The new nonprofit, Accelerator for America, launched in South Bend today. The group, chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, was developed with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Accelerator for America aims to provide strategic or financial support to help strengthen people’s economic security nationwide. That includes organizations that promote jobs and skills training in communities.
Buttigieg said the aim is to help local governments get programs off the ground that could help solve everyday problems many communities share.
“In particular, the feeling now is that we shouldn’t wait and we shouldn’t look to Washington to have all the answers, the answers are in our communities,” Buttigeig said.
Today’s initial meeting in South Bend was held a year to the day of the 2016 presidential election. Buttgieg said, “The date seemed like a good moment to gather and say, ‘Okay, a year after some profound changes in our country’s politics, what’s actually happening on the ground and where are people finding solutions?”
Garcetti said that by helping communities that are already trying to battle certain problems, will in the long run help other communities solve similar problems with solutions that will work nationwide in both major cities and smaller communities.
“One concrete thing we voted today, on helping ten cities in this country get infrastructure initiative passed in this coming year,” Garcetti said.
The idea stems from the success of Proposition M last year in Los Angeles.
The plan, authorized $120 billion dollars for infrastructure investments over the next ten years in the city. Proposition M sought to increase sales taxes by half a cent starting July 1st of this year.
Revenue from the tax increase in 88 cities in Los Angeles County is earmarked for local projects such as sidewalk improvements and pothole repairs. Other projects include new bike lanes, street improvements, or smoother roads. These are considered the “smaller projects” to obtain some funding through Proposition M.
Bigger infrastructural projects are known as “Operation Shovel Ready”, and include a rail line to Los Angeles International Airport and improvements to already existing rail lines. Part of these projects are funded through a different Proposition, passed in 2008, and that will run until 2039.
The group, made of up of political and business leaders, has amassed a million dollars in funding.
“We’re looking for the best American ideas out there so we can bring business and government together,” Garcetti said, “This is the perfect town to meet in, because we’re so impressed with what Mayor Pete has done in South Bend.”
A second meeting is slotted for February in Columbia, South Carolina.