Local, state mayors stress need for passage of $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan

Georgia mayors supporting the Biden Administration’s $1.2 billion infrastructure plan said Thursday the proposal is about more than fixing roads and cleaning up rivers.

The funding will help address inequities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, including the lack of access to the Internet for education and the impact reduced transportation options had on Americans’ ability to get to work.

“It is about saving lives and ensuring that we have infrastructure in place that allows Americans to thrive,” said East Point Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham.

During a press conference put on by the Georgia Municipal Association, the mayors of Augusta, Brunswick, Columbus, Union City and East Point each stressed the need for funding to fix aging water pipes, overhaul highways and expand transportation alternatives, such as electric buses.

The push comes as Biden has taken the plan on the road nationally, pitching it as a bipartisan deal that takes on crumbling bridges and outdated wastewater treatment systems.

“As we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to look towards the future and make long-term investments in America,” Vince Williams, Union City’s mayor and GMA president, said during the virtual meeting.

The mayors said many of the problems are universal, affecting the state’s bigger cities and its rural communities — especially the lack of broadband services.

“We need broadband to all our cities, small cities and rural cities,” Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey said. “This pandemic pointed out … that some of our kids don’t have connectivity. And they lagged behind.”

And even when the Internet is available, not everyone can get it, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said.

“We have some areas in our community that even though the Internet service is available, it is not affordable,” he said.