How Cities are More Self-Reliant and Proactive than Ever in Energy, Water, Infrastructure Planning

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is planning for both the long-term growth of his city and for the local impacts of climate change. As James Hohmann points out in this PowerPost video interview with Mayor Stanton, Phoenix is essentially “a blue city in a red state”. But as climate change continues to impact local communities, previously adversarial interests are coming together into working partnerships, say, between rural farmers and urban centers like Phoenix. Meanwhile, Stanton and other mayors across the country realize that the continuing federal gridlock begs for stronger and more proactive city leadership to address energy, water, and infrastructure issues at the local level.

“Those of us that watch Washington just can’t believe what we’ve seen in terms of letting the highway trust fund get near bankruptcy level and the unwillingness to invest in transportation in this country,” Stanton says. “Cities have to come to terms with the new reality.”

Check out this video for a discussion about the need for cities to become more self-reliant than ever before and the opportunity to seize this important leadership role.

Phoenix Mayor: Cities adjusting to less federal money for transportation

By James Hohmann | The Washington Post | June 25, 2015

Frustrated by gridlock at the federal level, major cities are increasingly taking it upon themselves to pay for massive infrastructure projects.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) is pushing for an August ballot initiative that would increase the sales tax to finance an expansion of light rail. Historically, he said, a city like Phoenix could count on the federal government to pick up 75  to 80 percent of the cost. He’s working on the assumption that they will only put forward about 30 percent – “if we’re lucky.”

“Mayors around the country realize that the relationship between our cities and Congress in Washington, D.C., is broken and it’s not probably going back to the old days anytime soon,” he said during The Washington Post’s “America Answers” forum Tuesday, which focused on powering cities.

“If we’re going to build infrastructures in our city, we have to be much more self-reliant. Look in the mirror and do it,” he added. “We can sit around and complain about it. We can whine about it. Or we can lead.”

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