On this year’s campaign trail, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talked about rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure of airports, bridges, dams and highways to boost blue-collar job growth.
“We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.” That’s what Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist and cofounder of the website Breitbart, said a few weeks ago about Trump’s plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure.
Both presidential candidates agree that America’s aging infrastructure needs massive investment. Why wouldn’t they? Fixing and replacing our roads, public transit, and other critical infrastructure will benefit the economy long into the future. The hard question is, where do we get the money?
Talking Points Memo recently launched a series called The Hidden History of the Privatization of Everything, focusing on what TPM calls “one of the most significant and pervasive politico-economic trends in the United States in the last half century.”
Across the country, chronic underinvestment has left roads, bridges, water systems and other critical infrastructure in need of replacement or costly repair. Public financing is the least expensive way to meet these needs. But to fund the gap, some states and cities are turning to contracting arrangements called “public-private partnerships,” or “P3s” for short, which use private capital to finance public projects.
If done right, infrastructure projects—however they’re financed—can tackle inequality by boosting economic growth and providing quality jobs for disadvantaged communities. But since capital in P3s is more expensive than in public financing, and the public loses control over many aspects of P3-financed infrastructure, we should demand even more public benefit in return.
Thursday, along with the Partnership for Working Families (PWF), we released a report to help make sure P3s provide much-needed pathways to the middle class. The report, Building America While Building Our Middle Class,