A new report issued by the U.S. Conference of Mayors is calling for stepped-up federal investment for a variety of urban initiatives, including street, roads and bridge upgrading, as well as public housing construction.
In its Mayors’ Vision for America: A 2020 Call to Action, the group notes that 86 percent of the nation’s population today lives in metro areas, with forecasts predicting additional growth in the future.
“Our cities are ground zero in terms of the nation’s congestion, traffic safety, economic mobility, and transportation sustainability challenges,” says the report.
For that reason, a greater federal investment in urban transportation infrastructure is needed to “make the lives of all Americans better, not just those living in cities, but those who work in them and the communities that surround them as well.”
The Conference report specifically urges Congress to shore up the National Highway Trust Fund so that Washington can “continue to partner with city, county, and state leaders as they work to maintain and expand the nation’s vital transportation networks.”
The group is also pushing for an increase in funding for the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program which it says “supports mayors and other officials in their regions who show how locally-initiated transportation solutions grow the economy faster and deliver more travel options.”
In the area of housing, the Conference report calls for a funding increase in the Community Development Block Grant program, which, it says, “has not kept pace with need over the last several years.”
Another housing priority is the Home Investment Partnership Program, which the report notes has completed “nearly 493,000 units for new homebuyers, over 230,000 units for owner-occupied rehabilitation, and over 464,000 rental housing units.”
By Garry Boulard
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