Fresno gets the spotlight in a national infrastructure event

Aug 18, 2021

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, the only west coast government official featured at the virtual event, talked about what the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would mean for Fresno and its existing or planned projects. 

After years of stalled negotiations, a historic, bipartisan infrastructure agreement advanced out of the U.S. Senate. Last Thursday, five government leaders from across the country joined President Joe Biden for a conversation about the potential impact of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — currently awaiting passage in the U.S. House of Representatives. One of the first speakers was Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Mayor Dyer described Fresno’s struggles with low air quality and high rates of poverty and noted that the proposed infrastructure investment would expedite existing clean energy projects, including electric transit buses and a high-speed rail, and expand the city’s airport. “This infrastructure bill will create good-paying, meaningful jobs, which are desperately needed in Fresno and throughout our region,” he said. “[It would] allow us to build upon those agricultural jobs that we’ve been relying upon.”

The investment would also strengthen the regions’ power grid, which has come under increased strain as California's wildfire season becomes longer, hotter, and drier. “It’s very important that we do so in order to avoid some of the rolling blackouts that we experience here in Fresno as a matter of routine,” said Mayor Dyer.

All cities, large or small, would benefit from the Senate’s proposed infrastructure package. A recent League of California Cities sponsored report found that that upcoming spending on federal, state, and local infrastructure will generate nearly $200 billion in economic activity in California annually and will support 700,000 jobs per year.

During the rest of the virtual event — which was attended by 95,000 people — government officials highlighted other infrastructure-related needs, such as a lack of safe drinking water, reliable public transportation, high-speed internet, and the need for an infrastructure plan that embraces climate resiliency, equity, and sustainability.

The other featured guests with Mayor Dyer were Governor Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba (Jackson, Mississippi), County Commissioner Liz Hausmann (Fulton County, Georgia), and Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. (Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma).