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ICYMI: California Mayors Urge Congress to Pass President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan

July 21, 2021

As the Mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, we call on our federal legislators to support the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework as a critical first step to reaching President Biden's vision to build back better.

This week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, published an op-ed on Medium urging Congress to pass President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.

"It is clear: the level of need across the Bay Area is vast and local resources are limited," wrote the mayors. "We need federal investments that improve our communities, create good-paying union jobs, and tackle climate change head-on. Metropolitan areas such as our region are the engines that drive the national economy making the nexus between federal investment in cities and national economic progress inseparable. As the Mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, we call on our federal legislators to support the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework as a critical first step to reaching President Biden's vision to build back better."

In the op-ed, the mayors described the importance of infrastructure investments "as the Bay Area recuperates from the COVID-19 pandemic and enters into the ever-expanding wildfire season." They also outlined key provisions in President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that would be most impactful for the Bay Area, such as tackling climate change and environmental sustainability; investing in high-speed and intercity rail; investing in affordable housing, equity and community resources; and investing in broadband.

"These critical infrastructure investments would allow us to continue to move towards more modern, mobile, safe, sustainable, and just cities, and a more prosperous and interconnected region. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a critical first step to invest in our collective future, right historic wrongs, and truly build back better," they wrote.

Read the full op-ed below:

Medium: How a Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan Will Help Our Bay Area Build Back Better
[Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, 7/20/21]

As the Bay Area recuperates from the COVID-19 pandemic and enters into the ever-expanding wildfire season, planning for the future of our public infrastructure will play a critical role in the strength of our recovery and ability to respond to the climate crisis.

It is clear: the level of need across the Bay Area is vast and local resources are limited. We need federal investments that improve our communities, create good-paying union jobs, and tackle climate change head-on. ??Metropolitan areas such as our region are the engines that drive the national economy making the nexus between federal investment in cities and national economic progress inseparable.

As the Mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, we call on our federal legislators to support the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework as a critical first step to reaching President Biden's vision to build back better.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework makes meaningful investments in public transportation; roads, bridges; passenger and freight rail; drinking water and wastewater; clean energy and electrification; legacy pollution cleanup; cyber-attack and extreme weather-resiliency; and universal broadband access. The projects and programs in the Infrastructure Framework represent local and regional interests — big and small — and, together, represent a significant step toward a more just and resilient Bay Area.

A few of the components of this Framework that will be most impactful for the Bay Area include:

Tackling climate change and environmental sustainability: We are particularly heartened to see the wide-ranging investments that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework proposes, including building resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change and set us on a path to a clean energy future, designating $55 billion in clean water infrastructure, replacing 100% of lead water pipes and service lines and $5 billion in environmental justice funds to clean up Brownfields and Superfund sites, money that would address legacy pollution that harms the public health. The bill also includes the largest investment in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in history to build a national network of 500,000 chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities, including $7 billion to bolster domestic EV supply chains.

Projects of regional significance: The framework would provide funding for projects like transit access and express lanes on the Bay Bridge, pivotal investments like Diridon Station in Downtown San Jose — where High Speed Rail, BART and Google's Downtown West development will see transit, jobs and thousands of units of affordable housing converge in the Station Area, and implementation funding for San Jose's ambitious Bike Plan and Bikeways.

Investing in affordable housing, equity and community resources: Federal funding would also provide an opportunity to reconnect and revitalize communities harmed by the construction of the Interstate Highway System. The I-980 corridor, which separates West Oakland from Downtown Oakland, is a clear example of this kind of project. The project represents an opportunity for healing and investment in much needed affordable housing, greenspace and community resources.

Investing in Broadband: Federal funding would provide the necessary investments to advance broadband connectivity and access. Funds to focus on both middle mile gaps and last mile infrastructure and resources, with last mile funding providing support for access to devices; enabling affordable, sustainable connectivity; and provisioning robust digital literacy programs, especially for urban communities of color that have historically been left behind would be put to great use in the Bay Area. Finally, we encourage that future infrastructure bills incentivize high speed (100 Mbps), affordable, and reliable internet.

We laud President Biden and Congressional leaders in their efforts to reach a bipartisan deal, but we know there is more work to do to address the structural racial inequities that were exacerbated by the pandemic, to tackle our housing and homelessness crisis and create a more just economy. We offer the following:

Invest in Housing: Our region suffers from the highest housing costs in the country. Housing is infrastructure. We need federal funding for affordable housing including housing vouchers, homelessness assistance grants and community development block grants (CDBG).

Invest in High-speed and Intercity rail: High-speed intercity passenger rail networks in Europe and Asia demonstrate every day the benefits that Americans could enjoy — sustainable, affordable access between communities — if we increase funding sufficiently in intercity rail. And while we applaud President Biden's inclusion of a stronger investment for passenger rail in the American Jobs Plan, we require a significantly larger investment to meet the scale of our needs from California and the West Coast to the Midwest and on to New England and the South.

The Bay Area has long been on the cutting edge of technological innovation — just as we have led the way in fighting for equity and social justice. These critical infrastructure investments would allow us to continue to move towards more modern, mobile, safe, sustainable, and just cities, and a more prosperous and interconnected region. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a critical first step to invest in our collective future, right historic wrongs, and truly build back better.

Joseph R. Biden, ICYMI: California Mayors Urge Congress to Pass President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/336931

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