Yahoo: Here’s What Some Newly-Elected Black Mayors Want From The White House

Affordable housing. Clean drinking water. Transit and mobility.

Those are just a few of the issues that newly-elected mayors from across the country went to the White House late last week to tell the Biden Administration they’d like help with once they take office. In total, some 14 mayors representing cities as distant as Long Beach, Calif., Brooklyn Park, Minn., and Providence, R.I., convened with the secretaries of Labor, Housing and Transportation as well as the White House’s American Rescue Plan coordinator, the director of intergovernmental affairs and the national climate advisor.

Philip Jones, who’s already been sworn in as the new mayor of Newport News, Va., said the Biden administration’s plan to address longstanding racial inequity in federal policy dovetails with one of the top priorities of his administration: addressing transit and mobility. As in many cities, several of Newport News’ Black communities were cut off from essential services and economic activity by the building of interstate highways decades ago. Jones wants a grant under the federal Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program to kickstart a proposed bus rapid transit route that would connect those communities to Amtrak’s recently-opened intermodal transit hub in the city.

“There were things that were done, you know, decades ago that we’re still feeling the effects of,” Jones said. “If you live in the central part of Newport News, you only have a five minute commute, so why if you live in the north or the south should you have a 45 minute commute? And I think we look at the underserved communities. I’m a man of faith, so I believe that the least of us, they should have access to reliable and secure public transportation that is going to allow them to have high paying jobs.”

Written by Keith Reed

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