Nutter Makes Case for Philadelphia

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has a date in Chicago today with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team.

Mayor Nutter is one of two dozen Mayors chosen to meet with Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Nutter says it's heartening to be getting such high-level attention even before the president-elect takes office, when it's been hard to get heard by the Bush administration.

Today's meeting in the windy city will focus on urban policy.

The mayor has been pushing direct federal aid for cities facing a series of budget problems.

Philadelphia is one of them.

The mayor says the return of federal revenue sharing, absent for decades, would help urban areas -- where, he points out, more than 80 percent of Americans live.

Last month he delivered a letter to the Treasury Department - that he and several other mayors signed - asking that cities be allowed to borrow some bailout money to shore up pension funds, ease cash-flow problems and kick-start infrastructure projects.

Mayor Nutter says today the group will discuss a number of other issues, including help for the city's pension funds and general revenue sharing.

"Infrastructure is a major issue, and you know that I've been to Washington before, talking about infrastructure, talking about the need for help with our pension funds. 

Energy is a major issue for Philadelphia as well, the retrofitting of homes for energy efficiency -- that will put people to work."

Another idea Nutter would like the Obama administration to consider is to bringing back general revenue-sharing, federal funding that Congress once provided to cities and states.

The program was started in 1972, but was killed in 1987 under President Ronald Reagan. *

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