Federal and City Relations

The Infrastructure Law, One Year In

Local officials are still expressing appreciation for all the extra federal funding. But some, along with Republican lawmakers, are seeking tweaks on permitting and in other areas to make accessing and spending the money easier.

In a Rural Corner of the West, a Local Level Push to Revive Passenger Rail

Cuts in the late 1970s ended Amtrak service across southern Montana. Now, a county-led coalition wants to bring it back.

Cities and States Bristle Over Proposal to Change How They Report on Finances

Congress is weighing a plan that calls for overhauling how state and local government financial data is made public, stirring worries about new costs for software and staff. But supporters of the revamp say it’s long overdue.

Treasury Shuts Down Helpline for States and Localities

Due to a funding crunch left unaddressed by Congress, the department is phasing out phone and email services to field questions about billions in pandemic aid.

$1B Cybersecurity Grant Program Still Coming Into Focus

The new federal initiative is in its early stages, with questions about how the money will be spent and how much control localities, versus states, will have over it.

Republicans are Gearing Up for ‘Aggressive’ ARPA Oversight if They Take Back the House

Lawmakers tell Route Fifty that “clawing back” unspent or misspent American Rescue Plan Act funds from states and localities is a possibility.

Biden Calls on Governors to Pardon Marijuana Possession Offenses

He did so after issuing a blanket pardon for all federal convictions for simple possession of the drug.

New Help Available for Underserved Places Applying for Federal Grants

The Thriving Communities Program aims to offer assistance to localities that might struggle to compete for funding in areas like housing and transportation.

How Much Federal Covid Aid are Cities Spending to Help Kids?

New research looks at how local governments are using the money to address the fallout the pandemic has had for children in areas like education and mental health.

Mayors and Law Enforcement React to Police Funding Package

The U.S. House-passed legislation would provide new federal dollars for hiring officers and other initiatives. But it faces an uncertain path in the Senate.

Democrats Strike Deal to Boost Funding for Police

The package would provide new federal dollars for hiring officers, as well as violence prevention initiatives and job training.

Detroit Sues the U.S. Census Bureau Over Alleged Undercounts

The Census Bureau contends that Detroit lost 7,100 residents from 2020 to 2021, but Mayor Mike Duggan said that number is inaccurate.

States and Localities See Big Infusion of Cash From Earmarks

The once-tainted, but now revived process to fund congressional lawmakers’ favored projects is sending hundreds of millions of dollars to state, local and tribal governments.

A New Tech Tool to Help Communities Confront Climate Risks

The just-launched federal website provides a range of information around extreme weather and natural disasters.

Tree Canopies Cool Neighborhoods. The Inflation Reduction Act Commits $1.5B to Plant Many More

The massive federal measure offers a five-fold increase in funding tree planting nationwide, especially in low-income communities that are typically hotter in summers.

City and County Government Workers Eligible for Additional Student Loan Debt Relief

The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is temporarily offering expanded debt forgiveness but borrowers need to file paperwork soon.

Dozens of State and Local Officials Press Biden to Increase Refugee Resettlement in US

“We can and must do more," they say. The Biden administration pledged to ramp up resettlements. But even with deepening humanitarian crises unfolding in Ukraine, Afghanistan and other nations, refugee admissions fell to a historic low in fiscal 2021.

Feds Award $1.6B to Speed Transition to Electric and Hydrogen Buses

The money will go to 150 transit agencies around the country to help them upgrade their fleets and facilities.

With a Big Surge in Transportation Funding, a State Decides Its Spending Priorities

Michigan expects its annual cut of federal highway dollars to rise by a third in the coming years. Here’s how the state is thinking about putting the extra cash to use.