As Bill Anderson pointed out in his posting on the future of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, APA has been working with Capitol Hill on the agency's pending reauthorization and is interested in your input. In July, President Obama nominated and the U.S. Senate confirmed a new director for EDA. John Fernandez is the new Assistant Secretary of Commerce. He has a background in local government as the former mayor of Bloomington, Indiana. With the appointment process complete, Congress is poised to begin serious consideration of the EDA reauthorization following the August recess. After meetings with House and Senate staff, we expect to see committee action in September or October and a final bill by the end of the year.
APA has been working with a coalition of organization interested in EDA issues on the reauthorization. Partners include the National Association of Development Organizations and the National Association of Regional Councils. The coalition has discussed a number of ideas for EDA reauthorization with congressional staff, including:
- Flexibility in local matching requirements
- Linkage to other Obama Administration sustainability initiatives
- Increased support for planning
- New incentives or "extra credit" for innovative or coordinated planning
- Disaster recovery and mitigation activities
- Local and regional data issues
- Flexibility on data requirements
- Changes to state revolving funds
- Expediting project approvals
- New standards and measurement for 'distressed' communities
The comments on Bill's post have been helpful. I wanted to give everyone a more specific sense of some of the issues under discussion and invite you to give APA your ideas and insights. Feel free to email me directly on this issue (or other policy matters) at firstname.lastname@example.org but post your comments to keep the discussion going.
We'll be discussing this and other new federal initiatives at the upcoming APA Federal Policy and Program Briefing in Washington October 4 - 6. You can get more information and register online.
Thanks for inviting me to join the discussion!
Director of Policy & Government Affairs
American Planning Association