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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Biden touts infrastructure funding in Milwaukee visit

U.S. President Joe Biden visited Milwaukee on Wednesday to laud a $3.3 billion investment to reconnect and rebuild communities across the country.

President Joe Biden spoke on infrastructure investments for Wisconsin in Milwaukee on March 13.
President Joe Biden spoke on infrastructure investments for Wisconsin in Milwaukee on March 13.

MILWAUKEE — President Joe Biden visited Milwaukee on Wednesday to tout a $3.3 billion investment to reconnect and rebuild communities damaged by past infrastructure projects in more than 40 states. 

In remarks at the Pieper-Hillside Boys & Girls Club near downtown Milwaukee, Biden highlighted health care, education and job access initiatives that aim to strengthen new transit routes, bridges, bike lanes and sidewalks nationwide. 

Many of the initiative’s key projects seek to rectify harm caused by past urban renewal and freeway projects that divided Black and other minority communities. 

“For generations of Black, brown, Native American, Asian American [and] Native Hawaiian communities weren’t fully included in our democracy,” Biden said. “Yet by pure courage, heart, grit, they never gave up. They pursued the full promises. Today, we’re recognizing that history to make new history.”


Wisconsin projects to receive federal funds

In Wisconsin, the initiative awards $36 million in funding to Milwaukee’s 6th Street Complete Streets Project. The project will add wider sidewalks, bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes along the 6th Street Corridor as well as infrastructure to prevent sewage from flowing into Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River. 

The project aims to “reconnect communities” near 6th Street after the construction of I-90/I-43 displaced nearby neighborhoods in the 1960s, according to the White House. 

During his address, Biden said the U.S. interstate highway system built in the 1950s transformed communities across the country but ravaged many Black and brown communities. 

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“Instead of connecting communities, it divided them,” Biden said. “These highways actually tore them apart.” 

The initiative also allocates $1 million to build an overpass connecting Perry Street over the Beltline highway on Madison’s east side and $2 million to develop a safety and quality of life improvement plan for  Milwaukee’s I-94/43 National Avenue Interchange.

Tony Evers at Biden Milwaukee visit.jpeg
Gov. Tony Evers, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley have a short chat while waiting for President Joe Biden's arrival in Milwaukee on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Remarks come as 2024 campaign heats up

Biden's visit follows his fiery State of the Union speech Thursday night and comes one week after Vice President Kamala Harris visited Madison to announce an executive order expanding federal apprenticeship programs. 

Biden took aim at the Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and congressional Republicans for voting against infrastructure funding and floating cuts to Social Security during remarks Wednesday. 

“Ron Johnson called Social Security a Ponzi scheme,” he said. “Give me a break.” 

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Brian Schimming attacked Biden’s economic record ahead of his visit Wednesday, citing hiring issues and declining manufacturing in the state.

“On Joe Biden’s watch, Wisconsin has lost 6,000 manufacturing jobs and 455 dairy farms in the last year,” Schimming said in a press release. “Instead of paying us a visit to brag about his abysmal record, the President should be offering working families an apology for Bidenomics.” 

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President Joe Biden arrives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Biden made multiple stops in the city.

The Biden administration has made numerous campaign visits to Wisconsin in the past year as the state is expected to be a key battleground in the upcoming presidential election. 

Biden last visited Wisconsin in January to promote federal funding for infrastructure projects in Superior. First Lady Jill Biden also stopped in Madison in August to laud the administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative and meet with public school educators. 

“We’ve lived in and felt the decisions made decades ago. Today, we are making decisions to transform your life for decades to come.” 

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Francesca Pica

Francesca Pica is the city news editor emeritus for The Daily Cardinal. She has covered multiple municipal elections and is a leading reporter on Madison labor issues. Additionally, she served as a summer intern for The Capital Times and currently serves as a WisPolitics intern. 

Ava Menkes

Ava Menkes is the state news editor at The Daily Cardinal. She has covered multiple stories about Wisconsin politics and written in-depth about nurses unions and youth voter turnout. Follow her on Twitter at @AvaMenkes.


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