Mayor joins other federal, state and local leaders at White House as President Biden signs Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Mayor Greg Fischer joined members of Congress and the Biden Administration, as well as governors and fellow mayors, at the White House today to celebrate President Biden signing the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“This is a once-in-a-generation investment addressing the critical infrastructure needs of our nation, city and state,” the Mayor said, thanking President Biden and Congress members for delivering legislation that will “further prime our economy for a strong, equitable future,” by creating living-wage jobs and “much-needed federal investment in America’s roads and bridges, water infrastructure, resilience, high-speed internet, and much, much more.”
Mayor Fischer, who is immediate past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), said recommendations from the nation’s mayors were reflected in the legislation. And he congratulated former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, another former USCM president, for his new role as senior advisor and infrastructure coordinator for implementation of the historic bipartisan measure.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is critical for Louisville and the Commonwealth, the Mayor said, noting that the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Kentucky a C- grade on its infrastructure report card, which “underscores the need and illustrates the potential impact on millions of Kentuckians.”
While details are still being worked out, Congressional staff estimate the Louisville-Jefferson County urbanized area should receive an estimated sum of more than $100 million dollars over the next five years for public transportation, while Kentucky will receive an estimated share of $4.5 billion worth of formula funding statewide for highways, roads, bridges, and goods movement. “This legislation will deliver on repairs to our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity and safety for all, including cyclists and pedestrians,” the Mayor said, adding that it also will help modernize public transportation in Louisville, “which is critical to the 80 percent or so of TARC riders who rely on public transportation to get to work or school.”
The legislation will provide additional investments to the state to build out Electric Vehicle charging options, the Mayor said, “which is key, given the direction that technology is taking us – as underscored by Ford’s recent, massive, investment in electric vehicle battery plants in Kentucky. This also will support Metro Government’s transition to electric vehicles. And it is critical to addressing climate change and supporting manufacturing jobs.”
The Mayor said the city also expects to make investments in reliable high-speed internet, including ways to provide broadband coverage to Louisvillians who currently lack access. “Closing the digital divide has been a focus of my administration because, as the pandemic has highlighted, connectivity is vital to the educational and economic outcomes of Louisville students and their families,” he said.
Other areas of focus in the legislation include preparing cities’ infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyberattacks, and extreme weather events and delivering clean drinking water for people across the country. “In Louisville, we hope to make investments in our service lines and pipes which, on top of the recent infrastructure grants from Gov. Andy Beshear to MSD and the Louisville Water Co., will truly improve the everyday lives of Louisvillians,” the Mayor said. The legislation also dedicates investment to hasten the Muhammad Ali International Airport’s streak of continued growth.
In addition, he said, the city will pursue new competitive grants established by the Act, including a program designed to help reconnect communities. Reimagining Ninth Street would be a prime candidate for that program, he said, as the multi-lane roadway is a “psychological and physical” illustration of the division between west Louisville and downtown. The goal, he said, would be to redesign the roadway to make it safer and more inviting, including perhaps adding restaurants and stores.
“All of the opportunities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – paired with the plans and proposals we’ve already made for our $388 million of American Rescue Plan funding – will provide an enormous boost to invest in critical initiatives for some of our city’s most pressing needs, including my No. 1 priority – public safety,” the Mayor said.
Thanking Congress for their part in passing the measure, he said the next step is investing in human infrastructure, by approving President Biden’s “game-changing” Build Back Better Act. “As the President has said, it’s well past time to lay the foundation for America’s future by strengthening the working and middle class and restoring opportunity in struggling communities across our nation,” the Mayor said. “The Build Back Better Act will do that, and I urge all Kentuckians to urge passage of this critical measure.”