Infrastructure Top Priority in State of the Cities Report

The National League of Cities (NLC) recently released the State of Cities Report 2023 which outlines the current priorities for municipal governments in improving the quality of life within their communities. The examination of mayors’ speeches showed that infrastructure was the top priority for America’s cities, followed by sustainable budgets, public safety, economic development and affordable housing. These immediate priorities highlight programs supported by federal funding provided in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

Tacoma, Washington, Mayor Victoria Woodards and Jamestown, New York, Mayor Eddie Sundquist participated in an NLC webinar summarizing the report’s findings and priorities for local governments. The discussion acknowledged the significant level of one-time federal funding provided to local governments for infrastructure and pandemic relief and recovery. This was reflected in Sundquist’s statement that “the American Rescue Plan funds were an absolute godsend” in the NLC press release.   

The continuance of these local programs at current levels that are supported by the one-time infusion of federal funds foreshadows the upcoming budgetary issue in the coming years. In addition to seeking further federal funding, city councils will also discuss raising taxes and other fees on the private sector in order to maintain a balanced budget and close budgetary gaps created from expended federal funds. The commercial real estate development industry will need to be engaged during these funding discussions to ensure sound policy that avoids unintended consequences.