US Mayor Article

Toledo Mayor Leads Rebuild America Coalition

By Kevin McCarty
March 20, 2000

Toledo Mayor Carleton S. Finkbeiner, the new chair of the Rebuild America Coalition, told members of the organization March 9 that “We need to stop being ashamed of lobbying for infrastructure projects.”

Finkbeiner shared his views on how he plans to lead the Coalition, which represents more than 50 public and private organizations involved with national infrastructure issues, at a press and member briefing in Washington, DC. He spoke of the need to look for ways to adapt the group’s message to tap greater public support for infrastructure investment. “We can’t use the same messages. We must keep up with the times.”

He emphasized that this approach wouldn’t diminish the Coalition’s support for traditional infrastructure priorities, but he cited the public’s growing interest in public schools and the need for the Coalition to address these issues. “We are all concerned with roadways, and traditional infrastructure issues, but an area I is critical as I begin my service with Rebuild America is the focus on rebuilding public institutions of learning – our schools. They have been overlooked for too long and we’re going to change that,” Finkbeiner said.

Pledging strong leadership on behalf of the Coalition, Finkbeiner said, “I will do everything possible to advance and expand the Rebuild America agenda aggressively.  This is why I am a part of these efforts. We have over 50 public and private members from across the country as well as several state and local chapters across the country. We are working to get the message out that the time to invest in America’s infrastructure is now, not next year, or in five or ten years.”

During his remarks, Finkbeiner praised the leadership of his predecessor, former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, stating, “I am proud to follow in his footsteps.” He also discussed his recent experiences in Toledo with infrastructure investment, crediting the condition of the City’s transportation and other facilities with encouraging the Daimler/Chrysler investment of $1.5 billion for a new Jeep production facility. “Our infrastructure paved the way for this investment,” Finkbeiner said.