Updates from ASLA

ASLA Applauds Passage of Congressional Spending Bill

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) applauds Congress for passing a fiscal year 2018 spending bill that provides funding for programs vital to American communities. This bill takes important steps toward upgrading our nation’s infrastructure, improving our water management systems, and increasing funding for parks, forests, and federal lands.

The Society has long advocated for the increased funding of green infrastructure, including releasing a series of recommendations last year that urged policymakers to support a comprehensive plan for transportation, water, and natural systems. The spending bill as passed ensures that support.

“The bipartisan passing of this bill is evidence of consensus on the Hill regarding issues critical to America’s health, safety and welfare,” said Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. “This bill will allow landscape architects to continue to help upgrade our nation’s infrastructure. That work makes communities more resilient, improves the quality of life for people, and helps protect and restore local ecosystems.”

Among the bill’s provisions:

  • The measure provides a $1 billion increase for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, which provides grants for innovative multimodal transportation projects, such as bicycle and pedestrian systems, transit, and transit-oriented development. Since the program’s inception in 2009, landscape architects have accessed TIGER to plan and design bike and pedestrian trails and Complete Street projects. Demand for TIGER grants has exceeded available funding. The new, significant increase will allow more innovative transportation projects to go forward.

  • The measure provides $425 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a 10 percent increase from last year. LWCF funds support projects on federal lands including facilities in national parks, monuments, and battlefields. Landscape architects use this funding to plan and design essential outdoor recreation facilities across the nation.

  • Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency, will receive $2.9 billion, an increase of about $600 million. This program provides grants to states and localities to improve water-treatment infrastructure.

  • The National Park Service (NPS) will receive $3.2 billion, an increase of $255 million. This funding includes $175 million to address the backlog of nearly $12 billion in maintenance projects. This support is a positive step towards maintaining the use and beauty of our national parks.

The Society and its members look forward to continuing its work on these critical initiatives.

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