Throughout the nation, events are being held this week in recognition of Infrastructure Week. What began as a niche event has grown into a coast to coast celebration of and call to action for our nation’s infrastructure system. As in past years, NACo will be hosting events on Capitol Hill, during which county leaders will carry the message for increased and reliable local infrastructure investment to the doorstep of key policymakers and stakeholders.
A full day of events and programming on Wednesday, May 17, will bring county leaders together with other local elected officials to participate in forums and briefings designed to highlight the need for a strong federal-state-local partnership to address the nation’s infrastructure needs.
In conjunction with the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National League of Cities (NLC), NACo will host a forum focused on infrastructure investment. The tax-free status of municipal bonds will be front and center as Commissioner Bill Holen of Arapahoe County, Colo. will represent NACo at a live-streamed event moderated by Eno Center for Transportation CEO Robert Puentes.
Later that day on Capitol Hill, NACo, in conjunction with the other “Big 7” local government associations: The National League of Cities (NLC); the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM); the National Governors Association (NGA); the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL); the Council of State Governments (CSG); and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), will be holding a Hill briefing designed to carry the county message to the highest levels of government. Joined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Ramsey County, Minn. Commissioner Jim McDonough will detail county priorities and the need for direct funding should an infrastructure package be introduced by Congress this year.
Following this briefing, the entire NACo Infrastructure Week delegation will join the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs Chairman Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) at an off-the-record roundtable titled Red Tape Roundtable: Infrastructure. With prepared remarks from Commissioner McDonough and Madison County, N.Y. Supervisor John Becker, NACo participants will engage Chairman Palmer in a robust discussion designed to find solutions to regulatory hurdles that drive up costs and delay the completion of local infrastructure.
To cap the week off, NACo and the National League of Cities will host a program highlighting the importance of broadband infrastructure in communities across the nation. During the event, Jean Rice with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will moderate a discussion with leaders from local government, the telecommunications industry and academia on what local communities can do when investing in infrastructure improvements in the years to come.
Building upon years past, this week promises to be exciting and informative. From the halls of Congress to counties across the country, the need for local infrastructure investment and improvement will be heard loud and clear, with one true voice: the county voice, where infrastructure and communities are born.