Federal and City Relations

Biden unveils $4.9B in big-ticket infrastructure grants

Three dozen projects got the green light and millions of federal dollars. The president also used the announcement to bolster his reelection campaign.

When a vendor pays a mayor $13,000, is it a bribe? The U.S. Supreme Court will decide

A former Indiana mayor asked the high court to intervene in his corruption case and resolve a disparity in which “gratuities” from outsiders are considered OK in some courts, but not in others.

Mayors urge ATF to finalize rules to expand background checks

The proposed rules would close the “gun show loophole,” which is one of several loopholes that currently allows one-fifth of all the guns sold in the nation to be sold without background checks.

Ahead of busy Thanksgiving travel, improvements to air transportation touted

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighted a low airline cancellation rate, airport upgrades and the hiring of more air traffic controllers. He also cautioned that funding squabbles in Congress could hurt progress.

As cities struggle to shelter migrants, calls for federal action grow

State and local leaders have resorted to desperate measures—sometimes circumventing the federal government—to find housing and support for the influx of asylum seekers. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

The federal government has more than 8,000 vacant properties. Why aren’t they being used to house the homeless?

A 2016 law says unused federal properties should be turned over to help the homeless. But a complex process and bureaucratic requirements are making that nearly impossible.

‘Reconnecting Communities’ grant applications expanded

The federal Transportation Department announced $3.35 billion in grant opportunities to reconnect communities divided by highways, rail lines and other infrastructure.

Mayors: There’s a Mental Health Crisis in Every City

It is causing drug overdoses and homelessness in cities across America. But with the debt deal to freeze spending, it is uncertain whether federal help is coming.

New Map Shows How Common Train Derailments Are

Few are as dangerous as the one in East Palestine, but city advocates hope the online tool showing the location of thousands of derailments will underscore the need for a federal safety law.

New Initiative Will Help Cities Reduce Homelessness

The program will “embed” federal officials in six cities to help local officials get people off the streets and into homes more quickly.

White House Vowed to Play Key Role in Opioid Settlements But Has Gone Quiet

Billions of dollars are headed to state and local governments to address the opioid crisis. But if the federal government fails to oversee the use of the money, it could lead to wasted opportunities. And the feds could have a claim to portions of states’ opioid settlements.

We’re Back! Our Grand Return to Live Events

Route Fifty and GCN will hit the road with a new free event series to explore how cities across the country are building their future today.

$700M in Grants for Local EV Chargers Announced

The competitive grants are designed to install electric vehicle chargers in local communities where private entities are otherwise less likely to build them.

House GOP Tightens Rules for Earmarks

The move will likely limit future funding for state and local government projects in the areas of education, human services and workforce development, as well as for government operations.

In Preview of Debt Limit Fight, House Republicans Target Climate Funds

A House Environment subcommittee voted to claw back $27 billion from President Biden’s climate law, signaling what the GOP may demand in future budget negotiations.

Treasury Reopens ‘Help Desk’ for States and Localities

The call center, which fielded 300 calls and about 2,000 emails a week before it was shut down, provided governments with assistance on the handling of various pandemic-related programs.

‘Catastrophic Financially.’ What It Means for Cities If the Debt Ceiling Isn’t Raised

A default on the federal level could discourage investors from providing the money cities need to function, build affordable housing, fix roads and make other improvements.

HUD Offers Cities Help to Add Housing Near Transportation Options

As part of the Thriving Communities effort, the federal agency will supply technical assistance to revive economically distressed areas.

Some Towns Get Funding Boost from Census Corrections

Census population count corrections have started to roll out, but officials say the bureau needs to be more transparent about the process as valuable funding opportunities remain on the line.

Are Mayors Open to Federal Budget Cuts? It Depends Who You Ask

Route Fifty caught up with mayors from around the country to get their views on Republican threats to chop federal spending.