Washington, D.C.– Massachusetts' Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Boston's Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh met with Trump administration officials this week to discuss potential federal investments in Massachusetts' infrastructure, reports WBUR. Their visit was prompted by "Infrastructure Week," an event by a non-profit coalition of businesses, labor unions, and think tanks aiming to promote infrastructure improvements.
Baker and Walsh planned to meet with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Representative Peter DeFazio of Oregon to discuss financial investments in support of improved transportation. DeFazio is the Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee. The Massachusetts leaders will also meet with the committee’s top Republican, Representative Same Graves from Missouri.
Yesterday, Baker and Walsh were slated to meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation. The meeting will include Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Environment Public Works Committee.
In these meetings, Baker and Walsh aim to secure more federal funding for Massachusetts infrastructure projects. They hope that their bipartisan cooperation will appeal to both sides of the aisle. Even in a heated political environment, infrastructure has potential to be a nonpartisan issue. Baker said: "I do think that having a governor and a mayor — a Republican and a Democrat — both of whom are putting a lot of resources in infrastructure and transportation is a good place to start when you are trying to convince people that this is really something that they need to get done."
Both Baker and Walsh agree that climate change is a major factor for infrastructure investments in the state, particularly for coastal areas. Before they left for D.C., they met with local Boston leaders about different options for combating the impacts of climate change.
Other areas of focus for the D.C. meetings will be improvements and investments in transportation and housing.
Congress is currently working toward a framework for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, but as of yet there's been no agreement on where the money would come from.