Board adopts APWA advocacy priorities for 2006

Jim Fahey
Director of Government Affairs
APWA Washington Office

During the APWA International Public Works Congress and Exposition in Minneapolis in September, the APWA Board of Directors adopted a new set of association advocacy priorities for 2006 and the remainder of 2005. Recommended by the Government Affairs Committee, the new priorities maintain a continued focus on national issues of greatest concern to public works, including transportation; water infrastructure investment; homeland security and emergency preparedness; and local control of public rights-of-way.

In addition to identifying priorities, the Board of Directors reaffirmed four overarching principles which serve to define the essential goals of APWA's advocacy priorities. They are:

1. Support for adequate investment in public infrastructure
2. Respect for local authority
3. Reasonable regulations and protection from unfunded mandates
4. Support for streamlining government oversight

The priorities build upon the successful member advocacy efforts of the past year and look ahead to address the public policy challenges for the next year. Listed below, they will guide APWA's member advocacy efforts.

Full Funding for Transportation
Objective: Increase federal investment in transportation infrastructure and programs; protect the integrity of transportation trust funds and the framework of SAFETEA-LU.

Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure Funding
Objective: Increase the federal investment in clean water and drinking water infrastructure.

Water Resources Development Act
Objective: Support full funding and programming of the Water Resources Development Act.

Comprehensive Stormwater Management and Funding
Objectives: Support solutions that promote a comprehensive approach to stormwater management that recognizes the quality of life benefits associated with such actions. Support funding for the research pilot projects that support the development of best management practices.

Homeland Security Priorities:

1. Federal Emergency Relief Funding
Objective: Achieve increased funding for local agencies, encourage initiatives at the federal level that support an efficient and effective all-hazards approach to disaster management and mitigation, more rapid disbursement of funding and quicker response in pre- and post-disaster events.

2. Security of Public Facilities and Utility Systems
Objective: Support implementation and funding of reasonable security measures necessary to protect public facilities and utility systems.

3. Public Works as an Integral Responder
Objective: As first responders, assure that public works is fully integrated in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, emergency response and recovery, and secure the necessary funding and resources to meet that demand.

Local Control of Public Rights-of-Way
Objective: Protect local control over public rights-of-way.

Air Quality Standards
Objective: Support solutions that protect air quality and promote the efficient and cost-effective delivery of public works services.

APWA will communicate these priorities to policymakers and elected officials through the work of the various APWA committees, chapters, task forces and members. The priorities may be updated during the course of the year if necessary.

The priorities are posted on APWA's website, www.apwa.net/advocacy. To find out more about APWA advocacy, visit the website or contact the APWA Washington Office at (202) 408-9541.

Jim Fahey can be reached at (202) 218-6730 or jfahey@apwa.net.

APWA's Government Affairs Committee met on Monday, September 12, during the 2005 Congress. From left: Committee members Bud Curtis, George Crombie, Ann Burnett, and past committee chair Don LaBelle