Detroit Showed What ‘Build Back Better’ Can Look Like

Possible Impossible buttons

The city’s 2013 bankruptcy ushered in a new era of problem-solving that could be a model for a national infrastructure push, says one philanthropic leader.

May 10, 2021
Rip Rapson - Bloomberg

American cities stand at a precipice. Burdened by an overwhelming public health crisis, drained of resources by economic stagnation and torn apart by racial injustice and unrest, cities are confronting the reality that conventional formulas of municipal finance and practices of working cannot sustain our urban places.

The significance of this moment was not lost on the Biden-Harris administration, which quickly advanced an ambitious mandate commensurate with the challenge: a domestic Marshall Plan called Build Back Better. Already, the first prong — the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — has helped shore up city budgets, restore desperately needed funding for public transportation and keep businesses open and families in homes. The second leg, the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, represents a bold shift from short-term recovery to long-term transformation.



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