On September 12 to 14, 2023, National Governors Association hosted its fifth Quarterly Infrastructure Coordinator Workshop in Washington, D.C. This convening brought together Governors’ Infrastructure Coordinators and Advisors from over 30 states and territories, federal officials and private sector practitioners to discuss a range of infrastructure implementation issues currently facing Governors’ and their staff.
On the first day of the Workshop, Governors’ Infrastructure Coordinators convened at the offices of the U.S. Department of Commerce to discuss infrastructure programs managed across the Department. This included a presentation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on habitat restoration and fish passage efforts, a discussion on broadband programs with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a session with the CHIPS Program Office on implementing the $50 billion CHIPS for America initiative, and an overview of Economic Development Administration opportunities, including the new Recompete and Tech Hub programs. While these discussions covered a lot of ground, there was nonetheless ample opportunity to dive into critical issues facing the states and territories. This included how to best avoid duplication between the $42 billion Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and other broadband measures, the role of states in private sector applications for semiconductor fabrication facilities, and addressing permitting challenges for major developments.
On the morning of day two, Infrastructure Coordinators convened at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for a dialogue with the White House Infrastructure Implementation Team and other federal agency representatives. The session kicked-off with welcome remarks from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, White House Infrastructure Coordinator, followed by the announcement of two new Technical Assistance Guides on capacity building and technical assistance programs. The White House Infrastructure Team then provided a detailed overview of progress to-date and upcoming milestones associated with implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) across a range of infrastructure sectors. The morning wrapped up with several agency-specific discussions, including a deep dive on environmental permitting reforms by the Council of Environmental Quality, an overview of a new $100 million electric vehicle charger reliability and accelerator program, an update on the Environmental Protection Agency’s water state revolving loan funds, and a presentation on the updated U.S. Department of Transportation Thriving Communities capacity building program.
Day two programming continued with a closed-door gathering on strategic communications. During this session, Infrastructure Coordinators discussed examples of leveraging strategic communications to achieve Governors’ infrastructure objectives, the power of internal and external collaboration and successful strategies to illustrate Governors’ achievements. A highlight of this session was a presentation by Doug Mayer from GP3 Partners, who provided state and territorial leaders with strategies on messaging and advocacy. Later that afternoon, Governors’ advisors reconvened with NGA Partners to discuss working with private sector partners to successfully amplify messaging. This included a presentation by Jon Phillips, CEO of Global Infrastructure Investor Association, who provided his insights on successful communication strategies and the critical role of authentic stakeholder engagement in progressing major infrastructure projects. A long day of programming ended with an evening reception on the rooftop of the Offices of Sullivan and Cromwell.
The workshop concluded Thursday morning, September 14, with a roundtable discussion between Governors’ and federal agency infrastructure coordinators, followed by a state and territory-only meeting. Common themes arising from these discussions included the urgent need for technical assistance and capacity building support for states and territories, ongoing challenges with aligning myriad funding opportunities with Governors’ infrastructure priorities, best practices in managing and tracking agency and local government infrastructure actions, and successful project acceleration and delivery approaches. Infrastructure Coordinators also indicated a strong preference to meet again later this year, and NGA looks forward to hosting infrastructure coordinators in Washington, D.C., in the fourth quarter.
NGA would like to thank the representatives from 30-plus states and territories who made their way to Washington, D.C., in addition to the White House, federal agency infrastructure coordinators and staff, the Global Infrastructure Investor Association and other NGA Partners, as well as Sullivan and Cromwell and the American Gas Association for generously hosting us.
NGA maintains public implementation resources pages for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which can be accessed here. These resource pages are updated weekly to provide the latest federal updates, including notices of funding opportunities, requests for information and guidelines, and the latest association and NGA Partner resources.