Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Boston Monday as part of his plan to team up with mayors from around the country to press Congress for more transportation funding. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
BOSTON - Fighting inequality is the focus of Mayor Bill de Blasio's agenda, and he says transportation funding is critical in helping to close the gap between wealthy and struggling Americans. With that in mind, he and other mayors met in Boston Monday to call on Congress to authorize more money for transportation and infrastructure projects.
"We all know what's happening to our streets. We know that we have bridges that are in real distress. We know what's going on with the overcrowding of our transportation system. It means we can't continue to grow the way we need to," de Blasio said.
The gathering at Faneuil Hall was designed to put pressure on Washington lawmakers. The federal highway trust fund is set to run out of money at the end of May unless Congress acts. The mayors are planning to go to Washington that month to make their case for more money.
De Blasio warned that simply extending the funding at its current level means the country will be falling behind.
"Look around the world at our competitor nations. They are investing in new shiny infrastructure, whereas we're just trying to patch things up," de Blasio said. "It is not a formula for long-term success."
Transit advocates, though, have argued that the mayor, too, needs to do more. For three decades, the city has given $100 million a year to the MTA with no increases for inflation.
The trip was a bit of a homecoming for de Blasio. He grew up in Cambridge and is a loyal Red Sox fan. He even showed off his Boston accent.
"I came wicked far to this meeting," de Blasio said.
"I am honored that Mayor de Blasio is here and that he's a Red Sox fan," said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.
Earlier in the day, the mayors heard from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a progressive like de Blasio who is being encouraged to run for president. De Blasio, a former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign, declined to say whether Warren should enter the race. He said he does not talk about potential candidates.