Focus shifts from American Rescue Plan to infrastructure
In This Section
July 16, 2021
By Kevin Bommer, CML executive director
Now that all Colorado municipalities have received or will shortly receive the first half of American Rescue Plan (ARP), funding CML and the National League of Cities (NLC) are focusing on infrastructure conversations in Washington, D.C. CML will be similarly focused on interim discussions in Colorado, as legislative leaders and the Governor’s office contemplate how to allocate the remaining $1.8 billion of state ARP money.
In Washington, NLC has been working with the bipartisan Senate group over the past few weeks to develop legislative text around the compromise that was recently announced by President Joe Biden. Sen. John Hickenlooper is part of that bipartisan group, and Sen. Michael Bennet will play a key role as a member of the Senate Finance Committee. The key message to members of Congress from both NLC and CML has been to streamline infrastructure investment by directing it to the asset owners at the local level and eliminating circuitous and inefficient bureaucratic processes. Informing the discussion is a comprehensive infrastructure priorities letter that NLC recently sent. The letter can be viewed at bit.ly/36wc7xm. Initial draft language is possible in coming days, and Senate leaders could bring a bill forward as soon as July 19. However, given some of the cross currents coming from House leadership about a second bill that would not be bipartisan,
the chance that the bipartisan bill would move quickly seems small. Should House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insist on pushing more expansive secondary legislation with a higher price tag and trying to pass it though budget reconciliation, it could shatter the bipartisan Senate process.
In the short term, municipal leaders are encouraged to contact Colorado’s senators and provide support for the bipartisan work. Sharing with them information about local infrastructure needs and funding gaps will help inform their work. For questions or more information, contact Kevin Bommer, CML executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.