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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt visited the White House to meet with President Joe Biden on Wednesday to build support for a major bipartisanship infrastructure package.

Holt joined a bipartisan group of governors and mayors in Washington D.C. to discuss the $1.2 trillion proposal that would make historic investments in clean transportation infrastructure, clean water, universal broadband infrastructure, clean power infrastructure, and other investments. 

Mayor David Holt, City of Oklahoma City (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

“I’m pretty optimistic that this core infrastructure package that’s represented by the bipartisan infrastructure framework will pass and hopefully in a bipartisan way,” Mayor Holt said in an interview with the Free Press “We’ll see.”

Holt is among 369 other mayors from across the nation to sign a bipartisan letter urging Congress to pass the eight-year proposal. 

“The mayors wanted to do what we could to push it across the finish line so we had that letter that nearly 400 mayors signed in support of it,” Holt said. 

According to the White House, the Biden Administration believes the infrastructure framework would grow the nation’s economy, improve living standards, reduce climate pollution and create opportunities for economic and racial equality. 

What this would do for Oklahoma City?

Holt said the proposal would provide investments to Oklahoma City’s roads and bridges,  universal broadband access, clean water infrastructure, public transit, and extensions to passenger rail connections.

“There’s this exciting initiative that Amtrak is proposing in the package that would extend rail service north to Kansas,” Holt said. “We currently can only go south and that’s just not the most convenient thing if your ultimate destination is not Texas so that would be exciting and something that we would like to see.” 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework 

The bipartisan plan includes $312 billion for transportation infrastructure, which is more than half of the total amount in the package. This includes funds for public transit, roads, bridges, passenger and freight rail, electric vehicle infrastructure, electric buses, airports, and ports and waterways.

The largest part of the framework includes an investment of $109 billion for physical infrastructures such as roads, highways, and bridges, according to a White House statement. If enacted, this would be the largest bridge investment since the construction of the interstate system.

According to the Biden administration, “the plan is the largest federal investment in public transit in history and the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.” 

The legislation proposes another $266 billion for other infrastructure investments including water, broadband, environmental remediation, clean power, and resilience infrastructure. 

The package is expected to be paid for with unused 2020 coronavirus relief funds and unused unemployment benefits. The framework also proposes public-private partnerships, private activity bonds, and asset recycling to fund the new investment.

Last Updated July 16, 2021, 2:52 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor