MSP Announces Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Opportunity

Attached is the official Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) announcement for the open application period for two Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation grant programs for FY 2017.  This funding announcement includes the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program.  Both of these FEMA hazard mitigation grant programs are now under one umbrella known as Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA).  FEMA has unified all of the mitigation grant programs under one set of guidance documents.  The two guidance documents (linked below) are dated 2015 because there have been no changes to the guidance since last year.

The information contained in the announcement below include limited time lines and requires a timely response.

Deadlines:
· NOIs must be submitted to the MSP/EMHSD by no later than September 1, 2017.
· eGrants applications (initial draft) are due to the MSP/EMHSD for review by October 13, 2017.
· After review and revision, eGrants applications are due to FEMA by November 14, 2017.

HMA funds can be used for the implementation of hazard mitigation projects as well as the development or update of local hazard mitigation plans.  Many of the FEMA approved local mitigation plans across Michigan will be expiring within the next two years.  The available HMA funding offers an excellent opportunity for communities to use grant dollars to update their local hazard mitigation plans.

IB 17-01 – HMA Funds Available
HMA_Guidance_022715_508
HMA_Addendum_022715_508

Joel Pepper
Asst. State Hazard Mitigation Officer
Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division
Michigan State Police
TX: 517-284-3955

Physical Address:
7150 Harris Drive
Dimondale, Michigan 48821

Mailing Address:
PO Box #30634
Lansing, Michigan  48909

 

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

Federal Budget: Fight the Cuts Toolkit, Take Action Now

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget process continued this May with the release of the administration’s full budget proposal. The proposal, which cuts more than $54 billion in funding for domestic programs that communities rely on, would have major consequences for every city and village in Michigan – regardless of size, location or economic outlook. The administration’s proposal is just the starting point. Congress is currently working to draft their budget and appropriations bills. Now is the time for leaders across this state to come together and send a unified message to Congress that we need a partner who understands the impact of continued federal investment in communities.

We are proud to be working with the National League of Cites to provide you with a Toolkit that includes the following:

The Michigan Municipal League, in partnership with the National League of Cities, is prepared to fight every step of the way — but we’re going to need your help. Use this action guide to learn how the proposed budget cuts could impact your community and how you can advocate for continued federal investments.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Track Federal Funding for Programs Important to Cities and Villages

In its Fiscal Year 2018 budget plan, the administration proposed an unprecedented $54 billion in cuts to federal funding for domestic programs important to cities and towns. Since then, members of the House Appropriations Committee have met to debate funding levels to agencies and specific programs, with some important changes.

As of Monday, July 17, the Committee has finished work on half of the twelve appropriations bills needed to fully fund the federal government. We are very please that  funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was fully restored. The Committee trimmed CDBG funding by $100 million, down to $2.9 billion, which is a drastic reversal from the complete elimination the administration suggested. Other areas of concern still remain though as TIGER grants continue to face complete elimination.

Through our ongoing partnership with the Nation League of Cites they have put together a Federal Budget Tracker for FY18 that takes a detailed look at some of the most important federal programs to cities, and the current state of play for their funding.To learn more on each spending bill please click Federal Budget FY18 Budget Tracker.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal is a $54 Billion Disinvestment in Cities

The Administration recently released their fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. the League has been working with the Nation League of Cities to identify the cuts that will affect cities across Michigan and the list is extensive. The total cuts equal a $54 billion disinvestment in communities across this country. As a result, not a single city, village or town will be better off if this budget were to be signed into law.

Key programs the budget eliminates funding for are Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, TIGER grants and he Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), just to name a few.

These cuts would have a devastating result on not only on local budgets but also on the quality of life for all our residents. It is imperative that we weight in with our voice and inform Congress that these cuts are unacceptable. The League will be proactively reaching out to express our concerns and we need you to do the same. Below you will find a department by department list of identified cuts that could negatively impact your communities.

  • Agriculture
    • Eliminates $500 million for the Water and Wastewater loan and grant program for rural water projects, which hurts small cities that utilize the program to maintain and improve water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, and storm water drainage efforts.
    • Eliminates the Rural Business Cooperative Service ($95 million).
    • Eliminates and consolidates rural economic development and infrastructure grant programs under a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants program.
    • Eliminates $61 million for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural single family housing direct loan program.
    • Cuts the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) by $4.637 billion, encouraging a re-balancing of the Federal/State partnership.
  • Commerce
    • Eliminates the Economic Development Administration ($221 million), which impedes distressed cities from receiving funding support for public works grants, city planning strategies, and research and technical support
    • Eliminates the Minority Business Development Agency ($26 million), which could slow the growth of successful minority-owned businesses nationwide by defunding programs useful in the planning, marketing, and managing processes.
    • Cuts $250 million from coastal research programs, which forces cities to pause or ease-away from preparation efforts for rising sea levels and worsening storms.
    • Eliminates the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which hurts small- and medium-sized businesses that are reliant on this public-private partnership to foster job growth and maintain stability.
    • Cuts $2 million (18%) from the BroadbandUSA program, which provides technical assistance to state and local governments on broadband development, deployment, and financing.
  • Education
    • Eliminates 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC; $1.2 billion), which negatively impacts children in general, and more specifically children in impoverished areas, by cutting afterschool and summer programs.
    • Cuts $2.3 billion from Title II, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which harms teacher quality and professional development efforts. The program is weighed heavily towards communities with high poverty.
    • Proposes a $1.4 billion investment in school choice, including a $167 million increase for Charter School Program grants, $250 million for a new private school choice program and $1 billion for Title 1 to ensure “student-based budgeting,” which follows the student to their school of choice.
    • Proposes level funding ($12.7 billion) for special education grants through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Proposes level funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) – $1.393 billion for the Clean Water SRF and $863 million for the Drinking Water SRF, for a total of $2.257 billion.
    • Proposes level funding for WIFIA, a loan and loan guarantee program for large water infrastructure projects, at $20 million.
    • Cuts $326 million from the Superfund program and $11 million from the Brownfields program. Both programs help communities clean up polluted lands and revitalized abandoned and vacant properties.
    • Eliminates funding for regional ecosystem restoration efforts like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative and Puget Sound, while maintaining strict EPA pollution reduction requirements, for a total cut of $427 million.
    • Eliminates funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, such as Energy Star, for a total cut of $100 million.
  • Energy
    • Cuts $1.4 billion from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and refocuses the priorities on early-stage R&D rather than development/deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
    • Eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program ($220 million), which stops states from improving the energy efficiency of low income households.
    • Eliminates the State Energy Program ($50 million), which strips state and local energy efficiency and renewable of energy programs.
  • Health and Human Services
    • Eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), totaling $3.384 billion, which helps low-income families with energy costs.
    • Eliminates the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), totaling $714 million, which diminishes available funding directed towards alleviating poverty.
    • Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), totaling $1.393 billion, which is an important, flexible funding source that allows States and Territories to tailor social service programming to their population’s needs.
    • Reduces the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program by 10% and eliminate the TANF contingency fund, totaling $1.785 billion.
    • Proposes reforms to Medicaid by giving State choice between per capita caps and block grants beginning in 2020.
  • Homeland Security
    • Cuts State and Local Homeland Security Grant Programs by 25% to $349 million, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant Program by 25% to $449 million, the Emergency Management Performance Grants by 20% to $279 million, and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund by 60% to $39 million.
    • Eliminates the National Flood Insurance Program’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program, which puts many cities and towns that rely on maps when building homes outside of flood zones at risk.
    • Proposes a 25% non-Federal cost match for FEMA preparedness grants, which will impact small- and medium-sized cities. Smaller cities and towns will not be able to meet the 25% cost match, which will likely lead to their exclusion from FEMA preparedness funding.
  • Housing and Urban Development
    • Eliminates the Community Development Block Grant program, totaling $3 billion in cuts, which hurts the most vulnerable communities that are already in distress.
    • Eliminates the HOME program, totaling $950 million in cuts, which decreases affordable housing options in cities.
    • Eliminates the Choice Neighborhoods program, totaling $125 million in cuts, which decreases opportunities in communities with public and federally subsidized housing.
    • Reduces Rental Assistance Programs by $1.9 billion. Rental Assistance Programs help approximately 4.5 billion very low income households.
    • Eliminates the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program, the Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing program, and the rural capacity building program ($56 million).
  • Independent Agencies
    • Eliminates 18 independent agencies, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority, Northern Border Regional Commission, Denali Commission, Corporation for National and Community Service, Institute for Museum and Library, and Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.
  • Justice
    • Reduces Byrne Justice Assistance Grants by 25% to $239 million and eliminates the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.
    • The budget also reduces Justice Information Sharing Technology Program by 50% to $34 million, Juvenile Justice Grant Programs by 14% to $230 million, Second Chance Act Grant Program by 27% to $43 million, School Safety Initiative by 74% to $18 million, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program by 8% to $11 million and eliminates the State and Local Gun Violence Reduction program and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
    • The budget would increase COPS Hiring Grants by 10% to $124 million and create a new $65 million Protect Safe Neighborhoods Block Grant Program.
    • The budget also contains proposed language for Congress to consider that would require DOJ and DHS to withhold grants from sanctuary cities that do not comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 or honor DHS detainer request aliens suspected to be in the country unlawfully.
  • Labor
    • Eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), totaling $434 million in cuts, which aims to transition low-income, unemployed seniors to unsubsidized jobs.
    • Cuts funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) job training and employment services programs by $1.341 billion (39%).
  • Treasury
    • Reduction of $500 million (4.1%). The IRS accounts for 97% of Treasury’s discretionary budget, which would have a lasting impact on the agency.
    • Eliminates new grants to Community Development Financial Institutions ($210 million), which expands availability of credit, investment capital, and financial services in under-served communities.
  • Transportation
    • Eliminates the TIGER grant program ($500 million), which has funded countless roads and transit projects since its inception in 2009.
    • Eliminates $630 million from long distance Amtrak routes.
    • Cuts Army Corps of Engineers discretionary budget by $1 billion (17%).
    • Eliminates $928 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts grants program.
    • Cuts $175 million from the Essential Air service, which subsides commercial flights to rural airports.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

President Trump’s Plan to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure

Last week President Trump hosted a “White House Infrastructure Summit” It was a gathering of the Administration and local leaders from across the country. At this summit the President laid out his vision for future investment in infrastructure. You can view the President’s official plan for infrastructure by clicking here.

The White House rolled out ideas on how to fix our nation’s ailing roads, bridges, schools and water systems in their version of “Infrastructure Week.” Building off the $200 billion in federal investment included in President Donald Trump’s FY2018 budget, ideas such as privatizing air traffic control, streamlining the permitting process, and improving inland waterways were all  highlighted by the president.

While proponents argue the infrastructure proposal would deliver greater control to states and local governments, the proposal appears to back down on a direct investment in infrastructure that cities and the nation desperately need. The result is a mixed bag for cities — some crucial programs shored up, major changes to regulations, and a great deal of funding uncertainty for the future.

The League will continue to stress the following points in our advocacy efforts for increases investment in infrastructure at the federal level.

  • Protect the tax exemption for municipal bonds
  • The need for direct funding to cities and villages
  • Ensure that federally funded programs that communities use to leverage additional investments continue
  • Any infrastructure package needs to include roads, bridges, transit, water, electric and broadband

Please consider reaching out and expressing the importance of investing in infrastructure and the need for that investment at the local level.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Congress Reaches Short Term Budget Deal, Administration Proposes Tax Overhaul

Congress has reached a short-term budget deal that adheres to existing overall spending levels and, for the most part, preserves funding for city priorities. Due to the advocacy efforts of the League, NLC and many other stakeholders, Congress did not adopt any of the mid-year cuts that had been proposed by the Trump Administration. This ensures cities will not face unanticipated shortfalls or systematic clawbacks of spent-out FY17 federal funds.

Key programs the budget deal maintains funding for are CDBG and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Specific program outcomes are presented below and indicates whether funding was Decreased, Preserved, or Increased.

Transportation

  • TIGER: Preserved
  • Federal Transit Administration Capital Investment Grants: Increased
  • Essential Air Services: Preserved

Housing

  • CDBG: Preserved
  • Homeless Assistance: Preserved
  • Housing Assistance Vouchers: Preserved

Labor / Education / Health

  • AmeriCorps (Corporation for National Community Service): Preserved
  • IMLS (Library Services): Increased
  • Job Corps: Preserved
  • LIHEAP (Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program): Preserved
  • SSBG (Social Services Block Grant): Preserved
  • CCDBG (Child Care Development Block Grant): Increased
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers: Increased
  • State Response to the Opioid Abuse services: Increased to $500 million

Interior-EPA

  • Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs: Preserved
  • Brownfields: Preserved
  • Superfund: Preserved
  • WIFIA: Preserved
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Preserved

Energy-Water

  • Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Increased

Commerce

  • Economic Development Administration Funding: Increased
  • U.S. Census: Increased

Justice / Homeland

  • New funding for countering heroin and opioid epidemic: Increased to $103 million
  • State Local Law Enforcement Grants: Decreased $128 million to $2.08 billion
    •  Byrne JAG: Decreased by $150 million to $1.26 billion
    •  Community Oriented Policing (COPS): Increased
    • Juvenile Justice: Decreased by $23 million to $247 million
    • Violence Against Women Act: Increased
  • State and Local Homeland Security grants: Preserved
    • Urban Area Security Initiative: Increased
    • Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis: Decreased by $10 million to $178 million
    •  Predisaster Mitigation Fund: Preserved
    • Assistance to Fire Fighters and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants: Increased
  • Sanctuary Cities: No change to current law

Agriculture

  • Rural Water and waste Water: Preserved
  • Rural Housing: Increased

Additionally, the Trump Administration released their framework for tax reform. In a call with NLC staff late last week, the outline provided for the Administration’s tax overhaul proposal appears to eliminate all state and local income tax deductions, only preserving the charitable and mortgage exemptions.  What was not included in the proposal was any mention of eliminating the tax-free status of municipal bonds.  NLC staff view this omission as a big victory and their contacts in the White House have indicated that municipal bond tax status will not be addressed within a tax reform conversation.  Instead, this issue will be included in the infrastructure spending plan that will likely be a September conversation for the Administration.

The League will continue to work with NLC to show our support for local government priorities in the areas of tax reform, infrastructure and the federal budget.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

FCC Threatens to Limit Local Land Use Authority on Wireless Siting

The National League of Cities is requesting the help of Michigan Communities.

Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a public notice seeking comment on two topics that could shape the future of city control over their rights-of-way. The FCC’s Wireless Bureau requested public comment on how to streamline the deployment of small wireless facilities, primarily through potential changes to local land-use ordinances, and comment generally on a petition filed by infrastructure company Mobilitie regarding local government rules and procedures.

The public notice raises several major concerns for cities. The first is that the FCC wishes to use this proceeding to reexamine the facts of the decisions made in its 2009 and 2014 rule-makings on local wireless facilities siting, questioning whether the evidence presented by local governments during those proceedings is still valid. Specifically, the notice questions the amount of time needed by local governments to process wireless siting applications for small-cell facilities, particularly when submitted in large quantities. The notice requests feedback on streamlining local regulations when similar applications are submitted as batches. The notice also questions the amount and structure of fees charged by local governments for applications and access to rights-of-way.

NLC will comment on this notice, in collaboration with other local government groups and state municipal leagues, and is calling on cities nationwide to help craft our response. Click here to provide important data on your city’s wireless facility siting process by January 27 and to request a comment template for your city to use in providing your own comment.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Federal Government Avoids Shutdown, Sends Money to Flint

The Senate recently passed legislation to fund the federal government until April 28, avoiding a government shutdown by less than an hour. The measure passed 63-36 after a group of disgruntled Democrats backed away from their threats to block or delay the funding measure because of a dispute over healthcare benefits for retired miners.

Senators will have to reach an agreement by late April on spending levels for the rest of fiscal year 2017 while juggling the confirmations of various executive branch nominees and perhaps a Supreme Court nominee. They will also be working on regulatory reform and a budget to pave the way for tax reform.

The Water Resources Development Act passed by a vote of 95 to 3, and it includes access to $100 million to repair Flint’s drinking water infrastructure; $50 million to address health care needs of children with lead exposure; the authority for the state of Michigan to forgive $20 million in past drinking water loans to Flint; and a requirement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warn the public within 15 days of high lead levels in drinking water if a state fails to do so.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

LaMacchia: Infrastructure Issues in Flint Symptom of Larger Problem

The League's John LaMacchia (center, right) and fellow panelists.

The League’s John LaMacchia (center, right) and fellow panelists.

What’s happening in Flint, Detroit and other cities is a symptom of a larger problem. A problem where cities in Michigan are only allowed to fall with the economy but not to prosper as the economy grows. And it’s only going to get worse if we don’t change the way the nation invests in communities.

This was a key message by the Michigan Municipal League’s John LaMacchia when speaking Thursday in Washington D.C. as part of Infrastructure Week 2016. The Infrastructure Week celebration organized by the National League of Cities and its partners is to raise awareness about the nation’s infrastructure needs. Cities construct and maintain the majority of our nation’s infrastructure and depend on a solid infrastructure network to provide safe and healthy communities, and grow their local economies.

The League's John LaMacchia is in Washington D.C. this week for the National League of Cities Infrastructure Week celebration. As part of his work, LaMacchia (center left) met with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (right).

The League’s John LaMacchia is in Washington D.C. this week for the National League of Cities Infrastructure Week celebration. As part of his work, LaMacchia (center left) met with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (right).

LaMacchia, assistant director of state affairs for the League, spoke as part of a panel discussion on “Securing Our Water Future: 21st Century Solutions for 21st Century Cities”. Other panelists were Council Member Matt Zone, City of Cleveland, Ohio, and National League of Cities 1st Vice President; Council Member Ron Nirenberg, City of San Antonio, Texas, and Chair, National League of Cities Energy and Environment Committee; Commissioner Heather Repenning, President Pro Tempore, Los Angeles Board of Public Works; Tyrone Jue, Senior Advisor on Environment to Mayor Ed Lee, City of San Francisco, California; Jonathan Trutt, Executive Director, West Coast Infrastructure Exchange; and Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities.

LaMacchia discussed the Flint water crisis and explained how the Flint issue is part of a much larger infrastructure problem in communities statewide.

Some of his key points included:

  • Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and Gov. Rick Snyder agree Flint’s lead-tainted service lines need to be removed. But it will take at least $55 million to replace all the lead-tainted lines. Money for water infrastructure has been put into appropriations bills in the Michigan Legislature and U.S. Congress, but the bills are still making their way through those legislative bodies.
  • The service lines are just part of the problem. The rest of Flint’s water system, from aging water mains to other infrastructure, needs to be totally replaced. The city’s water system loses a large percentage of the water to leaks, one reason Flint has some of the highest water rates in the country. Again, the City of Flint will need help from the state and federal governments to modernize its water infrastructure, a process that is expected to cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • When we look at Michigan as a whole we have neglected to properly invest, maintain and right size our infrastructure.
    The league's John LaMacchia speaks on a panel during Infrastructure Week in Washington D.C. May 19, 2016.

    The League’s John LaMacchia speaks on a panel during Infrastructure Week in Washington D.C. May 19, 2016.

  • For nearly 30 years Michigan has been about 10 million people yet we have increased the amount of infrastructure in the state by roughly 50% and giving little thought to how we would maintain both the old and new infrastructure.
  • Time and time again we have built new water and sewer plants without capitalizing on the existing capacity of a nearby system.
  • This not only speaks to how we have been inefficient in managing infrastructure in Michigan but also how we have disinvested in our communities in general.
  • Why cities are important: Our goal at the Michigan Municipal League is to make Michigan communities places people want to be. Places that can attract a talented work force and businesses. Having placemaking strategies in all communities is important. But it’s hard to even think about creating great places when you’re fighting every day not to drown. How can you attract businesses and a work force if your roads are crumbling, bridges are in disrepair and you’re communities have slashed the number of police officers, firefighters, public works employees and more?
  • The numbers show that some states – particularly Michigan – do not understand the importance of cities as economic drivers. If they did they would be investing in cities. But unfortunately they are disinvesting in cities.
  • According to U.S. Census data all but one state showed growth in municipal general revenue between 2002 and 2012. View chart here.
  • Many want to blame this on a single state recession but the numbers tell a different story.
  • Why is this the case in Michigan – property values decrease in 2008 crash and the Michigan Constitution limits their ability to recover, PLUS revenue sharing to the tune of $7.5 billion over the last decade plus.

LaMacchia concluded explaining Michigan’s system for funding municipalities is fundamentally broken and unless it gets fixed we’re going to see more situations like what’s happening in Flint and Detroit occur in other communities.

Also earlier this week, NLC released a new report called, Paying for Local Infrastructure in a New Era of Federalism. Read a blog about the report by the League’s Summer Minnick.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and 734-669-6317.

League’s Dan Gilmartin Talks Flint Water Crisis, Infrastructure Issues at Congressional Briefing

Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin participates in a Congressional Briefing on the Flint Water Crisis and infrastructure issues in Washington D.C. Wednesday.

Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin participates in a Congressional Briefing on the Flint Water Crisis and infrastructure issues in Washington D.C. Wednesday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin and fellow municipal leaders from across the nation called for a partnership between cities, states and the federal government to improve the country’s ailing infrastructure.

Gilmartin participated in a panel discussion at the Congressional Capitol Briefing earlier today (March 9, 2016) in Washington D.C. Gilmartin and the panel discussed national infrastructure issues and the Flint water crisis. Other scheduled panelists were Mayor Mark Stodola, of Little Rock, Arkansas; Councilmember Greg Evans, of Eugene Oregon; and Councilmember Andy Huckaba, of Lenexa, Kansas.

The panel also discussed whether federal policies are keeping pace with local efforts to reevaluate and reconfigure infrastructure for the next generation. More than 200 members of Congress and congressional staff attended the event at the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium. The briefing is part of the National League of Cities annual Congressional City Conference concluding today.

In response to the Flint water crisis, the NLC on Tuesday announced a resolution that declared that the nation’s cities stand united in support of Flint. The resolution also included a call to Congress and the Administration to resolve the Flint Water Crisis. View the resolution here.

Here is an excerpt of the press statement about the resolution:

NLC is also calling on Congress and the administration to support robust funding for all water infrastructure mechanisms, including the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund programs and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

“The true tragedy is that the families-and children-impacted by the lead contamination in Flint will endure long-term education and mental health impacts,” said National League of Cities President Melodee Colbert-Kean, councilmember, Joplin, Mo.”The federal government must make a long-term commitment to help these families with the challenges that lie ahead.”

“The Flint drinking water crisis is unconscionable and unacceptable. Cites stand in solidarity with Flint, and the National League of Cities stands united with all American cities in the need to update our nation’s deteriorating water infrastructure,” saidNational League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. “We must invest in the infrastructure our communities depend on. We need the federal government to step up, and work with cities to make sure there will never again be another disaster like in Flint.”

“The tragic events in Flint are a wake-up call for the nation. Policies that ignore critical infrastructure needs result in a shameful disinvestment in our cities, leading to problems like we are experiencing in Flint,” said Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. “The Michigan state government has shorted communities $7 billion in revenue since 2000. The Flint crisis is the latest result of this ruinous policy.”

Access to clean drinking water is fundamental for the health and well-being of America’s communities and families. Lead-contaminated drinking water can have permanent and long-term effects on mental health, IQ and development, particularly in infants and children.

There is an urgent need to invest in our aging water infrastructure nationwide. The EPA estimates the U.S. water infrastructure capital needs to be approximately $720 billion over the next 20 years.

View the full press release about the resolution here.

NLC is the nation’s largest and most representative membership and advocacy organization for city officials, comprised of more than 19,000 cities, towns, and villages representing more than 218 million Americans.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org.