Mayor Wu met with Cabinet Secretaries and senior White House advisors to discuss working with the Biden-Harris Administration on key issues
WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, December 14, 2021 – Mayor Michelle Wu today joined nine other mayors at the White House to build partnerships with the federal government and other major U.S. cities. At the gathering for newly-elected mayors, Mayor Wu met White House Cabinet Secretaries to share Boston’s interests in and partnership on key federal legislation, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and the Build Back Better Agenda (BBB).
The three legislative frameworks aim to advance the country’s domestic infrastructure, transportation, and energy efficiency in the wake of the global pandemic.
“Cities across the country are ready to show what’s possible with bold action and partnership,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to collaborate with dynamic mayors across the country and the Biden Administration to ensure Boston has the resources, policies, and community partnerships to be a city for everyone.”
Mayor Wu met with Marcia Fudge, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; Marty Walsh, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor and former Mayor of Boston; Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation; and Gina McCarthy, the White House National Climate Advisor. In addition, Mayor Wu met with Mitch Landrieu who President Biden has tasked with leading the implementation of the Infrastructure Law.
Also in attendance were newly-elected mayors from other major cities across the country, including Mayor-elect Eric Adams of New York, New York; Mayor-elect Andre Dickens of Atlanta, Georgia; Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell of Seattle, Washington; Mayor Jim Ross of Arlington, Texas; Mayor Tim Kelly of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Mayor-elect Justin Bibb of Cleveland, Ohio; Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval of Cincinnati, Ohio; Mayor-elect Daniel Rickenmann of Columbia, South Carolina; and Mayor-elect Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests in some of Boston’s highest priorities and potential projects, including funding to improve road safety, improve public transportation, and electrify school buses. Mayor Wu conveyed the City’s willingness to partner with the federal government to fund further projects in climate resilience and modernizing Boston’s transportation infrastructure.
Boston will receive approximately $558 million in ARPA funds. Mayor Wu has made investing these funds in housing a top priority, as well as in transit, infrastructure, and climate resilience. Boston recently appropriated $8 million for an innovative program to make three bus lines free for a 2-year period, as previously announced by Mayor Wu.
In addition, $115 million in ARPA funding is budgeted to make up for lost revenues through 2024; $81.5 million was previously appropriated for an Emergency Relief Package in July focused on public health, small businesses, arts organizations, tourism, food access and other health disparities.
More than $354 million remains to be allocated through a community-led process to serve the communities and families most affected by the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Wu has identified housing as a top priority for these remaining funds, as well as creating new homeownership opportunities.
Mayor Wu also shared how Boston is ready to partner with the federal government on the Build Back Better framework. Build Back Better has the potential to significantly support Boston’s work to be a Green New Deal city, including in meeting ambitious decarbonization goals, creating good-paying jobs in the emerging green economy, expanding the tree canopy, retrofitting aging buildings to be more energy efficient, and building resilient stormwater infrastructure to withstand more intense and frequent storms.
As part of the ongoing partnership between Boston and Washington, D.C., earlier this month Mayor Wu met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm in Boston on the Secretary’s Build Back Better Tour. The Mayor and Secretary Granholm toured the Boston Arts Academy, a new building under construction that is designed to meet Boston’s carbon neutrality goals.
Build Back Better expands on the City’s recent work toward sustainable growth. In Mayor Wu’s first week as Mayor, she signed a historic ordinance requiring Boston to divest from fossil fuel industries by the end of 2025.
Mayor Wu recently took steps to expand accessibility to public transportation, notably the 23, 28, and 29 MBTA bus routes. Mayor Wu filed an order to allocate $8 million in federal funds to eliminate fares, a motion that has since gotten approval from the Boston City Council. Additionally, last week Mayor Wu announced several new steps to reduce vehicle emissions by accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles and other low-emission transportation options in Boston.
In October, the Boston City Council unanimously passed the Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance. This building performance standard helps put Boston on a path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.