Corbett named to panel to shape Trump infrastructure plan

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett has been selected to serve on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Infrastructure Task Force, which is charged with helping develop President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan.

Corbett said he was asked to participate by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, given his experience on infrastructure issues, notably his efforts to develop flood protection infrastructure in Cedar Rapids.

“This is a plum spot to be selected for not just Cedar Rapids but Iowa,” Corbett said. “It will require more work on my part to understand statewide infrastructure needs.”

Corbett said he will seek meetings with mayors and public works officials around the state to get a better understanding of infrastructure needs and to tour facilities.

Corbett testified before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this year during a hearing called “Flood Control Infrastructure: Safety Questions Raised by Current Events,” where he made a case for federal funding for flood protection in Cedar Rapids.

Corbett also noted his efforts helping develop the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, which provides funding resources for building and renovating state buildings, and the creation of the Iowa Flood Mitigation Board, as a member of the Iowa Legislature and as Cedar Rapids mayor, respectively.

The purpose of the recently created task force is to work with the “Trump administration and Congress on the development and passage of the major infrastructure package that President Trump campaigned on and has been promising since his election,” according to a news release announcing the task force last month.

“Mayors are clear that infrastructure today includes transportation, water, ports, energy, broadband and other priorities, including tax-exempt municipal bond, thus the task force will be comprised of mayors interested in various infrastructure sectors,” according to the May 5 news release.

Trump had promised a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was tabbed as chairman of the task force, which will include mayors from across the country. The organization did not respond to requests for a list of participants, but Corbett said he is one of 12 people serving on the panel.

The task force will meet several times between June and December 2017.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the Trump administration would unveil a $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure plan later this year targeting transportation, energy, water and potentially broadband and veterans hospitals, Reuters reported in March.

“Mayor Corbett is the ideal Iowa mayor to represent our state on this task force, not only because he is the mayor of the second largest city in Iowa, but because of his long-term interest and commitment to infrastructure needs in the State of Iowa,” Cedar Rapids city manager Jeff Pomeranz said in a news release on Monday.

The conference is a non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.

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