Kautz Returns to Washington to Meet with Senate Democrats on Infrastructure
By Ron Thaniel
February 1, 2010
With the recession taking a terrible toll on cities and their metropolitan areas, Conference of Mayors President Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz met with the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee on January 27, and urged the caucus to create jobs now by rebuilding the nation's infrastructure in cities and their metropolitan areas.
Invited to speak with the caucus by Committee Chair Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Kautz said, "The quickest way to lead our nation to recovery is to rebuild the infrastructure in our metropolitan areas, beginning with changing the existing investment mechanisms to ensure that federal resources are targeted directly in those areas."
"The current transportation system is not meeting the nation's needs," Kautz continued. "The transportation bill must be written in a way that supports sustainable investments directly in the metro areas, and does not simply send the majority of funding through the states."
Kautz also called on increased federal grants, no interest loans, and the creation of an infrastructure bank to assist cities and local areas with rebuilding aging water and wastewater infrastructure, stating, "In 2008, local government spent over $93 billion on these systems; representing 98 percent of the total investment for that year." And, she said, "The Conference of Mayors estimates that the future projections for local government spending on rebuilding this infrastructure is from $2.5 to $4.8 trillion by 2028."
In addition to transportation and water, Kautz noted, "Other city infrastructure is being improved with funding through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program."
Moreover, she urged the caucus to increase investments in broadband infrastructure, stating, "We must work to ensure that broadband infrastructure is available to every American, regardless of income or location."
In addition to Stabenow, other senators attending the meeting included Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Arlen Specter (PA), Barbara Boxer (CA), Daniel Akaka (HI), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Jack Reed (RI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jon Tester (MT), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Mark Begich (AK), Mark Udall (CO), Patty Murray (WA), Robert Casey (PA), Ron Wyden (OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Tom Carper (DE), and Tom Harkin (IA).