Utah: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall Helped Residents with Water Conservation Efforts

Utah: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is helping Salt Lake City residents conserve water with an innovative new tool that calculates how much water homeowners need to maintain their landscapes. Utilizing software developed by Utah State University, the city’s Department of Public Utilities will provide WaterMAPS reports to residents to help them reduce water usage and save dollars as the city continues to grapple with drought conditions.

The reports consider water meter data, local weather, and a property’s plant types to offer a Landscape Irrigation Ratio, which tells residents how much water they need to sustain their landscape rather than how much they actually need.

Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones Released Plan of American Rescue Plan Funding to Improve Street Safety

Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones released a new map outlining the timeline and breakdown of recently appropriated American Rescue Plan Act funding to improve street conditions and safety throughout the city. The roadmap utilized data to identify 10 hot-spot intersections and corridors in need of repavement and safety enhancements. Construction and improvements will be made over the next several years.

The City will spend $3.5 million to address intersections of interest. Much of this funding will repave and repaint around 32 miles of city streets.

Maryland Senator Antonio Hayes Secures Funding for West Baltimore Revitalization Programs

Maryland: Senator Antonio Hayes helped secure funding to invest in and revitalize West Baltimore. The state’s budget will provide over $11 million to the area’s Development Authority, which will strategically invest the new funding to build on recent support provided to local businesses. Around $10 million of the funding package will be used for community grants and $1 million will go toward hiring staff for the authority. Hayes sponsored the original legislation creating the authority as well as legislation to expedite the appropriation process and send out grants to spur economic growth and create jobs.

Mayors Kate Gallego & Ron Nirenberg Lead Initiatives to Protect Communities from Extreme Heat

In a summer of record temperatures, state and local leaders are working to keep residents safe in the scorching heat. For NewDEAL Leader and Phoenix, AZ, Mayor Kate Gallego, innovative solutions like city-wide cooling centers and regular water distribution help to curb the impacts of extreme heat for the most vulnerable community members. Collaboration with the federal government and local nonprofits has been instrumental in getting citizens, including those who live in homeless encampments, out of the streets and inside. Phoenix boasts over 60 cooling centers that provide shelter for those facing housing insecurity. “But my goal would be to get people inside in air-conditioned environments,” Gallego said of Phoenix’s long term plans.

In San Antonio, TX, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, a NewDEAL Leader, has fought to maintain local control as the Republican-controlled state legislature undermines safety initiatives that would protect workers from extreme heat. But there’s hope at the national level, Nirenberg noted in an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation. Last week, at a virtual convening with Mayors Gallego, Nirenberg, and others, President Biden announced a $7 million spending plan from the Inflation Reduction Act for improved heat forecasting and a $152 million plan from the 2021 Infrastructure law for climate infrastructure in the southwest. “We’re certainly grateful for a president now that’s treating this heatwave with the urgency that I think is necessary,” Nirenberg said.


New Democrat Coalition Releases Economic Opportunity Agenda

This week, the Congressional New Democrat Coalition released their Economic Opportunity Agenda, a comprehensive policy plan that outlines how Congress and the Biden Administration can continue cutting costs for families and growing the middle class. Much of the agenda is focused on effectively implementing federal legislation like the CHIPS and Science Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Inflation Reduction Act.

The agenda identifies eight key issue areas where Congress can make progress, including permitting reform to streamline the construction of clean energy infrastructure, eliminating discriminatory zoning practices to encourage affordable housing construction, passing a Farm Bill that helps produce more affordable, high-quality food in America, and much more. “New Dems remain committed to working with the Biden Administration and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common ground on policies that will continue lowering costs and creating a strong economy that empowers all Americans to succeed,” the group’s leadership said. For more on the Economic Opportunity Agenda, see Semafor’s coverage.


Rhode Island Brett Smiley Directs $3 Million Grant for Building Resilience in Non-Profits Serving Underserved Providence Communities Program

Providence: Rhode Island Mayor Brett Smiley announced $3 million in grants for the Building Resilience in Non-Profits Serving Underserved Providence Communities program. This grant will help the grantees improve and expand their impact, including key social and behavioral services, employment opportunities, and more. “These grants are a long-term investment that will help prepare our community organizations become more resilient in future disasters and ensure residents can still have access to quality services,” Smiley said.


Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson Initiates Road Safety Study with Federal Funds

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson is partnering with the federal government and county to improve road safety in the city with a $400,000 grant. Johnson has called for more bicycle lanes and street improvements, noting they create connectivity between neighborhoods, and has previously announced plans to invest in 50 miles of protected bicycle lanes. This study will examine potential traffic-calming methods and whether shared bus-bike lanes will prove to be safer and effective.


Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks Supports Construction and Renewal in Overlooked Areas

Maryland: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is using a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to support construction and renewal in historically overlooked parts of the county. With what Alsobrooks noted is the first RAISE grant the county has ever received, these efforts will include providing “cyclists and pedestrians an alternative to highway travel and will also provide convenient access to the new regional hospital in downtown Largo,” as well as to schools and regional parks. The Blue Line will receive construction, making transportation easier for commuters. “Equitable transportation is a critical aspect of a just and thriving society as it enables individuals to participate fully in social, economic and civic life,” added Alsobrooks. Overall, the efforts will make transportation more equitable for disenfranchised communities.

Delegate Brooke Lierman: New Infrastructure Plans Rolling Out

Following the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, NewDEALers are poised to lead in directing investments to long-overdue projects that will impact the economic vitality of their communities. Many NewDEAL Leaders are already taking action on these priorities. Delegate Brooke Lierman’s Maryland Transit Safety & Investment Act overcame a gubernatorial veto and is set to eliminate the state’s $2 billion public transportation maintenance backlog by spending nearly half a billion dollars each year for repairs and enhancements. In Nevada, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft celebrated the groundbreaking of a long-awaited bridge project which first received federal funding in the 1990s. “This bridge is an important transportation element and it is also critical for emergency responders,” Naft said. Elsewhere, the Boston Council approved newly-elected Mayor Michelle Wu’s $8 million plan for three of the city’s bus lines to go fare-free, an important step towards making the city’s transportation equitable and accessible. The program will utilize federal funding, and early numbers suggest that ridership will be significantly boosted by the measure.

Councilmember Raul Campillo: Connecting Seniors to Affordable Transportation

Recently, San Diego City Councilmember Raul Campillo announced the launch of the FACT pilot program, or Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation, in coordination with local community groups. The program will subsidize rides for seniors who do not have access to cars, allowing them to get basic needs like groceries and medical prescriptions, with charges of $2.50 for rides shorter than 5 miles and $10 dollars for rides longer than 20.1 miles. Read more info about the program, which local senior centers praised as a great improvement to the quality of life for seniors in the community.