Whaley leads campaign for Infrastructure Bill – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

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Nan Whaley on Tuesday launched another campaign in addition to the one she is leading to become the next governor of Ohio.

She is the new president-elect of the United States Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan movement of city leaders from across the country, and with that title comes the work of leading the fight for federal funding.

“This plan represents the largest long-term investment in American infrastructure in nearly a century. But it’s really important that we get that right, ”Whaley said.

Speaking to a few hundred civic leaders gathered in Columbus, Whaley told them the organization is used to tackling difficult issues at the national level.

It was founded in the depths of the Depression in 1932 and prompted Congress to provide direct aid to cities to cope with the catastrophic economy.

Going forward almost 90 years later and the call for help is about the same. Cities asked Congress last year to provide financial assistance during the COVID crisis and once again Washington has succeeded.

Now, Whaley said, President Biden and a group of Republican senators have agreed on a framework for the new infrastructure bill and the Conference of Mayors will push for its passage.

Dayton City Commissioner Chris Shaw is one of the local leaders attending Tuesday’s event.

Shaw said passing the bill is very important to the nation and especially Dayton as well.

“It is extremely important that we have this investment. It’s a good opportunity for that if we can do something in Washington, ”said Shaw.

The sticking point on the infrastructure bill is where to draw the line on what should be included. Democrats and Republicans go through the initial list of features and seem to agree on what should be remembered.

Roads and bridges, check. Water and sewer, check. The expansion of broadband Internet service, perhaps. Additional child care support for working families and more is at stake.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein remains optimistic, telling WHIO-TV, “I’m fifty-fifty right now, hoping they broaden this infrastructure bill enough where the center of the country that has really suffered from the scourge and the loss of development an opportunity to make up for some of this loss.

Another item on the infrastructure bill list that Whaley is calling for is the return of passenger rail service to Ohio.

An Amtrak plan would bring passenger rail transportation back to the Miami Valley for the first time since the late 1970s. Whaley supports it. “Passenger rail transport is a very big problem,” Whaley said. “We see this opportunity to really connect the cities of Ohio through the Amtrak plan, but also to connect the whole country. ”

If Amtrak gets the green light to restore service to Ohio, rail upgrades would take years and the first trains wouldn’t run for ten years or more.

As Whaley continues her bid for governor, she will also devote some of her time to her new role of leading the U.S. Conference of Mayors and pushing for passage of the infrastructure bill.

The organization sent a letter to the White House on Tuesday to express support for the plan, listing 369 mayors of the 50 states now supporting the bill.

In response, President Biden said on Twitter, “Today the United States Conference of Republican and Democratic Mayors Across the Country announced their support for our bipartisan infrastructure deal. Mayors and governors know we have to get there. ”

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