U.S. Mayors say local infrastructure projects are ready-to-go: Action Urged on MainStreet Economic Recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation’s mayors led by U.S. Conference of Mayors President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, today renewed their call for a MainStreet Recovery plan during the first 100 days of the new Administration.

In a press conference on Capitol Hill with House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chair Charlie Rangel, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair James Oberstar, Congressional Urban Caucus Chair Chaka Fattah and several other mayors, The Conference released its second report that inventories local ‘ready-to-go’ infrastructure projects – projects that could be started and completed in cities in just two calendar years — if emergency federal funding were made available. Information on these projects has been submitted to the U.S. Conference of Mayors from hundreds of cities in all regions of the country and includes projects in ten different sectors including Community Development Block Grants, transit, highway infrastructure, green jobs, school modernization, public safety and public housing (see details at www.usmayors.org).

Mayors stressed that investing in MainStreet metropolitan economies, which comprise 90% of our gross domestic product and drive the national economy, is the most direct path to creating the jobs and stimulating the business that can begin to reverse the current economic downturn.

In this second installment, 427 cities reported a total of 11,391 infrastructure projects costing a total of $73 billion that would create 847,641 jobs.

“We stand ready to help President Elect Obama and the Congress create sustainable jobs that fix our crumbling infrastructure and promote energy independence,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.

“But to work, we must make sure that the funding is spent quickly, and not stuck in federal or state bureaucracies,” he continued.

“In today’s world, metropolitan economies, which comprise 90% of our gross domestic product, drive the national economy. Washington has bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion and hopes its investment will eventually be returned to the taxpayer. But our survey shows that cities are ‘ready-to-go’ with infrastructure projects that will immediately employ people, support small businesses, and stimulate mainstreet economies. These are real jobs that will bring a guaranteed return on a federal investment in local economies,” Diaz concluded.

This report of city infrastructure projects validates the Conference’s recommendations to Congress for direct emergency recovery funds that cities can invest immediately in job creation, small business activity and lasting infrastructure improvements for Main Street America.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “A year ago, when the nation’s Mayors started talking about infrastructure it was not being discussed around kitchen tables in New York City or anywhere else in our country. Today, it’s seen as a real way to grow the economy because this kind of stimulus is not a one-shot deal. In fact, monies invested through programs like infrastructure generate $1.50 or more per dollar spent. That’s a welcome figure for anyone concerned about balancing a budget, making a payroll, funding needed services or any combination of the three. And Charlie Rangel understands that and is working to help Mayors and the cities they lead get started now. Every city here has projects that are ready to move– projects that have been vetted locally, funded locally and will employ locally. Stimulating the economy in this way will not only leave a valuable asset behind, but will spur real growth.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (NY), who joined the mayors and supports their effort has said, “When Congress develops a stimulus plan, it is very important we do not forget the very hard times our cities are having meeting the needs of their residents. That is why I am meeting the Mayors of several of our major cities to make sure urban needs are addressed.”

“As the unemployment numbers show, the job situation is dire and getting significantly worse. As each month passes, we are reminded of the rapid deterioration of the long-term job outlook for Americans. Our metropolitan economies desperately need help at the Main Street level, and the mayors’ MainStreet Recovery plan is the answer,” said Tom Cochran, Conference CEO and Executive Director.

The first mayors’ report on local ‘ready-to-go’ projects, released on Nov. 14, showed that 154 identified a total of 4,645 infrastructure projects costing a total of $25 billion that would create 261,652 jobs in metro areas. The Conference plans to continue to gather information from cities around the country on their ‘ready-to-go’ jobs projects.

Other mayors joining the press conference were Trenton, NJ Mayor Doug Palmer, Akron, OH Mayor Don Plusquellic, Stamford, CT Mayor Dan Malloy, Dallas, TX Mayor Thomas Leppert, Providence, RI Mayor David Cicilline, Honolulu, HI Mayor Mufi Hanneman and Bowling Green, KY Mayor Elaine Walker.

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