Board adopts advocacy priorities for the year ahead

Jim Fahey
Director of Government Relations
APWA Washington Office

A number of key policy issues crucial to the future of public works programs and services will remain on the national agenda well into next year. APWA's new advocacy priorities, adopted by the Board of Directors in September, maintain a strong focus on the national issues of greatest concern and interest to public works, including homeland security, water infrastructure investment, transportation and local control of the public rights-of-way.

The priorities were recommended by the APWA Government Affairs Committee and adopted by the Board of Directors during the APWA International Public Works Congress and Exposition in Atlanta in September. Building upon the member advocacy efforts and successes of the past year, they look to address the challenges ahead and will guide member advocacy efforts for the remainder of this year and for 2005.

In addition to specific priorities, the Board of Directors also reaffirmed four overarching principles which serve to define the essential goals of APWA's advocacy priorities:

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.

Following are APWA's advocacy priorities for 2004-2005:

Surface Transportation Act Reauthorization and Full Funding for Transportation
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 clean water 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.

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

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

3. First Responder Status
Objective: As first responders, assure that public works is fully integrated in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, emergency response 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's Government Affairs Committee meets during the Atlanta Congress.

APWA will communicate these priorities to legislators, policy-makers and decision-makers through the work of the various APWA committees, chapters, task forces and member advocacy activity. The priorities may be updated during the course of the year to reflect changes in events.

The priorities are posted on APWA's website, www.apwa.net, under advocacy. You can find out more about the Government Affairs Committee or APWA's advocacy activities there or by contacting the APWA Washington Office at (202) 408-9541.