On Tuesday, August 24th, the first virtual session of the United States Conference of Mayors’ 89th Annual Meeting took place to consider and advance policy resolutions on issues important to American cities. Due to rising the rising COVID-19 threat in America, USCM leaders announced recently that the Annual Meeting would not be able to take place in person as planned. But with the many challenges facing the country, the important work of the Conference must go on. It was in that spirit that the Transportation and Communications Standing Committee convened in a virtual session to carry out its business.
An important part of each Annual Meeting is the consideration of resolutions introduced by various mayors. These resolutions, once adopted, serve as the official policy of the United States Conference of Mayors and drive the organization’s advocacy efforts.
Committee Chairman Denver Mayor Michael Hancock presided over the meeting, which began with consideration of eight policy resolutions under the Committee’s jurisdiction.
The Committee discussed and advanced two resolutions that highlight the need for greater investment in broadband infrastructure. Other resolutions tackle issues like rail, electrification, and engaging community-based organizations in transportation planning. Another resolution, offered by Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix promotes resources to allow Smart Cities to flourish across the country.
There was also significant discussion about a resolution introduced by Augusta (GA) Mayor Hardee Davis about the need for sound federal regulations surrounding drone operations to balance safety and security with innovation.
A full list of the approved resolutions can be found here. Next, they will move on to be considered by the Executive Committee for its approval and adoption as official USCM policy.
Following the debate on resolutions, Committee members discussed the bipartisan infrastructure bill currently moving through Congress. A bipartisan group of 369 mayors have signed onto a letter urging swift action on the plan.
In the meeting, Chairman Hancock thanked President Biden for making infrastructure a top priority of his administration. He noted the bipartisan plan would not only improve roads, airports, waterways, and broadband, but also address climate challenges and promote economic justice. Mayor James Hovland of Edina, MN stressed the importance of prioritizing a restorative infrastructure that leaves no people behind.
The Committee pledged to keep up its work throughout the fall and discussed how they will continue to make their voices heard as the country has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvest and reimagine America’s transportation, infrastructure, and communications systems.