Commentary: Eight mayors – We need a Marshall Plan for Middle America

Source: Mayors William Peduto, Jamael Tito Brown, Nan Whaley, Andrew Ginther, John Cranley, Steve Williams, Ron Dulaney Jr. and Greg Fische. Washington Post, November 20, 2020

Every four years, voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky are told how important they are to American industry, but once the election is over, nothing happens. The United States now has a president-elect who comes from our region originally and is more likely to understand what we need to revive it. We, the mayors of eight cities, are banding together to demand real investment in our shared region, which has fueled the U.S. economy for generations yet never gets the attention it deserves.

It’s why we’re asking for an ambitious federal response to save our industries and communities from destruction: a Marshall Plan for Middle America.

In the post-World War II recovery period, the Marshall Plan was a $13 billion ($143 billion today) investment strategy to rebuild Europe and foster economic and democratic institutions. Like postwar Europe, Middle America faces similar issues of decline — a shared crisis of aging infrastructure, obsolescence of business and government institutions, and the need for upskilling and reskilling the workforce.

We have consulted economic experts about the challenges we face: growing and systemic inequities, a public health crisis and the burdens of climate change. Our shared ideas stem from what we’ve learned.

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