Mayor Says the Infrastructure Bill Is Long Overdue, Needed

WASHINGTON–After meeting with President Joseph R.  Biden Jr., Mayor David Holt of Oklahoma City said a proposed $1.2 trillion compromise infrastructure bill is a long overdue investment.

Mayor Holt is a Republican.

Mayor Holt joined a bipartisan group of eight governors and mayors in a meeting with President Biden to discuss their support of the bill, which would address improvements to America’s core infrastructure.  For Oklahoma City specifically,

The mayor said the money would boost new passenger rail and public transit, in addition to fixing roads and bridges.

“I made the point in the meeting that in the land run of 1889, many settlers arrived in Oklahoma City by taking passenger rail from Kansas, something that you cannot do in 2021,” Holt said. “We had better rail service in 1889 than we do in 2021.  This package proposes to address that.”

Prior to the meeting with President Biden, Mayor Holt and more than 350 other mayors signed a letter urging Congress to support the bill.

“I think that this policy issue (can) be used as an example to demonstrate that American government can be functional again, and that people from both parties can unite around issues like this,” Mayor Holt commented.

President Biden touts bipartisan nature of proposal

During the meeting, Biden told the mayors and governors the bill was a bipartisan opportunity to create millions of jobs.

Most Republicans were not in support of the president’s initial $2 trillion infrastructure plan, but President Biden and several Republican senators brokered a smaller plan designed to make it through Congress.

Biden’s additional “human infrastructure” plan is not supported by Republicans, and will need full support from Democrats.  When asked during Wednesday’s meeting if this two-track strategy would impact the future of either bill, he said no.

“I think it is the only way to get it done … with two tracks,” President Biden said.

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice (Rep., Okla.)  did not respond to request for comment on the new bipartisan infrastructure plan.

Congresswoman Bice voted no on a House highway bill that passed earlier last month, despite the bill containing specific projects for her congressional district.

“While there is funding for several worthwhile highway projects that benefit Oklahoma, I cannot support the reckless spending contained in this bill,” U.S. Rep. Bice said at the time.

Mayor Holt said he appreciated the President acknowledging the role of mayors and governors in the infrastructure discussion.

“Only five mayors in the entire United States were there and, so, it was particularly special that Oklahoma City had a seat at the table,” Mayor Holt stated.

 “As America’s 25th largest city, I certainly think we deserve it.”


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