Updated Nov 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden appoints former New Orleans mayor to lead infrastructure plan

Former Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu delivers remarks at a Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater event on December 3, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Mitch Landrieu. Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The White House on Sunday named former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as the senior adviser responsible for coordinating the implementation of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Why it matters: President Biden is due to sign the bill on Monday, when he plans to tout how the core piece of his signature domestic agenda will "deliver to American families."

Details: Landrieu will oversee funds for upgrading roads, bridges, rail and high-speed internet, among other responsibilities, according to a White House statement.

  • "In this role, Landrieu will oversee the most significant and comprehensive investments in American infrastructure in generations — work that independent experts verify will create millions of high-paying, union jobs while boosting our economic competitiveness in the world, strengthening our supply chains and acting against inflation for the long term," per the statement.

Background: The White House noted that Democrat Landrieu "took office at a time when the city’s recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina had stalled."

  • "He hit the ground running, fast-tracking over 100 projects and securing billions in federal funding for roads, schools, hospitals, parks and critical infrastructure, turning New Orleans into one of America’s great comeback stories," the statement added. "He also went on to chair the U.S. Conference of Mayors."
  • The White House also notes that Landrieu "became nationally known for bringing communities together and making racial equity a chief priority."

The big picture: The House passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill last week after months of negotiations. It passed in the Senate in August.

What they're saying: Landrieu said in a statement that "strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor" was required "to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class."

  • "We will also ensure these major investments achieve the President’s goals of combating climate change and advancing equity," he added.
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), an architect of the bill, said in a statement that Landrieu "knows firsthand the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused on the Gulf Coast, and in turn, this devastation shows the importance, for Louisiana and the United States, of the investments the [bill] makes in coastal restoration, hardening the electrical grid and flood mitigation."

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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