65 former governors, mayors back bipartisan infrastructure deal
A group of former governors and mayors endorsed the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal on Wednesday, hailing the legislation as “the largest long-term infrastructure investment in nearly a century.”
“As former elected Mayors and Governors, we understand how crucially important it is to improve and modernize America’s infrastructure,” the group of 65 former leaders wrote in a statement first reported by Axios.
“The country and Congress have been debating for years the need to update and invest in vital projects, so we are pleased that both Democratic and Republican Senators have come together to propose the largest long-term infrastructure investment in nearly a century,” the group continued.
Among the leaders who signed onto the statement are former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman (R), former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbit (R) and former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D).
President Biden last month announced that the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill reached an agreement for an infrastructure deal, following months of negotiations.
The specific initiatives in the package, which are expected to cost $1.1 trillion over eight years, are still being determined. Senators have been at odds in recent weeks over how to finance the provisions.
Senate Republicans have warned that a Wednesday vote to proceed to debate on the measure set by Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is doomed to fail, as they are unwilling to move forward until differences have been hammered out.
Democrats are also putting together a separate $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package for their infrastructure plan, which will include proposals related to climate change, child care and a number of other issues.
Republicans are opposed to that measure, but Democrats are hoping to use special budget rules that will prevent the legislation from being blocked by a filibuster and allow it to pass on a party-line vote.
The former governors and mayors praised the bipartisan framework for its “policy and funding solutions for our most pressing problems and challenges.”
“Americans need improved roads and bridges, broadband, transit, energy, water systems, and climate solutions — and we need to be designing and building for the future,” they wrote.
They also commended the package for initiatives that will support projects on a regional and national level which “would not otherwise receive funding.” The group called those initiatives “an idea long overdue.”
“We know first-hand the overwhelming need for improvement,” they said.
“We can give you examples from across the country, in our cities and states, of worthy projects postponed or cancelled for a lack of funding and imagination. We now must build a 21st century infrastructure to support a 21st century economy,” they added.
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