Because federal legislation, rules and regulations often affect local government operations, budgets and development, NLC works to ensure that Congress and federal agencies consider the local government perspective when developing legislation and regulatory policy.
Support an infrastructure Package and Timely Reauthorization of the FAST Act
Cities, towns, and villages call on Congress to develop and pass legislation that rebuilds and reimagines America’s infrastructure in partnership with local governments.
The 116th Congress must pass an infrastructure package that is capable of addressing our country’s backlogged infrastructure needs. We need a long-term infrastructure plan that works holistically to improve our nation’s water, broadband, and transportation systems while also investing in the skills training for an equipped workforce that can maintain, build, and strengthen our infrastructure.
Congress must also prioritize the funding to make it happen. Cities, towns and villages recognize the Highway Trust Fund will run dry by 2021 and agree that the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act must be reauthorized by September 2020. Any reauthorization proposals must go beyond the status quo to meet our country’s infrastructure demand and transportation goals.
We are asking Congress to rebuild with us. Federal policies are implemented locally and cities need a federal partner to rebuild and reimagine the infrastructure our citizens expect.
Support H.R. 530 to Empower Local Broadband Leadership
NLC calls on Congress to cosponsor H.R. 530, the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019, introduced by Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18). H.R. 530 would repeal recent harmful Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations that force local governments to subsidize the deployment of 5G wireless infrastructure on public property with no guarantee of improved service for residents.
Cities, towns, and villages are eager to welcome new technologies like 5G but must retain the authority to protect the diverse needs of their residents. Federal agencies should work more closely with local leaders to understand those needs, which the FCC’s actions fail to do. H.R. 530 does not preclude future congressional or agency action. It only reverses the shortsighted order finalized by the FCC in 2018.
Support an Investment in Our Nation’s Water Infrastructure
NLC calls on Congress to cosponsor the bipartisan Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act, sponsored by Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04), Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32), Don Young (R-AK-01), and John Katko (R-NY-24). The bill would reauthorize and increase funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program.
The Clean Water SRF program is an essential tool for communities to provide clean and safe water for residents and businesses. The bill also extends the authorization of sewer overflow control grants to enable communities to better manage their wet weather flows and invest in green infrastructure, and water and energy efficiency projects.
Given our nation’s growing wastewater infrastructure needs, we must make substantial investments to repair and replace our nation’s aging water infrastructure.
Protect and Expand Financing Tools for Municipal Infrastructure
NLC calls on Congress to cosponsor the bipartisan Investing in Our Communities Act, to be sponsored and introduced by Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-02) and Steve Stivers (R-OH-15). The bill would restore the tax exemption on advance refunding bonds. Local governments own and maintain the lion’s share of the nation’s infrastructure. By restoring this essential tax exemption, cities, towns and villages would be able to refinance their debt to achieve lower interest rates, saving local tax payer dollars and freeing up capital for additional infrastructure investments.
Prevent Future Federal Government Shutdowns
NLC calls on Congress to Prevent future federal government shutdowns by developing and passing a Fiscal Year 2020 budget and appropriations bills that invest in America’s cities, towns, and villages by September 30. The continued failure to pass spending bills on time makes it more difficult for local leaders to plan their budgets and for communities to rebuild infrastructure, assist low-income households, and invest in community development. We look forward to helping Congress craft a Fiscal Year 2020 budget and spending bills that move cities, towns, and villages forward. Because local leaders are on the front lines, we know where a federal dollar can go the furthest in our communities.
Comments or Questions?
Irma Esparza Diggs
Senior Executive and Director, Federal Advocacy
Center for Research and Data Analysis