How Trump could re­build Amer­ica

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

op­po­si­tion to the pri­vate own­er­ship of pub­lic as­sets and, mainly, i mped­i­ments to match­ing pri­vate cap­i­tal with in­fra­struc­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties. While 37 states have some form of en­abling leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tory frame­work for in­fra­struc­ture PPPs, there are wide dis­par­i­ties among states. More­over, many states and lo­cal­i­ties lack the ca­pac­ity to eval­u­ate the costs and ben­e­fits of PPPs – a prob­lem that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama pro­posed solv­ing with a new fed­eral PPP knowl­edge cen­tre.

Ul­ti­mately, restor­ing Amer­ica’s fail­ing in­fra­struc­ture will re­quire what we call “pro­gres­sive fed­er­al­ism”: har­ness­ing the strengths of each level of govern­ment and work­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor to ad­dress press­ing so­cial and eco­nomic chal­lenges.

The fed­eral govern­ment must pro­mote na­tional-level goals; i mpose tough cri­te­ria for project se­lec­tion and rig­or­ous per­for­mance met­rics in con­struc­tion and main­te­nance; and push state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to elim­i­nate bu­reau­cratic red tape and costly in­ternecine squab­bles. From a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive, it should pro­vide ad­e­quate fund­ing for projects of na­tional and re­gional sig­nif­i­cance, and use its fi­nan­cial lever­age to over­come ob­sta­cles and en­force best prac­tices.

State gov­er­nors and city may­ors, for their part, must take the lead in set­ting state and lo­cal pri­or­i­ties, with each de­cid­ing whether to opt into na­tional projects. And pri­vate in­vestors can pro­vide risk cap­i­tal, in­no­va­tion, and man­age­ment ex­per­tise, both as con­trac­tors on pub­licly funded projects and as part­ners in rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing projects.

To sup­port such a process, we urge Congress to es­tab­lish a “Com­mis­sion on Twenty-First-Cen­tury In­fra­struc­ture,” cochaired by teams from the Na­tional Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion (per­haps led by Repub­li­can Gover­nor John Ka­sich of Ohio) and the Con­fer­ence of May­ors (per­haps led by Demo­cratic Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los An­ge­les). The Com­mis­sion should in­clude busi­ness lead­ers and cab­i­net-level rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, like Sec­re­tary of Trans­porta­tion Elaine Chao and Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil Di­rec­tor Gary Cohn. At a time when Amer­i­cans seem to agree on lit­tle else, al­most ev­ery­one agrees that it is time to re­build the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture. The task now is to turn con­sen­sus into ac­tion.

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