By Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens
Atlanta has a proud legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement. Throughout our history, Atlantans from Martin Luther King, Jr. to the trailblazers of Sweet Auburn not only helped birth the modern movement to create justice for all but had a laser focus on economic empowerment for everyone
When I ran for mayor, I made a commitment to end the tale of two cities in Atlanta. I promised to fight for an economy that grew in a balanced way, so that workers could get trained for family-sustaining jobs, small businesses could participate in our city’s growth and all of Atlanta could rise together. More plainly, I wanted to ensure that Atlantans from all backgrounds have a shot at fully participating in Atlanta’s economy.
Atlanta is one of the most diverse cities in America, so the economic mobility of all Atlantans is of extraordinary importance to me. It matters to President Joe Biden, too. In fact, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have proven this time and again by delivering federal resources. Thanks to the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Inflation Reduction Act, American Rescue Plan, and executive orders signed by the president, historic investments are being made in cities like Atlanta – and everybody has a shot at participating and benefiting from these investments.
This month, Vice President Harris joined me in Atlanta to celebrate federal dollars coming to electrify Atlanta-area school buses. We’re moving away from the hazardous fumes of diesel school buses, which are disproportionately used in underserved communities, toward cleaner energy that’s better for the environment and better for our children’s health. And with these investments, we’re ensuring Atlantans in all zip codes have access to apprenticeships and good-paying job opportunities.
These investments are just the beginning when it comes to ensuring all of Atlanta participates in our economy. Within days of taking office, President Biden signed an executive order which requires the federal government to live up to the Justice 40 Initiative. Justice 40 is an effort to ensure that at least 40 percent of certain federal investments go to communities that have faced a disproportionate burden of environmental harms and pollution. That means more improvements and more jobs in our communities.
Plus, thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration working alongside Sen. Ossoff, Sen. Warnock and Rep. Williams, Atlanta will receive $30 million to improve safety along Pryor Street and Center Avenue through the Safe Streets and Roads for All Program. This program will allow the city to hire workers from our communities to build protected bike lanes and pedestrian facilities, making the area safer and more accessible while connecting the Southside and the Southside Beltline. This is in addition to $40 million delivered to upgrade Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and millions of American Rescue Plan funds the City has already put to work on pre-arrest diversion services, combatting homelessness, job training and so much more.
We have a lot more work to do before every family in Atlanta has the same access to economic mobility, but change is happening right now – and a lot of that progress is due in large part to the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration.
Here’s the bottom line: as mayor, my job is to show up and deliver. President Biden and Vice President Harris make that job easier – they are providing the resources to create jobs, contract with women and minority-owned firms, and make real improvements in our communities. In the cradle of the civil rights movement, we’re benefitting from allies in the White House who are laser focused on economic empowerment.