Abramson Returns From Meeting With Obama, Jarrett

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson says the incoming presidential administration understands urban issues.

Abramson returned Thursday from a meeting with President-Elect Barack Obama and his transition team co-chair Valerie Jarrett. Abramson was one of a dozen mayors called to Chicago to discuss metropolitan issues.

One of the topics the mayors discussed was whom Obama should appoint to head his proposed Urban Policy Office.

“It is a policy thinker, it is an individual who understands how to put the pieces of the puzzle together in a more efficient way to be able to carry the message in it and create the investment,” says Abramson.

Abramson said the group also discussed the need for a federal stimulus package for infrastructure improvements. The President-Elect asked the mayors for a list of municipal projects that could be started in one or two months if stimulus package is passed, but there wasn’t talk about how big such a package would be.

“Neither the President-Elect nor Valerie Jarrett gave any specific numbers,” says Abramson. “They just said that it was going to be a specific number.”

Louisville’s wish list involves some $600 million in projects, including road and school improvements. He says he’s not sure when, or if, those projects would be completed without federal assistance.