Peabody award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
Senator Gillibrand: Infrastructure Not a Republican Idea or a Democratic Idea
Friday, January 13, 2012 - 11:56 AM
Nothing startling here, but U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gave her most extensive remarks that I'm aware of on a national infrastructure bank today.
"This is a basic public private partnership that cuts government spending as it takes pressure off state and local government and pressure off our property taxes to do some of these long-term, large-scale infrastructure projects," Gillibrand to the Association for a Better New York breakfast.
Following is a full transcript of her remarks on infrastructure:
Another very common sense idea that I think would be so important for NewYork is a national infrastructure bank. Now this is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea ,it is just a good idea.
As we know in ny our roads, bridges, highways, sewers, and ports desperately need investment. Many are crumbing before our eyes. Fixing these is not just an economic issue about how do we create jobs now or in the future, it’s also an issue of public safety.
A national infrastructure bank will allow for direct private equity investment into these long term large scale infrastructure projects. It will be a vehicle for investment for pension funds, life insurance companies, for private equity, and the trillions of dollars that is sitting on the sidelines of our economy today. It’s a vehicle whereby we can invest in traditional and new infrastructure.
We could do high speed rail, we could do rural broadband, we could do health care IT, we could do a new electric grid.
All of these investments create long term growth opportunities. Instead of being run at the whim of politicians who come and go, a national infrastructure bank would be run by a non partisan board of directors, similar to the Federal Reserve -- experts serving terms well beyond a campaign cycle.
It would be like having a capital budget just like states and businesses do -- not an operating budget run through the appropriations process.
So the idea could really make a difference.
When you look at history infrastructure has not been a Democratic idea or a Republican idea -- really is a non partisan idea. For example Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the national highway system and President Ronald Reagan who increased the investment while he was president to maintain it.
This is a basic Public Private Partnership that cuts government spending as it takes pressure off state and local government and pressure off our property taxes to do some of these long-term, large-scale infrastructure projects.
When you reduce the government’s role in spending you can take the politics out of the process so that many of these projects can move forward.