By Mark Richardson
When President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit on Earth Day, he’s not only seeking to engage world powers on environmental issues, but to reestablish federal partnerships with Utah and other states.
The president has invited 40 global heads of government to participate in the Leaders Summit on Climate, which starts Thursday.
In addition to reasserting América’s climate-change leadership on the world stage, he wants to help states reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and build a clean-energy economy.
Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Glendale, said federal assistance will be needed to build a new transportation system.
“How do we plan to make sure that everybody has access to transportation and affordability?” Andrade asked. “Because it always comes down to the number one thing, which is cost, and make it affordable so that everyday working families have access and are able to afford these things.”
“How do we plan to make sure that everybody has access to transportation and affordability? Because it always comes down to the number one thing, which is cost, and make it affordable so that everyday working families have access and are able to afford these things.”
Rep. Richard Andrade
Unlike the previous administration, Biden has made climate change a priority, and recently restored U.S. participation in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Many of his climate-change policies are woven into his proposed $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposals, but some critics argued it is too expensive.
A White House fact sheet summarizing Arizona’s infrastructure needs calls for repairs to dozens of bridges, modernizing thousands of miles of roadways and spending billions to upgrade water and wastewater systems.
Andrade also added it’s critical to bring affordable broadband access to all Arizonans.
“Not only in our rural communities, but even within our cities, in our urban areas, many people do not have access to broadband,” Andrade pointed out. “How do we make sure that everybody has it? Improving that infrastructure and making sure that it’s cost-effective as well.”
While 62,000 Arizonans already have jobs in the wind, solar and hydropower industries, Andrade said the number could rise significantly under the president’s program.
He believes clean-energy jobs should come with a union label.
“I am a union member, and making sure that the jobs that do come are going to also have access to being union jobs,” Andrade stressed. “Because we all know that we as union members enjoy the benefits as far as livable wages, quality affordable health care and pensions.”
Mark Richardson is a Producer with Public News Service.
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