Washington, D.C. — The recently enacted omnibus appropriations bill maintains or increases funding for key programs that cities use to fund infrastructure, economic development and public safety, among others, according to the National League of Cities (NLC). The bill comes after more than 1,000 city leaders lobbied Congress over the past year to save Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), TIGER grants, workforce development and education programs, and energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
“The spending bill before Congress shows that our federal partners have heard the thousands of city leaders urging them to reject the severe budget cuts proposed by the administration and that were required under sequestration,” said NLC President Mark Stodola, mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, prior to the bill’s passage. “This bill makes clear that city leaders are part of the solution to our country’s greatest challenges. It’s a victory not only for America’s 19,000 cities, towns and villages, but for the more than 250 million residents that rely on safe and reliable infrastructure and strong local economies that contribute 91 percent of the nation’s GDP.”
The bill also includes additional funding for water infrastructure through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including for lead testing and lead reduction in schools, which NLC has been calling for in its Rebuild With Us infrastructure campaign. NLC also supports the bill’s reauthorization of the brownfields redevelopment program (which helps cities clean up contaminated properties), the expansion of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to make up for losses in affordable housing stemming from tax reform, and the extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until July 31, 2018.
Selected provisions from the bill include:
- CDBG: First meaningful increase since 2010, from $3 billion to $3.3 billion
- Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER): Increased by $1 billion
- Airport Discretionary Grants Targeting Small and Rural Airports: Increased by $1 billion
- Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds: Increased by $300 million each
- Transit Infrastructure Grants: Increased by $834 million (including $400 million to help communities modernize their bus systems and $400 million for capital assistance to transit systems)
- Rural Broadband Infrastructure: $600 million in new funds
- State and Local Law Enforcement Grants: Increased by $1.2 billion for a total of $2.9 billion in 2018. This includes a total of $446.5 million, an increase of $299.5 million more than fiscal year 2017, in DOJ grant funding to help State and local communities respond to the opioid crisis.
- State Opioid Response Grants: $1 billion in new funding for grants to states to address the opioid crisis (this funding is in addition to the $500 million provided in the 21st Century Cures Act)
- National Pre-disaster Mitigation Fund: Pre-disaster mitigation funding increased from $149 million to $249 million to build infrastructure that prevents loss of life and mitigates risks, reduces damage from future disasters, and lowers flood insurance premiums.
- HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Vouchers: Increase funding of $40 million for new vouchers, while also protecting VA resources providing case management for homeless veterans.