Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Trump's Legacy Could Be Bridges, Tunnels and Rails

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Trump's Legacy Could Be Bridges, Tunnels and Rails

Article excerpt

President Donald Trump has promised to invest heavily in infrastructure projects. His advisers have recommended a tax credit plan to encourage private investment. Critics are skeptical that such a plan, or relying heavily on public-private partnerships, will result in building the bridges, roads, airports tunnels and new railways needed in the nation. We share concerns, but before Trump is criticized for a plan yet revealed, his commitment to building world-class rail systems, airports, new roads and bridges has to be commended.

If there is one area where the developer turned president has history, it is in construction. And historically, the only way big infrastructure projects are built in America is when outsized personalities back them. Think Robert Moses across the Hudson River in New York during the last century.

We are skeptical that Trump's economic advisers' recommendation of $137 billion in tax credits for private investors will produce the needed results. But it could and should be part of a combination of financing proposals, along with direct federal investment and partnerships with private businesses.

As reported by The Associated Press, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is said to be "open to exploring all infrastructure funding options in order to ensure that the resulting solutions provide the greatest benefit to the public." We hope "all" includes direct federal funding.

A new Hudson rail tunnel cannot be built without significant federal investment. Public-private partnerships work when an investor can make back his money. For example, through tolls on a highway or in the leasing deals that can come from a new transit hub. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's rebuilding of the George Washington Bridge Bus Station is an example of a public- private partnership. The new midtown bus terminal will probably be funded using a mixture of public and private funds. …

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