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The U.S. Conference of Mayors is holding its annual gathering in Washington, D.C. this week. One of the topics this year is transportation. Tomorrow, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx will address the group and on Friday, they'll hear from the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation, Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster.
But what do the mayors want from Washington?
Jim Brainard, the Republican mayor of Carmel, Indiana, and Paul Soglin, the Democratic mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, agree that more than any specific legislation, they'd like to see more cooperation between the parties in Congress.
Jim Brainard, mayor of Carmel, Ind.
"I think cities across the country have the challenge to plan in a more sustainable way. We have six decades now of building sprawl in our new areas in this country, and these development patterns are not sustainable financially or environmentally."
"We need a lot less rhetoric in Washington and a lot more discussion of what the priorities are that we need to fund to make this country competitive, and raise the quality of life of its people."
Paul Soglin, mayor of Madison, Wisc.
"We have to put in a commitment to sewers, to public transit, to rail, which is a far superior alternative to the air. We have to worry about the grid, the way we distribute power in the United States. We have to have not just net neutrality, but we have to cross the digital divide. We have to make sure that every child has access to the Internet. And through state legislation which was designed to further private interest, all of that has turned back the clock. We really have a long way to go."
"I've been at this for close to 40 years, through the Nixon and Ford administrations, and Carter. In any case, one thing that made it work were Republican and Democratic mayors, in a unified manner, going to the Congress and taking on the leaders of both of our parties and making it very clear to them, 'This is nonsense. There has to be a change of attitude.'"
This story aired on January 23, 2014.
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