Monday, December 8, 2008

Creating Public Works Jobs to Rebuild Cities

Today, the mayors of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami spoke at the Conference of Mayors om Washington today to lobby the Federal Government for what they call, "ready-to-go" infrastructure projects that would provide critical city improvements and jobs.

"Over the last eight years, there's been ... an absence of investment in cities, whether it's the infrastructure, public transportation, bridges, highways, schools, hospitals," Los Angeles, California, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference on Capitol Hill. "We are here not for a bailout, but to present a recovery plan."

The news conference coincided with the Conference of Mayors' release of a list of 11,391 "ready-to-go" infrastructure projects that would cost $73.1 billion. The report surveyed 427 cities across the country and includes roads, bridges, schools, city halls and other public works projects. The report says that those projects would create 847,641 jobs.

To read more, click here.

As someone who lives on the east coast of the U.S., I am biased for the Feds to help cities "recover" the infrastructure funding. Anyone who lives in a city on eastern seaboard or in a rustbelt city can tell you that parts of the infrastructure in these cities are old and outdated and would cost billions of dollars to repair. Now I don't need to remind everybody of the calamity that could happen if these repairs don't happen like with the levy walls in New Orleans or the bridge collapse in Minneapolis but fixing these problems now will cost a lot cheap then waiting for the infrastructure to eventually fail.

If the Federal Government were to seriously fund public transportation upgrades and infrastructure it would not only help reduce sprawl and energy but also revitalize cities and create jobs as more people are now more willing to live in cities or closer to cities.


Kirk Mantay said...

Great post!

It's embarrassing that this hasn't been done continuously (if at all) for the last 30 years. Governments' concepts for improving transportation infrastructure have been limited to "widen," "dualize", and "bypass."

None of them can really explain how America is supposed to fiscally dominate in 21st century markets, when our manufactured goods and our employees utilize the transit and highways of the 1950s.

Toure Zeigler said...

I agree Kirk,

For all the talk about globalization and collapsing our world through technology we still plan development and infastructure as if we have endless amount of land.

If you look at the top 10 biggest cities today, you will see that a lot of these "cities" that are now in the top 10 are totally auto dependent. Cities like Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta are so spread out that I don't know even know if public transit can property serve these metro areas.