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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The newly formed Coalition for Urban Innovation consists of 14 companies and nonprofits "dedicated to advancing federal policies that make our cities more sustainable and equitable through technology and innovation."

Why it matters: With the infrastructure bill still a congressional work-in-progress, the group aims to tilt money and policy toward smart infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy, reducing the carbon footprint of buildings and the like.

Where it stands: The coalition said in its founding statement that it will "advocate for federal support to reimagine urban infrastructure."

  • This month, the group sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them "to prioritize federal support and investment for urban innovation."
  • Founding members include Via, Sidewalk Labs, the Smart Cities Council, Replica and the Regional Plan Association.
  • "More than 8 in 10 Americans live in urban areas," the group notes. "Cities account for 90% of US GDP, and 75% of CO2 emissions. Yet the major systems cities and urban counties rely on to operate and deliver services have not changed since the Second World War."

What they're saying: "Many of us see it as a generational opportunity," Simon G. Brandler, director of public policy innovation at Sidewalk Labs, tells Axios. "This sort of approach to infrastructure doesn’t come along so often, which is why we are so motivated and organized to see something done."

  • "One of the premises of this entire endeavor is that cities are where the action is, they are where people live, they are the beating heart of the economy," Brandler says. "They are where climate strategies can have maximum impact."

Andrei Greenawalt, head of public policy for Via, tells Axios that the anticipated infrastructure bill will contain significantly more funding for urban public transit — but that there's still a long way to go.

  • "Our transportation system is dominated by the single occupancy vehicle — and has been for decades — and that has resulted in transportation being the No. 1 cause of greenhouse gas emissions in America," he said.
  • "It's resulted in a system in which low-income communities in particular by and large don't have access to affordable and accessible transportation to jobs and other opportunities."

My thought bubble: So far, the coalition's statements are long on happy-sounding goals — it will be interesting to see how much meat they can put on them and how Congress responds to its agenda.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 11, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Pondering Biden's Plan(et) B

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Plan A for the White House is walking into the UN climate summit in Glasgow with a huge new emissions-cutting law from Congress. Plan B is more complicated.

The big picture: It's anyone's guess whether Democrats' reconciliation plan will pass before the summit starts at the end of the month, and if so, whether huge climate investments will be intact.

The rickety state of climate legislation

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Rudy Sulgan and Anton Petrus

The last 24 hours have somehow been confusing and clarifying about the state of major climate legislation at the same time.

Catch up fast: Last night House Democratic leaders, facing a revolt from progressives, put off a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package for now.

Updated 55 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.