Biden taps former New Orleans mayor Landrieu to spearhead infrastructure
President Biden is tapping former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu to coordinate the implementation of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the White House announced Sunday.
“In this role, Landrieu will oversee the most significant and comprehensive investments in American infrastructure in generations — work that independent experts verify will create millions of high-paying, union jobs while boosting our economic competitiveness in the world, strengthening our supply chains, and acting against inflation for the long term,” the White House said in a news release.
In Sunday’s announcement, the White House touted Landrieu’s work shepherding New Orleans through its recovery following Hurricane Katrina. Landrieu, a Democrat, served as mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018. He later chaired the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan coalition of mayors across the country.
“I am thankful to the President and honored to be tasked with coordinating the largest infrastructure investment in generations,” Landrieu said in a statement shared by the White House.
“Our work will require strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class. We will also ensure these major investments achieve the President’s goals of combating climate change and advancing equity,” he added.
Landrieu will assume the formal title of White House senior adviser and infrastructure coordinator. The high-stakes role will involve coordinating the implementation of over a trillion dollars in funding across multiple federal agencies, most of it invested over the next five years.
The infrastructure bill includes money to rebuild roads and bridges, upgrade passenger rail, improve the nation’s ports of entry, create a network of electric vehicle charging stations, remove lead pipes from buildings, and expand access to broadband.
Biden is slated to sign the infrastructure bill into law at a ceremony on Monday that is expected to include Democratic and Republican members of Congress, governors, mayors and other boosters of the bill.
The Senate passed the infrastructure bill with robust bipartisan support in August, but the measure stalled in the House for about three months as Democrats tried to resolve disagreements over a separate climate and social spending package. The House finally passed the infrastructure bill on Nov. 5, with 13 Republicans voting for it.
Biden has named coordinators to oversee other major initiatives of his administration.
He tapped Jeff Zients to coordinate the administration’s COVID-19 response and named Gene Sperling to oversee the implementation of the sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan that Biden signed into law in March. He also brought on veteran diplomat Elizabeth Jones last month to coordinate the relocation of Afghan refugees.