New federal legislation seeking to accelerate the development of smart cities technology has recently been introduced in Congress by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Representative Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), and Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.). The ‘Smart Cities and Communities Act’ would authorize $220 million, annually for the next five years, to support the use and deployment of smart cities technologies to replace outdated infrastructure and to improve federal coordination of smart city programs, developing a workforce skilled in smart city or community technologies, and increase international collaboration and trade in the sector.
Senator Cantwell said, “The bill makes technology accessible to local governments so they can make smart investments that attract businesses, create jobs, and improve critical infrastructure while boosting services, livability, and the health of residents.”
As part of the act, The Secretaries of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, along with others would establish a council of Federal agencies – the “Interagency Council on Smart Cities” – to promote the coordination of the activities and funding from Federal agencies relating to smart cities or communities. The Council would be tasked with promoting Federal activities that demonstrate smart city technologies in repeatable ways that can rapidly be scaled, that the sharing of data and best practices, and that encourage private sector innovation. They would also create, publish, and maintain a free online resource guide designed to assist communities and cities in developing and implementing smart city or community programs.
The bill also calls for a regional demonstration grant program to ease the adoption of smart city technologies and collaboration between small and medium to large sized cities. Measures would be put into place to enhance cybersecurity and privacy protections with the implementation of these advanced technologies.
“The chance to build smart communities in every corner of America should be something we can all agree on,” said Representative DelBene.