White House asks governors to name infrastructure coordinators

Associated Press/Susan Walsh
FILE – Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu after President Joe Biden signs the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. As mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu oversaw billions of dollars in infrastructure repairs and improvements when…

White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu is asking states to tap their own high-level coordinators to help implement the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law. 

Landrieu wrote a letter to every governor on Tuesday requesting they name their own infrastructure implementation coordinators, following the model of the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, when a group of state representatives served as recovery coordinators.

“Given the success of this model and the highly integrated nature of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I humbly request that you consider appointing a high-level person to serve as your state’s own Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator,” Landrieu wrote in the three-page letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill.

“This individual would work with your budget team and across departments responsible for transportation, water, broadband, and energy investments to coordinate implementation of the various infrastructure programs, perhaps using a structure similar to the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force created by the President,” Landrieu continued.

Two states have already taken steps to set up special committees to oversee the implementation of the infrastructure law, and Landrieu’s letter encourages others to follow suit.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has established an infrastructure planning advisory committee and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has named three advisers to oversee infrastructure, water and broadband investments.

Landrieu wrote that the Biden administration would look to the network of coordinators for ongoing feedback as the law’s programs are rolled out, should other governors take him up on his request. 

“We know that needs, capacity, and challenges can vary widely by locality. We need to make sure our programs reflect these realities across your state and our country, and having a senior, single point of contact in your office will help ensure that issues get elevated appropriately and rapidly,” he wrote. 

The Biden administration immediately took steps to lay the groundwork for implementing the sweeping law once it passed the House in November. The work cuts across several agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Commerce and Energy, and the investments are supposed to be made over about five years. 

In addition to Biden naming Landrieu as the White House infrastructure coordinator, each relevant Cabinet agency will have its own coordinator to spearhead programs funded by the law that fall under its purview.

Tags Asa Hutchinson Infrastructure Michelle Lujan Grisham Mitch Landrieu

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