Much of the legislative focus of 2021 will be on recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and economic recession, and the scale and impact of that recovery will depend upon federal relief coming to life at the local level. Planners can help our cities, suburbs, and small towns to expand the transformative impact of recovery spending and investment.
Robust federal recovery spending, coupled with planning expertise at the local level, will help communities reinvent themselves to be more equitable, more prosperous, and more resilient.
Opportunities for Action
Now is the time for planners and elected officials to ensure that communities get the funding and support that they need to ensure an equitable and lasting recovery. Specifically, we call on Congress to:
- Provide relief funding for state and local governments. Local governments have been severely hit by collapsing revenues at a time of urgent need to assist local businesses and residents, especially those hit hardest by the pandemic. Flexible funding to local government and public agencies will keep planning and critical functions operating and ensure communities recover more equitably and more quickly.
- Support public transportation and essential public agencies. Public transportation agencies face enormous fiscal challenges because of the pandemic but provide a lifeline of access and mobility for essential workers and communities. Effective recovery legislation should provide support to transit and other vital agencies.
- Ensure housing security. The pandemic has accelerated the impacts of an existing housing crisis and has exposed many people to an immediate housing emergency. Tools like emergency homeless assistance grants, aid for tenants and landlords, eviction moratoria, and funding for affordable housing are important for immediate relief and longer-term recovery.
Planning and Recovery
Planners can contribute to community recovery and reinvestment by finding revenue streams, implementing recovery solutions, and helping communities leverage federal funding.
Planning departments play a role in new funding streams for tight municipal budgets and enhance community services.
Planners share their stories about how state and local budget shortfalls impact their work and their communities. (APA Blog)
State and local governments are experiencing significant budget shortfalls and need federal funding to continue to serve communities. (APA Blog)
APA Past President Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, hosts conversations with thought leaders from the planning profession, government, and beyond to discuss planning and recovery. Watch the latest video in the series, featuring Samantha Harkins, former Deputy Mayor of Lansing, Michigan:
Recovery Advocacy in Action
Read the letter APA sent to Congress urging flexible, sufficient funding for state and local governments. (Policy Letter)