Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu To Oversee Historic Biden Broadband Investment

Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in 2018
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (Image credit: Moody College of Communications/Wikimedia Commons)

President Joe Biden has named former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu to oversee the administration‘s massive infrastructure plan, including the $65 billion investment in broadband.

Landrieu will be senior adviser and infrastructure coordinator, comprising historic investments in universal high speed internet access, as well as money for roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports, climate “resilience” and more.

The White House cited his leadership of New Orleans in the midst of its recovery from Hurricane Katrina as well as Landrieu's own build back better project, where he oversaw over 100 projects and billions of dollars in federal funding for critical infrastructure, calling the city one the the nation's great comeback stories.

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Landrieu was also chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and lieutenant governor of Louisiana. The White House said that experience will help him deal with governors and state officials.

The White House also cited his relationships with business and labor, which will be key to infrastructure investments that the administration says will result in millions of high-paying union jobs.

“I am thankful to the president and honored to be tasked with coordinating the largest infrastructure investment in generations,” Landrieu said in a statement. He said he would make sure that the infrastructure investments will both help combat climate change and advance equity.

On the equity front, the White House cited his “powerful” decision to take down four Confederate statues.

Landrieu is the son of former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu and the brother of former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, onetime board member of CenturyLink.

While Vice President Kamala Harris was tasked by the President early on to oversee the administration's universal broadband initiative, it was not clear how she would dovetail with Landrieu's oversight. She has not been included in recent White House communications on the need for universal broadband connected to the infrastructure package's $65 billion investment.

In fact, in a fact sheet issued on the equity issues related to infrastructure, a sheet issued by the "Biden Harris" administration as the White House has called it, there was not even any mention of broadband or its connection to educational or economic equity.

“We wish to congratulate Mitch Landrieu on being selected by President Biden to lead the implementation of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act,” said Mignon Clyburn, co-chair of INCOMPAS‘s BroadLand broadband advocacy campaign and former acting FCC chair. “A local expert, with a national reputation for vision, courage and getting the job done, Landrieu will have the opportunity to help rebuild and renew America’s urban centers and rural communities as we prepare for the jobs of the future. From connected transportation to telemedicine, every job, and every dollar spent under the Infrastructure Act depends on faster, better, more affordable broadband solutions. We look forward to working with Mayor Landrieu to ensure competition and innovation drive the infrastructure implementation to help make ‘internet for all’ a reality.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.