WASHINGTON — The country’s mayors are prepared to work with the Trump administration on measures aimed at significantly increasing funding for infrastructure projects, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said at the group’s annual meeting on Jan. 17.
Cornett was joined by mayors from around the country to sound the alarm on decades-old pipelines, structurally deficient bridges and congested roadways in need of upgrades during a press conference to kick off the conference.
The Trump administration would be fulfilling a campaign promise if it opts to advance an infrastructure agenda during its first 100 days, Cornett said. Also, a large number of mayors would prefer for federal funding to be allocated directly to their cities and towns, he added.
Cornett, a Republican, and Mitch Landrieu, a Democrat and mayor of New Orleans and the group’s vice president, also emphasized that mayors and local officials view infrastructure as a bipartisan issue.
“Our nation’s highways need work,” Cornett told reporters. “America’s people deserve an investment in their infrastructure. We’re ready to go.”
Cornett also expressed support for the Obama-era TIGER infrastructure grants, which the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded annually since 2009. States and cities have sought TIGER grants to help pay for large-scale projects.
At her Senate confirmation hearing last week, Elaine Chao, Trump’s transportation designee, would not endorse the grants program.
“We like TIGER grants,” Cornett said, adding, “If she has another idea she’d liked to do, we’d be glad to talk to her about it.”
In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country’s infrastructure a D-plus grade.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is scheduled to address the group of mayors on Jan. 17.