President Trump’s calls for making massive investments in infrastructure projects across the country were a staple of his 2016 campaign. After taking office, his transportation team highlighted how public-private partnerships could help fund Trump’s proposed $1 trillion worth of infrastructure improvements.
But Trump has reportedly changed his mind. The Washington Post reports, “President Trump told lawmakers this week that he was abandoning a key element of his planned $1 trillion infrastructure package, complaining that certain partnerships between the private sector and federal government simply don’t work.”
President Trump is wrong about public-private partnerships and his reversal is bad news for Southern California and the rest of the country. America does have infrastructure woes, but the problems aren’t always insufficient spending. Far too much infrastructure “investment” goes to projects with high political value — like new rail projects that come with ribbon-cutting ceremonies — but offer low value for mobility and the economic opportunities that come with it.
Sound infrastructure investments that make it easier for people to get to work, deliver goods, start businesses and make our economy more productive are the real need.
And that’s where private investment can make a real difference. Private investors won’t fund “bridges to nowhere.” They seek out projects where user revenue streams can provide a long-term return on investment. In Southern California, adding express toll lanes to congested freeways and closing gaps in our freeway system via tunnels are the types of infrastructure projects local and state governments cannot afford, but private investors would love to be a part of.
All over the world airports, seaports and toll roads are attracting billions of dollars in private capital investment. Private investors finance, build, and operate them and guarantee the maintenance for the life of the long-term…