Gov. Tony Evers and Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway at Madison Metro | Evers’ Facebook
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday urged local and city governments to continue to use the $130 billion in funds allocated to them from the American Rescue Plan to help during the pandemic.
The president of the National League of Cities, Vince Williams of Union City, Georgia, introduced the president to attendees of the organization’s Monday conference.
In Biden’s brief speech, he said he was proud that nearly 6,000 local governments were able to directly receive funding to help with job training and reopen schools that were shuttered during the pandemic.
“A big part of the reason we’re so successful is because the rescue plan went directly to you without having to ‘Pass Go,’ without having to go to the statehouses,” Biden said.
More importantly, he urged local leaders to take advantage of the flexibility afforded by the ARP.
“One year later, the rescue plan is still delivering,” Biden said. “So (I) urge you all to use the flexibility we built in the law to spend these funds wisely to reduce violence in your communities, like members are doing in Baton Rouge and Baltimore and New York City.”
He also touted the bipartisan infrastructure bill he signed into law that would help bring jobs and help strengthen local governments’ economy.
“The law is going to create millions of jobs — you’re building Americans’ roads, bridges, highways, ports and airports,” he said.
Biden said that states should use the funds from the ARP to help with job training so that Americans can partake in nearly 4,000 jobs that have been authorized through the implementation of the infrastructure bill.
“Build a strong, diverse workforce to take on these infrastructure jobs,” he said. “So that families in your communities can deal themselves into this booming economy.”
Also on Monday, Biden and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $409 million for 70 transportation projects in 39 states to modernize and electrify America’s buses, make bus systems and routes more reliable, and improve their safety. The grants will help dozens of communities buy new technology such as electric buses, that reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, promote cleaner air, and help address the climate crisis.
“These grants will help people in communities large and small get to work, get to school, and access the services they need,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Everyone deserves access to safe, reliable, clean public transportation – and thanks to the President’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are bringing modern buses to communities across America.”
The City of Madison’s Metro Transit will receive $6.4 million in funding through the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Grant Program.
Under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, an additional $5.1 billion in formula and competitive grant funding is authorized under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program over the next five years – meaning more projects can be funded.
“Transit agencies are replacing aging buses and facilities with newer, cleaner infrastructure that is more efficient to operate and maintain,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Modern buses, especially those powered with electric batteries or fuel cells, improve air quality and help us address the climate crisis.”
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