Bloomberg to Obama: Stimulus Aid Should Go Directly to Cities

obama_bloomberg.jpgA face-to-face back in April. Photo: Scoop08.

Yesterday the President-elect unveiled the broad strokes of his economic recovery plan at a DC press event, and Mayor Bloomberg was there to give his response. Bloomberg’s message is critical for the prospects of green transportation in the upcoming stimulus package. Here’s the abbreviated version via Liz Benjamin at the Daily Politics:

I have made the case to his incoming administration that a lot of the resources have to go directly to the cities, which is where these projects will get managed and built.

We’ve said it before and it definitely bears repeating: This is a big opportunity and Obama can’t afford to blow it. If his team is serious about its sustainability goals — and by most accounts the energy portion of the plan is legit — they’ll heed Bloomberg. Directing transportation funds to cities is one of the most effective ways to support transit, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure. The bigger the share cities get, the better. But that’s not what one of the key players, House Appropriations Chair David Obey, has in mind:

Yesterday, Congressman David Obey (D-WI), chairman of the House
Appropriations Committee, stated on National Public Radio that stimulus
funding directed towards transportation infrastructure will be
allocated directly to states to determine how best to use the American
tax dollars.

That’s a recipe for disaster — funneling tens of billions of dollars to highway-builders while starving the agencies that do the most to give people better transportation choices and more livable neighborhoods. On the campaign trail, candidate Obama promised he would talk about cities once in office. Now the inauguration is less than two weeks away. I don’t think it’s too early to say: "Let’s hear it."

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