FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer made it to the national stage Wednesday, during a virtual meeting with President Joe Biden. He joined five other governors and local leaders from around the nation to discuss the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, passed by the Senate on Tuesday.
Afterward, Mayor Dyer described the meeting as going “very well” and that it demonstrated Biden’s ability to reach across the aisle.
“Mr. Mayor, Jerry, I don’t want you to get you in trouble out there in Fresno, California for letting you know I actually like a republican but you’ve done a helluva job,” said the President as he introduced Mayor Dyer.
Setting political parties aside, Biden and Dyer united over infrastructure.
“We kind of had Fresno in mind, I’m not joking, because of the air quality, where you sit, how tough it is there,” said President Biden referring to the construction of the infrastructure package.
The plan includes funding for projects that will lower emissions and, in turn, improve air quality. The President praised the City of Fresno for rolling out two electric buses last week.
“I understand you have seven more on order, or thinking about it? We got some money for you,” said President Biden.
Mayor Dyer expressed to the President the importance of federal funding for the high-speed rail project, adding that downtown Fresno is slated to be home to the first train station.
“Federal assistance is vital to complete this project and I’m hopeful this infrastructure bill will provide the financial support to us in Fresno,” said Dyer.
Dyer also hopes funding will expedite airport upgrades and create much-needed jobs in the Central Valley.
“This jobs package is going to create good-paying jobs to people to lift them out of poverty. it’s going to provide them with the skills and training they need,” said Dyer.
Biden said the funding will also improve drinking water systems, high-speed internet connections and strengthen the power grid.
“It invests in our power grid so we can avoid these rolling blackouts, so we can avoid the wildfires,” said Dyer.
Reflecting on the conversation afterward, Dyer was pleased to be a voice for the valley.
“To have that conversation with just five other people and the President of the United States talking about Fresno is very unique,” said Dyer.
Now that the Senate has voted on the infrastructure bill, the House needs to approve the package before President Biden can sign it into law.