Washington Insight

Government Affairs Committee selects public policy advocacy priorities

Andrea J. Fisher
Manager of Government Relations
APWA Washington, DC Office

During the 2000 APWA Congress recently held in Louisville, Kentucky, the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) adopted public policy advocacy priorities for the 2000-2001 year. These legislative and regulatory priorities were approved by the Board of Directors and will serve as APWA’s primary advocacy objectives for the next year. Serving as the umbrella to the specific policy priorities are three core principles guiding APWA legislative involvement. They are:

  • Support for adequate investment in public infrastructure;
  • Respect for local authority;
  • Reasonable regulations and protection from unfunded mandates.

The following are the issues identified by the GAC and approved by the Board:

Full Funding for Transportation Programs
Objective: Increase federal investment in transportation infrastructure and programs; protect the integrity of transportation trust funds and the framework of TEA-21.

TEA-21 Implementation
Objective: Support the full and timely implementation of TEA-21.

Clean Water Funding
Objective: Increase the federal investment in clean water infrastructure.

Stormwater Regulatory Issues
Objectives: Support solutions that protect water quality and, at the same time, preserve local authority and promote efficient and cost effective delivery of public works services. Oppose unfunded mandates.

Federal Emergency Relief Funding
Objective: Achieve increased funding for local agencies, more rapid disbursement of funding and quicker response in pre- and post-disaster events.

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

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

TEA-21 Reauthorization
The Government Affairs Committee proposed to the Board of Directors, and it was adopted, the creation of a TEA-21 Reauthorization Task Force. The task force will be appointed by the APWA President and will recommend official APWA policy positions relating to the next reauthorization of the federal surface transportation act. It was recommended by the GAC that the membership of the task force reflect the perspectives of APWA’s membership.

Water Infrastructure Network (WIN)
APWA is an active member and supporter of the Water Infrastructure Network, a broad-based coalition of organizations representing elected officials, wastewater and drinking water administrators, construction and engineering professionals, the environmental community and others. WIN is working to raise awareness of water infrastructure funding needs, to educate public officials, to further a dialogue on investment options and to determine the necessary legislative solutions needed to close the funding gap. In April, WIN released a needs study entitled Clean and Safe Water for the 21st Century, which documented water and wastewater infrastructure-funding shortfall of $23 billion annually. Legislation addressing drinking water and wastewater issues is expected in the next Congress.

To respond to the water and wastewater infrastructure-funding shortfall and to assure APWA’s continued involvement in the WIN, the Board of Directors adopted a resolution stating:

  1. “…the American Public Works Association supports the WIN coalition’s mission calling for a renewed federal financial commitment to clean and safe water infrastructure to achieve the goals of the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts; and
  2. supports its mission to raise awareness of the water infrastructure financing shortfall, to educate public officials, to further a dialogue on investment options, and determine the necessary legislative solutions to close the funding gap.”

The above-mentioned objectives will guide APWA through another year of the Strategic Plan implementation. Great progress is being made towards the strengthening of APWA’s advocacy efforts to influence and reach out to policy-makers.

If you have any questions regarding APWA’s legislative/regulatory priorities or advocacy plan, please feel free to contact any member of the Government Relations staff located in the Washington office at (202) 408-9541, or by e-mail: Jim Fahey, Government Relations Director, at jfahey@apwa.net; Andrea Fisher, Government Relations Manager, at afisher@apwa.net; or Heather McTavish, Government Relations Coordinator, at hmctavish@apwa.net.

 

Recruitment for the TEA-21 Reauthorization Task Force is underway
APWA is currently seeking letters of interest from members who would like to serve on an APWA TEA-21 Reauthorization Task Force. The deadline for submitting letters of interest is Friday, December 1, 2000. APWA President Judith Mueller will be appointing the task force membership.

During the 2000 APWA Congress, the Board of Directors approved the creation of a TEA-21 Reauthorization Task Force. The task force will be responsible for recommending official APWA policy positions relating to the next reauthorization of the federal surface transportation act.

If you are interested, please submit your letter of interest to Andrea Fisher in the Washington, DC office briefly stating your qualifications and background. Please limit your submission to one page. You may fax your letter to Andrea’s attention at (202) 408-9542 or via e-mail: afisher@apwa.net.

The task force is expected to begin in the winter of 2001. Availability to travel to occasional task force meetings is required. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact Andrea Fisher at (202) 408-9541.