US Congress Accelerating Smart Infrastructure and Policy Planning
Members of Congress are working together to explore and integrate smart technologies into infrastructure and policy planning. The U.S. Congressional Smart Cities Caucus - led by Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) - is accelerating that pursuit.
On Tuesday, the Congressional Smart Cities Caucus hosted its second ‘stakeholder roundtable,’ focusing this time on ‘Smart Mobility’ where topics ranged from shared and multimodal mobility to public transit, driverless vehicles, and even Hyperloop. Members and industry leaders agree that we need to think differently about infrastructure and policy planning. It is for that reason the Congressional Smart Cities Caucus has partnered with the 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge to identify existing legislative roadblocks and opportunities to accelerate the smart development and growth of cities, states, regions, and industries.
The Smart Infrastructure Challenge, meant to accelerate collaborative efforts and open up accessing to funding for cities and regions of all sizes, is an effort co-led by Venture Smarter in collaboration with a coalition of federal and private sector partners ranging from Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology and the National Infrastructure and Investment Alliance to Context Labs and Smart City Capital. (Announcements about the challenge grants, resources, and financing opportunities will be made on Thursday, April 26th.)
“These efforts to accelerate smart development are less about major cities and large corporations, and more about everytown USA and local businesses looking to use technology to optimize or altogether replace outdated infrastructure and government systems,” explained Zack Huhn, CEO of Venture Smarter. “Municipal and state budgets are strained. However, smart technologies and policies can help alleviate that burden by cutting costs, creating new revenue streams, mitigating risks, and improving the quality of life for everyone. It’s not just an economic development conversation. It’s about community building. Connectivity, mobility, security, sustainability, and workforce development are the pillars of smart planning.”
The 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge calls for regional teams to collaborate around a plan to integrate smart technologies - or IoT enabled systems - into infrastructure planning with a focus on interoperability and resilience. These efforts revolve around the idea that together we can create better places to live, work, and visit for all people, regardless of socioeconomic or geographical barriers, as urban, suburban, and rural areas all look to take a big step forward into the 21st Century with broadband and connectivity enabled solutions.
Rhonda Binda, Executive Director of the Regional Smart Cities Initiative, previously at the State Department, shared a bit about the coalition building that she leads, “These efforts cannot happen on their own, and they cannot happen in silos. Smart Cities, Smart Regions, and Smart Growth all rely on interdisciplinary collaboration among otherwise disparate stakeholders. How can we use technology as a tool to improve people’s lives? How can we bring back Main Street America in the neighborhoods that need it the most? How can we better work together to knowledge share, resource share, and support efforts across peer cities and regions?”
The Congressional Smart Cities Caucus is a bipartisan effort Chaired by Congresswoman Clarke and Congressman Issa, who have already has attracted more than 20 members from the United States House of Representatives to begin outlining a forward thinking strategy and approach to policies that will enable smart city success stories. This is in addition to existing efforts in the House and Senate that have begun to look at similar barriers, and solutions. In the House, we have seen bills such as the Smart and Connected Communities Act. In the Senate, efforts such as the Moving First Act. And federal agencies from USDOT to USDHS are driving conversations and efforts forward to streamline collaborative efforts.
Mitch Kominsky, Chief Strategy Officer of Venture Smarter, and former Senior Counsel to U.S. Senate Republican Leadership on Commerce, Technology, and Transportation believes that creating policy for smart cities and regions must be collaborative. “Improving the lives of our citizens is a nonpartisan matter. Despite policy differences, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are united that passing legislation to improve our infrastructure, create new jobs in our communities, and help constituents become more connected and secure in a sustainable environment is critical to the future success of our nation.”
The partnership between the Caucus and the Challenge will help to connect key stakeholders around new opportunities, to build visibility for local governments and businesses to the fact that they have a voice with our Members of Congress, and that partners at the federal level want to enable and support smart growth for communities of all sizes.
About the Congressional Smart Cities Caucus
Formed in the 115th Congress, the Congressional Smart Cities Caucus serves as a bipartisan group of Members dedicated to bringing American communities into the 21st Century through innovation and technological change. The Congressional Smart Cities Caucus provides a place where Members of Congress can convene with stakeholders from all different backgrounds, including but not limited to: industry stakeholders, state and local governments, and local community leaders.
About the 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge
The 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge calls for regional teams to add a layer of smart and connected technologies into infrastructure planning and relative efforts. Teams have until October 25th to create a project vision and presentation to compete for grant resource, support, and access to project financing.
About Venture Smarter
Venture Smarter is innovating how leaders across industries, sectors, and agencies can work together on smart development and infrastructure projects throughout cities and regions. Venture Smarter’s founders are mission-driven industry experts coming from The White House, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), State Department, U.S. Senate Leadership, technology startups, and other leading organizations.- The company is based in Cincinnati, OH, with offices in NYC, and Washington DC.
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