Milwaukee Aldermen Joe Davis, Sr. and Robert J. Bauman of the Milwaukee Common Council touted President Barack Obama’s $447 billion “American Jobs Act” which could bring millions of dollars to the city for improvements to infrastructure and transportation systems.
Davis, who last week attended a White House briefing about the Jobs Act that included remarks from President Obama, said city projects will be submitted for funding under the Jobs Act, and funding awards will be based on merit alone.
“Milwaukee and other cities will apply directly for infrastructure funding – it won’t be allocated to the state and then be doled out to local governments like in the past,” said Alderman Davis during a Tuesday news conference in the City Hall rotunda. Davis is chair of the National League of Cities (NLC) International Council.
“This is about getting Milwaukee working again on valuable and much needed infrastructure work, and without adding a dime to the deficit,” Davis said.
Bauman, chair of the Public Works Committee, has championed increased capital spending investments in city infrastructure, including introducing a budget amendment to significantly increase 2012 capital spending to repair streets, sidewalks and alleys, and to preserve vacant and abandoned foreclosed homes.
“We have an opportunity to make significant investments that will improve our infrastructure and put dollars into the local economy and put local contractors and workers back on job sites,” Bauman said. “And the price of infrastructure investments now is miniscule compared to the price that could be paid down the road for inaction.”
President Obama’s American Jobs Act will create jobs using ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The president has urged Congress to pass the measure right away to get the economy moving. The plan would create incentives for small businesses to hire and grow from now into 2012.
The plan would initiate investments that would prevent layoffs of as many as 280,000 teachers, provide opportunities for long-term unemployed veterans, and put Americans to work rebuilding roads, railways, bridges, and schools in need of repair.
The plan also allows for the most sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance system in 40 years to help those without jobs transition to the workplace.
The payroll tax cut would be expanded under the Jobs Act, cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. This provision will provide a tax cut of $1,500 to the typical family and be fully paid for as part of the President’s long-term deficit reduction plan.
Approximately $10 billion would go towards establishing an independent, professionally-managed institution that provides credit support to qualified infrastructure projects of regional and national significance, making transparent merit-based investment decisions based in part on the infrastructure projects’ ability to repay.
There would be $50 billion of immediate investments in transportation infrastructure, including $27 billion for highway systems, $9 billion for transit systems, and $2 billion for airport improvement grants. The highway and transit funds will benefit localities throughout the country; a significant percentage of highway funds will be programmed directly at the local level and most transit funds will be allocated to local-level transit authorities. Similarly, the competitive airport improvement grants will be primarily allocated to local airports. TIGER and TIFIA funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to eligible entities, including local governments. Eligible projects will include highways, public transportation, rail and port infrastructure.