Congress will reconsider $1.1 billion 'Smart Cities and Communities Act'

Published: May 17, 2019

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New legislation would coordinate federal agencies to support urban technology initiatives and provide 5 years of funding.

Three members of Congress have reintroduced the Smart Cities and Communities Act, which would authorize $1.1 billion in federal support over five years to local technology initiatives. If passed, this would “allocate funding to coordinate federal ‘smart city’ programs, provide assistance to local programs, support workforce development, and foster collaboration and security measures within smart cities.” It also calls for the creation of a group of federal agencies to form an “Interagency Council on Smart Cities” to coordinate funding and federal efforts to promote civic technology. This bill is almost identical to a version that failed to pass in 2017, although now includes a new section to expand the Department of Energy’s “Technologist in Residence” program. This new bill also seeks to create 17 national laboratories around the county to study emerging technologies that are expected to influence these initiatives.

Although there are a range of technologies that make up “smart” technology, federal agencies have taken an interest in autonomous vehicles and internet-connected devices. Deltek released a report last year on Smart City Technologies, which examined a range of areas in which these technologies are being explored and utilized. These include smart transportation, but also smart and big data resources, citizen engagement, and connected facilities.

Additionally, Deltek also recently released its State and Local Procurement Snapshot – Q1 2019, which touches on these technologies as well. The report covers a range to topics related to SLED procurement, however it also includes an interview with Dr. Alan Shark, Executive Director of the Public Technology Institute. In the interview, Deltek Principal Research Analyst Paul Irby and Dr. Shark discuss several topics related to technology procurement, including the impact of smart cities and technologies on the SLED market. According to Dr. Shark, he expects spending for smart applications to grow, particularly in areas of public transport, public safety, citizen engagement and outreach, healthcare, digital infrastructure, digital services delivery, big and open data, and artificial intelligence.

If this legislation passes, it could bring great benefits to the smart cities movement. Not only would there be the funding allocated, but it also would provide better coordination, exploration, and development of smart city plans and utilization of these technologies. Vendors working in this field should continue to keep tabs on this legislation, as well as other ongoing smart city initiatives, as it remains an important priority for both Federal and SLED governments.

Source: StateScoop