Board of Directors adopts advocacy priorities

Jim Fahey
Director of Government Relations
APWA Washington Office

A number of key public works policy issues are expected to remain on the national agenda through the end of this year and into next year. To address them, the APWA Board of Directors has adopted a set of national advocacy priorities for the remainder of 2003 and for 2004. The eight priorities include TEA-21 reauthorization, water infrastructure investment and homeland security, current issues which, as they are decided, will have significant long-term impact on local public works activities nationwide.

With the adoption of the priorities, the board also 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.

Below are the specific advocacy priorities the board adopted for 2003-04:

Reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act and 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.

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

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.

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: Protect local control over public rights-of-way.

Security of Public Works Facilities and Systems
Objective: Support implementation of security measures necessary to protect the public with required funding.

Homeland Security
Objective: Assure that the needs of public works be considered in the context of primary emergency responder.

Looking ahead to the issues of 2004, these priorities continue the strong emphasis on APWA's ongoing advocacy work and will guide APWA's member advocacy efforts over the next year. They were recommended by the APWA Government Affairs Committee and adopted by the board during the APWA International Public Works Congress & Exposition in San Diego, California, August 24-27, 2003.

APWA will communicate these priorities to policymakers, legislators and regulators through the work of the various APWA committees, chapters and task forces and through the Legislative Advocacy Task Force, a grassroots network of APWA members formed to advocate public works issues. You can find out more about the Legislative Advocacy Task Force, the Government Affairs Committee or APWA's advocacy programs on APWA's website, www.apwa.net/govtaffairs, or by contacting the APWA Washington Office at (202) 408-9541.