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Infrastructure Plan Coming? Not without National Credit, Belt and Road

Nov. 18, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Trump administration has begun, after much delay, to exchange memos with Republican Members of Congress about infrastructure legislation, with the primary discussions and feedback being with members and Highway/Transit sub-committee chairmen of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Congress is expecting a long infrastructure outline memo before the end of November.

Yesterday's Bloomberg News interviewed Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR Realty Corp. in New York and board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, on the subject. Rechler said infrastructure in the New York area is "in a dire state, from decades of neglect." Thinking within the confines of simple "funding" in a Congressional operating budget, rather than national credit. He called it wrong for the Congressional Republicans to have tried to enact tax reform rather than legislation to create new infrastructure.

"That really is an investment in our future," Rechler said.

"That $1.5 trillion in deficit space given to lower tax rates for corporations, could have been invested in infrastructure. That’s something that’s going to help us drive our economy."

Rechler went further:

"If tax reform is passed, it’s very unlikely that there will be infrastructure legislation, because of the $1.5 trillion being used [for tax cuts], and that money overseas which was going to come back and go into infrastructure, that won’t happen."

Thinking more broadly, David Firestein of the China Public Policy Center at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Government at the University of Texas in Austin put out yet another article, this one in the Nov. 16 Fortune, "Why America Can’t Rebuild without China." China capital, in the form of loans—not ownership of corporations—has to put American labor to work building the new infrastructure that Trump promised, Firestein says. He focuses particularly on Texas infrastructure needs exposed by Hurricane Harvey. Fortune includes a video clip from Trump’s Address to Congress in January, in which the President said: "I will be asking Congress to pass legislation that will create a $1 trillion infrastructure bank."

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has opened in Houston as the first Chinese bank providing lending in the South of the United States, the Houston Chronicle reported Nov. 17. On the occasion, Chinese Consul-General Li Qiangmin, according to Xinhua, said

"I hope China will work with the U.S. side to jointly promote greater progress in China-U.S. economic and trade relations and open up greater prospects for cooperation between the two countries."

Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner is leading a delegation to China at the beginning of December.