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Advocate of PPPs Admits Capital Budget Needed for Infrastructure

Dec. 8, 2017 (EIRNS)—Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, after speaking to the "Problem Solvers Caucus" in Congress about America’s infrastructure needs, wrote an op-ed in The Hill on Dec. 4 and changed his view. Long an advocate of public-private partnerships (PPPs) as director of Build America along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Bloomberg and now Ray LaHood, Rendell remembered in time that the United States needs a separate capital budget for infrastructure projects.

"We discussed some short-run ideas which could promote infrastructure investment without having much of an impact on the Federal budget,"

Rendell wrote, describing these.

"[But] it struck me that although they were useful, they could not help to generate anywhere near a $2 trillion investment in infrastructure that the American Society of Civil Engineers says we need over the next 10 years. They could not even generate anywhere near the $1 trillion investment that President Trump has talked about making.

"So, I decided to ... bring out something I have been advocating for since I was mayor of Philadelphia.... We will never have an effective infrastructure revitalization plan until the Federal government adopts a capital budget."

Rendell did not discuss how to fund this capital budget.

A few days later Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) told The Hill that another Congressional caucus, the Freedom Caucus, is "kicking around a new funding idea.... Thinking outside the box." He also gave no clues.

The last powerful capital budget the United States had was the Reconstruction Finance Corporation under President Franklin Roosevelt. A Hamiltonian concept, it turned U.S. Federal debt into new issues of currency—some $50 billion in credit—targeted to raising the productivity of the American agroindustrial workforce; and it was spectacularly successful.