Nashville mayor joins new national group pushing city infrastructure investments

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, seen by some as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, is starting a nonprofit group with other mayors, union leaders and business executives to fund what they call innovation investments around the country, reports Politico. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who is pushing a $5.2 billion infrastructure investment including a 26-mile light rail system, is one of the members of an initial advisory group.

Called Accelerator for America, the group will hold its first meeting Nov. 7 and 8 in South Bend, Indiana, timed to coincide with the anniversary of last year’s election. The second meeting is already booked for February, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Garcetti announced on Sunday that, as expected, he wouldn’t run for governor of California in 2018, writing on Twitter, “I am passionate about my city and my family; both are here in Los Angeles.” But skipping a statewide run now clears him to continue his exploration of national politics — reelected earlier this year, his second term will now last five and a half years due to a change in the election schedule, through 2022.

The mission of Accelerator for America is to provide strategic and educational support in cities, counties and states where there are ballot initiatives for infrastructure funding. Leaders of the group will also look to invest directly in existing organizations that promote jobs and skills training that they believe can be scaled out around the country.

They begin with $1 million in funding, half of which comes from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. More money is expected.

Garcetti, who’ll be chairing the council, said the inspiration for it came from the success of last year’s Proposition M in Los Angeles, which authorized $120 billion for infrastructure investment over the next decade. Its passage contrasted with the failure of the Trump administration to provide any details — let alone launch a legislative push — for its promised $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

…The other advisory council members are: Nashville, Tennessee Mayor Megan Barry; Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin; Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley; Washington State Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib; International Union of Operating Engineers general president James Callahan; Echoing Green president Cheryl Dorsey; Dollar Shave Club founder & CEO Michael Dubin; PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell; CEO Swati Mylavarapu; Social Capital Founder and CEO Chamath Palihapitiya; and HNTB president and CEO Rob Slimp.

All the elected officials involved so far are Democrats, though the group does expect to add Republicans to its advisory council.

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