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Abramson, Mayors Meet with Obama Team on Investment in Cities to Spur Economy

Friday December 19, 2008

Meeting took place Thursday, Dec. 18 in Chicago

Mayor Jerry Abramson and other 15 other top mayors met with leaders of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team this week to discuss an economic stimulus package that would create jobs by investing billions of dollars in roads, schools and other city construction projects.

Abramson spent two hours with presidential transition co-chair Valerie Jarrett on Thursday morning at the president-elect’s transition headquarters in Chicago.

Abramson was one of a dozen leaders from the U.S. Conference of Mayors invited to attend. USCM President Manuel Diaz, the mayor of Miami, and USCM Vice President Greg Nickels, the mayor of Seattle, are heading the delegation.

“If our country is to rebound quickly from the economic recession, we must invest in the economic engines of America – our metropolitan areas,” Abramson said. “An economic stimulus in cities will help put people to work, create new jobs and build and rebuild roads, bridges, schools and other projects that serve our citizens.”

Abramson said the President-elect joined the mayors for about 20 minutes. "He certainly let us know there are many challenges, but he is also strongly behind this stimulus package," Abramson said.

The nation’s mayors have delivered to Obama their Main Street Economic Recovery Plan, which details projects in 427 cities that could begin construction within 12 to 18 months. The projects represent $73 billion that would create nearly 850,000 jobs in the 2009 and 2010.

Louisville’s list includes scores of projects totaling $607 million, ranging from widening narrow suburban roads to replacing portable classrooms at elementary schools. If all the Louisville projects were funded, the investment would create an estimated 18,000 jobs.

For a full list of Louisville projects on the infrastructure list, visit http://www.usmayors.org/mainstreeteconomicrecovery/stimulussurveyparticipants.asp

The mayors also discussed President-elect Obama’s plan to create a White House Office for Urban Policy. When Obama spoke to the U. S. Conference of Mayors meeting this past summer, he pledged to create the office to focus on the specific needs of cities.

Abramson testified on the importance of investing in job creation and infrastructure development in cities earlier this year before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.