“Because of the work that the Department of Transportation did, because of the work that [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] did, because of the work that the funders in the philanthropic community have done … we are not just building a transit corridor, we are changing a community,” he said.
In a way, St. Paul’s proximity to its neighbor, Minneapolis, complicates its relationship with federal government entities — the two cities need to coordinate on Twin Cities-wide projects in order to secure funding and bypass the red tape that comes with them. But Coleman said he’s worked well with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and that relationship has opened the door to more cooperation from the federal government.
Coleman is in Washington for National League of Cities meetings and met twice with Obama this week. On Tuesday, Coleman told the president to continue his focus on direct federal in schools and praised the success of the Build America Bonds program that ended in 2010.
Coleman also met with HUD and Department of Labor officials, where he inquired about the future status of St. Paul’s Community Development Block Grants. He said a lot of his focus this week has been on youth summer employment and reforming the way vocational schools and community colleges train the workforce.