Author Archive

Kery Murakami

Kery Murakami
Kery Murakami is a senior reporter covering Congress and federal agencies for Route Fifty. A longtime reporter, he has covered state, city and county governments, as well as transportation, at newspapers like the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Newsday. In Washington, D.C, he has covered federal policy areas including broadband, healthcare and higher education.
Finance

Deciding How to Use $41B in Remaining State ARPA Aid

States have already chosen where to spend the bulk of $195 billion in pandemic funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. A think tank is weighing in on what to do with the money that’s left.

Infrastructure

There’s Bipartisan Interest in Reworking the Brownfields Program

The infrastructure law tripled funding to clean up and redevelop polluted sites. Two key senators are looking at ways to help more communities take advantage of the additional money.

Infrastructure

Manchin Drops Push to Overhaul Energy Infrastructure Permitting

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin wanted to speed environmental approvals for projects like power plants and pipelines. But he couldn’t muster the votes to tie his proposal to legislation needed to keep the federal government open.

Infrastructure

How Manchin’s Permitting Plan Would Restrict State Power

The senator’s proposal seeks to codify into law Trump-era rules narrowing how states can evaluate projects like gas pipelines and power plants under the Clean Water Act.

Public Safety

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.

Public Safety

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.

Infrastructure

The Emerging Concerns Over the Infrastructure Law Rollout

State and local leaders are happy to have the money. But state transportation officials are flagging issues they’re worried about, as Republican lawmakers chafe over Biden administration rules.

Infrastructure

Why the Permitting Reform Debate Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Even if Sen. Joe Manchin succeeds in getting his proposed overhaul of environmental regulations for infrastructure attached to a critical spending bill, Republicans plan to push for further changes, including restoring Trump-era policies.

Public Safety

Democrats at ‘Impasse’ Over Added Funding for Police Grants

The money would go to local departments, which are struggling to hire and retain officers. Centrists in the U.S. House want more spending as progressives push for stronger police accountability measures.

Finance

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.

Infrastructure

Clash Over Infrastructure Permitting Heats Up on Capitol Hill

Despite objections from fellow Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will press ahead with a deal to attach an overhaul of energy project permitting to a must-pass spending bill. Meanwhile, Republicans have a plan of their own.

Infrastructure

‘Really Disappointing’: For Housing Advocates, Democrats’ New Spending Law Is a Major Letdown

After $150 billion for affordable housing was stripped from the legislation, they’re looking for alternatives to secure funding they say is urgently needed to address rising rents and home prices.

Smart Cities

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.

Infrastructure

Feds Launch Website to Push Out Information on CHIPS Act Funding

Also on Thursday, President Biden signed an executive order laying out priorities for implementing the bipartisan semiconductor measure.

Infrastructure

New Semiconductor Law Aims to Create ‘Silicon Valleys’ Across US

$10 billion in funding will go to support 20 research hubs with a third of them set to be in small or rural communities.

Finance

Biden Signs Major Climate, Health Care, Tax Law

The legislation will mean new federal support for a range of state and local programs, as well as the extension of key health insurance subsidies. Most GOP governors oppose the measure.

Finance

Prospect of SALT Deduction Increase Gone—at Least for a Few Years

The blow to local and state governments is the result of top House proponents supporting President Biden’s massive climate bill, even though the deductions were left out. 

Health & Human Services

House Sends Multibillion-Dollar Climate Bill to Biden for Signature

The bill, already approved by the Senate, brings praise for its climate provisions but disappoints those hoping for state and local tax changes and more spending on housing.

Infrastructure

Biden Signs Semiconductor Bill, Spurring Hopes for New Jobs and Manufacturing Around the US

The $54.2 billion measure drew broad support from local leaders, who believe their regions could benefit. “We need to make these chips here in America," the president said.

Finance

Senate Approves Democrats' Sweeping Climate and Health Bill

The legislation would unlock billions in new grants for states and local governments. But some lament its lack of help on housing and other issues. It will next go to the House.