May 2017


Counties Drive Home Message during Infrastructure Week

County leaders advocate for infrastructure priorities and highlight counties' major role in transportation, water systems, broadband and other infrastructure.

 



Local government, academic and industry leaders participate in a panel discussion on building broadband infrastructure for smart communities.

 

Hamilton County, Ohio, Commissioner Todd Portune appears before a U.S. House subcommittee to discuss the EPA's integrated planning policy and counties' clean water responsibilities.

 

Eno Center for Transportation Pres. and CEO Robert Puentes; Cleveland, Ohio, Councilmember Matt Zone; Arapahoe County, Colo., Commissioner Bill Holen and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett participate in a panel discussion on supporting economic development through infrastructure.

 

NACo and County Leaders Focus on Advocacy Efforts

With the Trump administration and Congress promising a new infrastructure package, over 30 county leaders from across the country arrived in Washington last week to outline how the federal government can help support local infrastructure goals. NACo hosted events on and off Capitol Hill for county leaders to carry the message for increased and reliable local infrastructure investment to the doorstep of key policymakers.

NACo members focused their advocacy efforts on preserving the tax-free status of municipal bonds, dedicated funding for local infrastructure projects, project and regulatory streamlining, continued investment in water and wastewater infrastructure and expanding broadband development.
Additionally, NACo Transportation Steering Committee Chair Peter McLaughlin, a Hennepin County, Minn., commissioner, provided an overview of the county perspective in a Route Fifty opinion piece.

Kicking things off in conjunction with the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National League of Cities (NLC), NACo hosted “Built to Last: A discussion on the importance of local infrastructure investment.” Commissioner Bill Holen of Arapahoe County, Colo., represented NACo at a live-streamed event moderated by Eno Center for Transportation CEO Robert Puentes.

Later that day on Capitol Hill, NACo, along with the other “Big 7” local government associations (The National League of Cities (NLC); the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM); the National Governors Association (NGA); the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL); the Council of State Governments (CSG); and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)), held a briefing on the future of infrastructure policy. Joined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Ramsey County, Minn. Commissioner Jim McDonough detailed county priorities and the need for direct funding should an infrastructure package be introduced by Congress this year.

Following the briefing, the entire NACo Infrastructure Week delegation joined the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs Chairman Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) for “Red Tape Roundtable: Infrastructure.”  With prepared remarks from Commissioner McDonough and Madison County, N.Y. Supervisor John Becker, NACo participants engaged Chairman Palmer in a robust discussion about solutions to the regulatory hurdles that increase costs and delay the completion of local infrastructure.

To cap the week off, NACo and the National League of Cities hosted a program highlighting the importance of broadband infrastructure in communities across the nation. Jean Rice of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) moderated the discussion with leaders from local government, the telecommunications industry and academia on what local communities can do when investing in infrastructure improvements in the years to come.

While the timing of an infrastructure proposal from the Trump administration, or congressional action on a raft of bills that have been introduced, remains unclear, counties delivered a clarion call on what’s required if any infrastructure proposal is work at the local level.

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