture of how large cities and counties are deploying State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) dollars. The tool tracks more than $18 billion in SLFRF investments across 152 local governments.

An essential component to this economic recovery is ensuring we have the skilled workers needed to build our roads, bridges, water and broadband systems. While ARPA investments are critical to meeting today’s workforce needs, they’re not enough. Congress must invest at least $40 billion in workforce development so that cities can get to work.

Urge your member of Congress to support additional workforce investments and give cities more flexibility when using ARPA recovery funds using our email template.

3. Supporting Public Safety

Thanks to the unprecedented $65 billion in direct ARPA funding available to every municipal government, cities across the country like Baltimore, MD, Newark, NJ, Los Angeles, CA, Houston, TX, Charlotte, NC are making significant investments in violence prevention programs, including violence interrupters, crises intervention programs, and alternative response programs for behavioral health, substance use, and homelessness incidents. NLC looks forward to working with the Biden Administration to help cities address these challenges.

“[…] the American Rescue Plan provided $350 Billion that cities, states, and counties can use to hire more police and invest in proven strategies like community violence interruption—trusted messengers breaking the cycle of violence and trauma and giving young people hope.”

President Biden

Last year NLC launched the Reimaging Public Safety Task Force, chaired by Mayor Ras J. Baraka of Newark, NJ and Mayor David Holt of Oklahoma City, OK, to provide actionable steps for municipal leaders to take on challenges. Learn more about the task force here.

4. Addressing Mental Health and Substance Use

Local leaders understand the need to go above partisanship to get the job done for their communities. Biden laid out a list of bipartisan policies he hopes to accomplish, including addressing the substance abuse and mental health crisis that has worsened due to the pandemic.

“There is so much we can do. Increase funding for prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery.”

President Biden

Cities are on the front lines of substance use and mental health crisis, leading the way on emergency response and crisis stabilization. We’re ready to work closely with the federal government to battle this epidemic together and support Americans across the country struggling with mental health and substance abuse.

5. Standing with Ukraine

Cities, towns and villages understand the importance of strengthening the federal-local partnership – and this partnership extends to our commitment to democracy. As President Biden said, we stand with the Ukrainian people. And we stand behind the President as he gathers our allies around the world against Russia’s aggression and attacks on democracy. 

“Yes, we the United States of America stand with the Ukrainian people.” 

President Biden

About the Author

Irma Esparza Diggs

About the Author

Irma Esparza Diggs is the Senior Executive and Director, Federal Advocacy at the National League of Cities.