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Mayor Mufi Hannemann today provided an update on his recent trip to Washington and work with the Hawaii Council of Mayors, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Hawaii congressional delegation and Obama administration regarding the nation’s economic recovery.


It is unusual for all a state’s mayors to be members of the USCM, and Hawaii is very fortunate to have such thorough representation on the august body, said Mayor Hannemann, who serves on the USCM advisory board.


Hawaii’s mayors worked very hard with colleagues from around the country to make sure the infrastructure needs of our cities, counties and metropolitan areas are clearly understood by decision-makers in Washington who are moving forward with plans to stimulate the nation’s economy,” said Mayor Hannemann.


The USCM reported that in 641 cities of all sizes in all regions of the country, a total of 15,221 local infrastructure projects are “ready to go.”  These projects represent an infrastructure investment of $96,638,419,313 that would be capable of producing an estimated 1,221,677 jobs in calendar years 2009 and 2010. These are the cumulative totals of projects, required funding, and jobs to be created that have been reported in the three surveys of cities conducted by the Conference of Mayors.


With over 85 percent of people in the United States living in our nation’s cities and metro areas who are increasingly concerned with the state of America’s economy, the mayors believe their MainStreet Economic Recovery plan responds to President Obama’s goal of creating millions of new jobs to spur the national economy.


The USCM is urging that Congress include no less than $8 billion nationwide for Community Development Block Grants, which can be used by cities for infrastructure and economic development projects that create jobs almost immediately and produce lasting positive impacts. Honolulu typically receives about $8 million per year through the CDBG program.


The mayors also requested $3.5 billion for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, which provide a mechanism to fund renewable energy technologies, building retrofits, distributive energy technologies and community energy efficiency projects.


The USCM is also requesting that federal highway funds be distributed under the existing, authorized Surface Transportation Program. Without the program’s sub-allocation to metropolitan and local areas, cities and counties will have no assurance that they will actually receive funds for “ready-to-go” projects that address congestion and critical deferred maintenance.


The mayors urged Congress to reestablish a water and wastewater program that provides money directly to metropolitan areas through grants or no-interest loans, and to remove a cap on funding for Community Oriented Policing Services that limits spending to $75,000 per officer over three years. Removing the limit would help some cities ensure that needed officers are hired and retained during this economic crisis.


The mayors also voiced their support for increased funding by the National Endowment for the Arts to recoup and prevent job losses in the nonprofit community arts sector.


Mayor Hannemann, Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho met with Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to provide additional details specific to Hawaii. The mayors also met with Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka and Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono.


Kenoi, Carvalho and Maui Mayor Charmane Tavares are members of the USCM Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee, chaired by Mayor Hannemann.


“I’m very pleased that all Hawaii’s mayors are represented on this panel, which takes action on issues related to the travel industry that is so important to Hawaii’s economy and to many other cities,” Mayor Hannemann said.


The USCM has developed a 10-point plan to guide the new President and Congress in addressing issues that affect Americans. The plan calls for:


·       Creation of Energy Block Grants to facilitate climate protection;

·       Funding to help police fight crime;

·       Increased funding for Community Development Block Grants;

·       Creation of a National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to address the critical shortage of affordable housing;

·       Funding increases and tax incentives and other measures to support the rebuilding and modernization of infrastructure;

·       Reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act and full funding for job training and other efforts to promote a competitive workforce;

·       Reinforcing parental involvement and community interaction with schools;

·       Funding and support for first responders, transit security, and comprehensive immigration reform, to improve homeland security;

·       Increased federal support for tourism and the arts;

·       A stronger federal-local partnership that restricts Congress’ ability to impose unfunded mandates and preempt local authority.


Mayor Hannemann headed the committee’s 2008 Action Forum on Arts –one of five USCM subject forums—which produced an action agenda that includes support for tourism and the arts, and calls for the creation of a Cabinet-level Secretary of Culture and Tourism charged with forming a national policy for arts, culture and tourism.


Mayor Hannemann is also co-chair of a special task force working to support Chicago’s proposal to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USCM announced plans for cities across the nation to sponsor Olympic Day sporting events in June to support and raise public awareness about Chicago’s proposal, and to work with sister cities in other nations to urge their support.


Chicago is competing with Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro to host the games. The International Olympic Committee will announce its final selection in October 2009.


The Games are expected to boost the nation’s travel industry substantially and draw international attention to Chicago and other U.S. cities. The Games will also provide an opportunity to inspire young people in cities across the country and around the world to participate in sports.


The USCM is also creating an Urban Youth Sports Initiative to promote healthy sports activities and combat childhood obesity, especially in cities.


As chairman of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee, Mayor Hannemann also helped present annual Leadership in the Arts awards on Jan. 17 to four individuals who have made outstanding contributions to American art and culture.


            The award winners and specific awards are:


  • Greg Nickels, Mayor of Seattle, 2009 National Award for Local Arts Leadership;
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, 2009 National Award for State Arts Leadership;
  • Kerry Washington, national award-winning actress, 2009 Artist Citizen Award;
  • Hill Harper, accomplished film, television and stage actor; 2009 Artist Citizen Award.


The Leadership in the Arts awards are sponsored each year by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts. The awards recognize outstanding contributions to the arts by public and officials, private organizations and individuals.




Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 527-6928