Mayor Nutter plans to travel to Chicago tomorrow for a Thursday meeting between a group of mayors and President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team that will focus on urban policy.
“I think President-elect Obama is very serious about this. I think he recognizes that 83 percent of people live in a metropolitan area,” Nutter said. “He wants cities to be part of the solution.”
Nutter is one of a number of municipal leaders tapped by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to meet with top Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett on Thursday. He said he will fly into Chicago tomorrow night to pow-wow with the other mayors before the Thursday session.
One of Obama's campaign pledges was to create a White House Office of Urban Policy. Nutter said he expects to talk about how the office will set up, as well as the issues it should tackle.
“I think it could be great for the country, but obviously it needs structure…what is it going to do, how will it function?” Nutter said.
Nutter has already pushed for direct federal aid to cities. Last month he delivered a letter to the Treasury Department – signed by himself and several other mayors -- asking that cities be allowed to borrow some bailout dollars to help shore up pension funds, ease cash-flow problems and kick-start infrastructure projects.
Nutter said he expects to discuss support for infrastructure projects and pensions on Thursday.
“There is a tremendous amount of concern that there is a specific provision and a pool of dollars directly available for cities,” said Nutter of future stimulus efforts.