An Update on Federal Issues Impacting our Region
With Change Comes Opportunity - Report from March virtual luncheon featuring our DC consultant J.R. Reskovac
While many of you don’t reflect on the change of administration in Washington and think of opportunity, the March luncheon was about just that topic. While there are certainly challenges looming for our state, there are also opportunities for us to take advantage of.
It was great to hear our GBSD program is well funded and moving forward for the moment. We will need to be vigilant over the next few months and listen carefully to messaging coming out of the Biden administration regarding this topic.
Senator Tester from Montana is the new Chair of the Defense Sub-Committee of Senate Appropriations and has been a perennial champion of the ICBM mission. The research and development phase of GBSD is funded, so we will need to turn our attention to the defense budget. The President’s budget is always delayed with a change of administration so we can expect that budget to hit near the May time frame. It is our expectation that the defense budget line will remain rather flat in his budget.
We are well aware of infrastructure needs in Wyoming, and apparently, the rest of the country is as well. We expect there will be significant attention paid to this topic over the next few months. Again opportunity can be found in this discussion. Front range passenger rail, broadband expansion, road repair, and other infrastructure-related projects are being discussed and could be funded with COVID stimulus or optional funding mechanisms. We need to work diligently with groups like the City of Cheyenne, Laramie County, and WYDOT to make sure we work through every available program to properly fund our infrastructure.
The big message from today is that Cheyenne has done great, but there is still work to be done. We must look for opportunities wherever they might be found, and sometimes that is in the most unlikely of places.