The National Governors Association has requested that the U.S. Congress prioritize certain funding efforts to advance infrastructure renewal, community economic revitalization, and environmental restoration programs as they start considering Fiscal Year 2023’s appropriations process.
The following is the letter sent on July 13, 2022 to Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, Richard Shelby, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Kay Granger, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations:
Dear Chair Leahy, Chair DeLauro, Vice Chairman Shelby, and Ranking Member Granger:
As Chairman and Vice Chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA), we welcome the opportunity to provide you with our priorities as your respective committees continue to craft and consider the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) appropriations bills.
In 2021, NGA adopted task forces as a more streamlined, Governor-driven approach to formulate and execute on federal policy matters that are priorities to Governors.
The three task forces Community Renewal, Pandemic and Disaster Response, and Economic Recovery and Revitalization work in a bipartisan fashion to coordinate NGA’s work on federal policy issues.
The Economic Recovery and Revitalization Task Force has jurisdiction over issues in the areas of infrastructure, state stabilization, energy, environment, land management, and taxes. Congress has been an instrumental partner for states and territories in funding efforts to help support infrastructure, economic development, and environmental programs. Therefore, as you look toward Fiscal Year 2023’s appropriations process, NGA requests that you prioritize the following funding efforts in support of:
- Fully Funding Surface Transportation: Governors request a continued strong commitment to our nation’s transportation infrastructure, by providing full funding for core highway and transit programs included in the surface transportation program with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The historic funding certainty provided by the IIJA will be critical as states and territories develop long-term transportation plans and Governors applaud Congress for fully funding authorized levels of the surface transportation program over the past several years.
Transportation Grant Programs: Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants, and Capital Investment Grants for transit are both critical tools for building our nation’s infrastructure. Governors urge Congress to continue to prioritize and fund these vital infrastructure programs.
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program: Governors continue to support the critically important annual formula grants to states and local governments for a wide range of community and economic development purposes. CDBG grants expand affordable housing opportunities, create jobs, and stabilize neighborhoods across the country. The non-entitlement portion of CDBG, which is distributed through the States and Small Cities program, ensures that housing, public facilities, and economic development projects benefit persons of low and moderate income. Therefore, NGA requests Congress continue to provide consistent appropriations for the Community Development Block Grant Program in Fiscal Year 2023.
- Economic Development Administration (EDA) Programs: EDA is the only federal agency with a mission solely focused on private sector job creation in distressed areas. EDA is important to Governors because it serves as a catalyst in helping states and territories achieve long-term economic growth. EDA is designed to create jobs and stimulate the economy in areas of the country that need the most help —both rural and urban — and has played an integral role so far in America’s recovery from the economic fallout of the pandemic. Governors urge Congress to include robust funding for EDA in Fiscal Year 2023.
- Energy Grant Programs: Governors support full funding for the State Energy Program (SEP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). These programs are critical tools for the development and implementation of our state and territorial energy strategies and goals and examples of successful state-federal programs. SEP is the primary state-federal cooperative program addressing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in all sectors of the economy. States and territories have a history of successfully matching federal dollars with state, local, and private funds to help homeowners, small businesses, schools, municipalities, and hospitals save energy. Similarly, WAP helps low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled by improving the energy efficiency of low-income housing.
- Water Infrastructure: Governors share Congress’s ongoing concerns about aging water, inland waterways, port, and wastewater infrastructure. We commend your leadership in passing the IIJA and the historic resources for flooding mitigation and coastal resilience as well as drinking water and wastewater projects. Governors support full funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to provide long-term, long-cost loans for state and territorial projects. NGA also supports continued efforts to ensure the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and Inland Waterways Trust Fund receipts are equitably allocated and dedicated for their intended purpose to ensure our ports and inland waterways are maintained at the highest level.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Programs: Cooperative federalism was core to the EPA’s creation in the 1970s and remains integral to its success. Over the last decades, states and territories have become the primary implementers of many of our nation’s environmental statutes, having assumed over 96 percent of the delegable authorities under federal law. However, adequate federal resources remain necessary for states and territories to fulfill these responsibilities given constrained budgets. Governors collectively call for adequately funding state-federal programs that assist states and territories in implementing federal environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as continued funding for EPA’s State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG).
- Sufficient Wildfire Response and Management Funding: Governors appreciate federal, state, local, territorial, tribal, non-governmental and public partners who help manage our national cohesive wildfire management strategy and effectively respond to wildfires when they occur. Governors urge strong funding for this work at the Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service, and request increased funding for Wildland Fire Management activities. Congress should also ensure relevant agencies are effectively implementing long-term wildfire mitigation strategies.
On behalf of all Governors, we thank you for your continued support of these top NGA priorities for Fiscal Year 2023, and for focusing on funding our nation’s critical needs.
Governor Asa Hutchinson
Chair, National Governors Association
Governor Phil Murphy
Vice Chair, National Governors Association
Photo of U.S. Capitol by Storm Cunningham.