Mayors ask Congress for more help in rebuilding infrastructure
The mayors of four major cities told the Senate Banking Committee Thursday that municipal governments nationwide need more federal assistance in repairing deteriorating infrastructure. One of them, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, told the committee members that it was “staggering how little the federal government is doing to help cities and states address” infrastructure rebuilding.
Bloomberg also is co-chairman of Building America’s Future, a coalition of state and local officials formed in January to address infrastructure issues. He told the commission that New York alone would need more than $30 billion in the next five years to improve its mass transit system and an additional $23 billion to renovate its drinking water and sewer system. “And we’re not unique in this regard,” Bloomberg said. “According to the [Reston, Va.-based] American Society of Civil Engineers, the entire country needs to invest at least $1.6 trillion over the next five years to maintain and expand our roads and bridges, bring our rail network up to a state of good repair, and construct critical water and wastewater projects.”
The New York mayor went on to recommend that the nation set clear goals and metrics for measuring success in infrastructure restoration, dramatically increase funding, and fund projects based on merit, not politics. Jacksonville, Fla., Mayor John Peyton, who said federal assistance with his city’s planned airport transportation network and septic tank elimination projects would free up more local money for public safety, also said federal money should be used more wisely. “While I recognize that infrastructure needs exceed available funding at all levels — federal, state and local — there must be a more realistic balance and a prioritization for federal investment, and creativity in finding more public-private funding solutions.