Mayors release ‘Metro Agenda’
Job creation is the central focus of the “Metro Agenda” released Wednesday by the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). To achieve that end, the Metro Agenda stresses a need to preserve federal grant programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, that direct funds directly to cities rather than funneling it through the states.
USCM released the agenda on the opening day of its 79th Annual Winter Meeting in Washington, which ends Friday. Saying that 94 percent of the nation’s economic growth over the next 20 years will occur in metro areas, the agenda contends that “economically, [the United States] functions as a conglomeration of metro economies.” “With unemployment remaining well above 9 percent nationally, and much higher in many of our cities and metro areas, every level of government — federal, state and local — will continue to face dire fiscal and social strains until we find a way to create sustainable jobs in our nation,” the report states.
Along with CDBG, the agenda calls for full federal funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, sustainable transportation investments to reduce traffic, a reduction of unfunded federal mandates and preemptions, and other key federal investments. “This does not need to be a debate about providing new money. As was learned from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, so much more could be done if we simply get funding away from the states and provide resources directly to America’s cities,” the report states. “Through [the 2011 Metro Agenda for America,] we can put people back to work now, and our nation can emerge from this recession stronger and with an economy that will lead the world for decades to come.”
Download USCM’s Metro Agenda.