NLC lists priorities for new administration, Congress

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The National League of Cities is gearing up to work with President-elect Donald Trump and a new Congress on a range of important issues, particularly infrastructure spending, the economy and public safety.
 
NLC President Melodee Colbert-Kean recently identified the NLC’s three priority areas and the ways in which the federal government can follow the leadership being demonstrated by municipalities on these issues.
 
On infrastructure, the NLC plans to engage the new administration broadly, asking for greater spending across the board, though with a focus on repairing existing roads, bridges and water infrastructure. The NLC wants to see more control of federal infrastructure spending delegated to the municipalities that are charged with spending the funds, rather than seeing the funding go entirely to the states.
 
The NLC platform includes four specific requests of the new administration: a robust effort to expand broadband internet access to the roughly 47 million Americans who lack it, to ensure predictable long-term infrastructure spending plans, to protect the status of tax-exempt municipal bonds, and to support connected transportation funding to ensure that the nation’s airports, roads and waterways can meet the needs of the 21st century.
 
On the economy, the NLC finds that 95 percent of cities surveyed claimed at least some improvement in the local economy, but much work remains to be done. In order to support continued economic growth, the NLC advocates for increased federal funding for workforce development and training programs, arguing that these programs are among the best ways to help workers adapt to a rapidly changing employment environment.
 
The NLC also requests that the new administration support and strengthen existing economic development tools such as the New Markets Tax Credit and the Community Development Block Grant program, which is used by many communities across Massachusetts.
 
In the wake of a turbulent year for public safety agencies, the NLC plans to advocate for smarter, well-funded public safety initiatives. The NLC highlights the fact that the rate of violent crime, as monitored by the FBI, has fallen by roughly 50 percent since 1993, but the league sees several opportunities for closer cooperation between federal and local law enforcement agencies. This includes a request for the Department of Justice to provide technical support to help communities in developing community policing programs, as well as increasing the use of advanced communications and broadband technology.
 
The NLC urges municipalities across the country to make efforts to engage with their legislators to ensure that the priorities of cities and towns are met at the federal level.