tv Washington Journal Kevin De Good and Marc Scribner CSPAN February 17, 2018 8:03am-9:08am EST
first-class, red-blooded american citizen. america,0 p.m. on reel with the cpac conference next week, we look back to 1988 when president reagan spoke at a cpac dinner. >> american people know what limited government, tax cuts, the regulation, and the move toward privatization has meant. the largest least time expansion in our history, and i can guarantee you they do not want to throw that away for a return into the liberal special interests. >> watch american history tv, every weekend on c-span3. "washington journal" continues. host: joining us now is kevin degood, the infrastructure policy director at the center
for american progress, and marc scribner, a senior fellow at the competitive enterprise institute. they are here to discuss president trump's newly released infrastructure plan. this is still infrastructure week. thank you both for joining us. guest: thank you for having us. host: the president says he can create $1.5 trillion in infrastructure by using just $200 billion in federal money. i want to get an idea about how that can happen, and i will start with you. guest: it is unrealistic, to say the least, that you will get $1.5 trillion infrastructure activity based on this plan. it is important to look at the plan in the context of his fy 2019 budget. the budget actually cuts more money from federal infrastructure programs than the plan calls for. the existing
federal infrastructure programs that have cuts, he wants to cut $280 billion. if we put that next to the plan, and dollar $.40 for every one dollar proposed expenditure, that would create a loss of construction jobs and a reduction in total construction. ast: i want to give marc chance to respond about this idea of creating infrastructure growth on the local level with federal money. can that work? guest: as kevin pointed out, the $1.5 trillion figure is a very rosy projection. that is how the white house arrives at that figure, are some very optimistic assumptions about how federal credit assistance programs will be used and also in the context of if there is a theme and the president's plan, it is increasing state, local, and
private sector involvement in these projects. he does a number of things to try to do that. one is an incentive grant where the national -- the maximum shares 20% versus 80%. he also lists restrictions on states -- lifts restrictions on things they cannot do now. more state, local, and private, less federal. why if the impetus will be mostly on state and local governments to do this, why aren't they doing it now? guest: they are doing it now. i think the majority of infrastructure spending in this country is at the state and local level. just surface travel and water, 75%. a little more is state and local and that is under the status quo
. this would increase that slightly, but fundamentally it is not a major shift in how we deliver infrastructure in this country right now. the state and local are still the most important. they own this infrastructure. as kevin said, if you take this in the context of the budget it means one thing. if you assume that this program goes on top of additional spending, which some of what was telegraphed in from the administration leading up to the announcement suggests they do not think congress will enact any of the cuts they are suggesting. you can view this in two very different ways. host: how realistic is it, given the current state of congress, that an infrastructure plan, even the republicans and democrats both like infrastructure, that an infrastructure plan can pass? guest: it is very difficult to envision a scenario where this president's plan can pass. in addition to the cuts called for in the budget and the
structure of the plan, there is an incredibly large deregulatory component. huge environmental rollbacks are part of this. for on most all democrats in congress, that will be a nonstarter. we do not want to try to tie together dirtier air, water, land, and distraction of communities in the name of economic growth and progress. those do not go together. air,ed to protect the water, and our communities while we are building things. congress needs to protect air and water. host: we are joined by kevin degood and marc scribner. we are here talking about the president's infrastructure plan that was released this week. republicans can call (202) 748-8001. democrats, (202) 748-8000. and independents, (202) 748-8002
. i want to talk about private sector investment and i want to play a clip of transportation secretary elaine chao talking about how to get private investment in infrastructure and other creative ways to pay for this project. >> there are tough decisions. we all want better infrastructure, but unfortunately there's not enough money in the world to pay for all the infrastructure, which is why the president's infrastructure emphasizes the private sector. rugged sector pension funds are a tremendous source of capital for funding public infrastructure. disallow states which the private sector from investing in public infrastructure, so we hope those restrictions can be removed. and then for those states and localities that want to work with the private sector, it is their decision as to whether they want to use private activity bonds, whether they
want to use tolls, whatever. what we are saying in this proposal is that we are looking for creative ways for financing. way. is one we are not advocating for them. we are also not endorsing them. it is really up to the local entities that are involved in trying to raise the financing. host: some democratic leaders are calling this the trump tolls program. what is your reaction to what the secretary said? guest: i agree with much of what she said. it is important to keep in mind what the administration is imposing is not the imposition of tolls, but allowing states to told there interstate segments their interstate segments. putting more tools in the toolbox is a good thing.
i certainly don't think the trump white house plan addresses many problems that we have, but on this count i think they are right. host: kevin, what is your reaction? guest: it is important to understand that private equity capital is extremely expensive. if we look at how state and local governments finance infrastructure today, they go to municipal bond debt. that carries an interest rate of 3% to 3.5% depending on creditworthiness. i've it equity investors look for 10% to 15% annual returns -- private equity investors look for 10% to 15% annual returns. there are some limited circumstances in which it can make sense to choose a public-private partnership with a certain risk profile. it is a small percentage of the total need. we should recognize the municipal bond market is capital
-- private capital. when you invest in a new to this -- municipal fund, that is your private capital. host: we have a lot of callers wanting to wait in. emma is on our democratic line from stockton, california. caller: good morning. all i wanted to say is that infrastructure is very important . hurricanes,ds and and america is raggedy right now. jobs, give to give it to the people that have discussions within their area. you have taxpayer money, so you can afford to pay them, and you have carpenters, electricians, plumbers, whatever you need, every area has what you need to be done. they have somebody that is capable of doing it.
they keep on paying -- playing games and saying, we need this for this and that for that, but nothing goes to where it is actually needed. we the people of america fill the contents of the treasury, so i do not understand. we are being conned. we are being played. people thatyou have can do these jobs. host: i want to give kevin a chance to respond. guest: i think you raise a really important point, and that is we need to make sure to target federal investments weather is the greatest need. one of the most troubling aspects of the plan is it does not have stated goals or performance measures to judge applications that would come in from state and local governments. the only real requirement in this plan is that state and local governments bring new
revenues to the table. by that standard, the bridge to nowhere in alaska that was ultimately not built would be an acceptable project under the trump lan. -- plan. goalsd clearly defined and we need to use those to send money to the greatest needs, and where the federal dollars will create the biggest bang for the buck. host: you are not in your head. nodding your-- head. guest: we are not delivering the money to the projects where it could be best used. the fundamental problem at its core is the nature of the federal program, which is capital grants, some new projects or reconstructing existing projects, not maintenance, which is really where our problems lie. it is not a nationwide problem. these are local problems.
infrastructure quality varies greatly across the country. they can be helped by additional maintenance spending now. these federal programs, including the new ones proposed by the white house do not address these problems. host: you wrote a piece on the cei website that the good, bad, and ugly about the infrastructure plan. the good, it allows states to systems,r own highway it eliminates the capital -- also it increases funding for the federal credit assistance program. some of the bad you listed -- $20 billion in new annual budget authority for infrastructure, a quarter of the total funding dedicated to rural areas. thatop that with a core incentive of federal infrastructure funding remain unaddressed.
talk about some of the shortfalls. guest: i think one you mentioned that i pointed out was the outsized rural program. rural infrastructure is tricky, because in a lot of rural areas we have overbuilt infrastructure. we have highways that are outsized for the needs of the communities, which makes it expensive to maintain and operate. in recent years, a number of ed some ofe de-pav their roads because they decided it was not worth's -- worth the expense of using a paved road that is not used often. another problem with the road program, unlike much of the rest of the spending, this would start flowing immediately. these are largely block grants to the state. it is unlike the other programs, the this would start flowing immediately, and my fear is we would have even less accountability than now. host: shelby is calling from
tallahassee, florida on our independent line. caller: i think the cei has hit upon the nature of this dilemma we have been in for quite a bit of time. thise looking here now at rural versus urban. we have had the amtrak train issue, and the rails in the northeast corridor where you two gentlemen are -- thank you so much, c-span, for the wonderful program you are giving us on many topics along with this form. the article is very suspect. --s is about -- sis synced florida is first. here we are with the need of regional rails in this country,
where we had in the state, we have lots of rails -- i'm sorry, tolls. the government are investing because the federal government has not been a partner for the past number of decades in this country. we need regional rails. we need to improve the northeast corridor rails. we need to get rid of these toll roads in central florida, particularly. you are spending $30 and $40, two dollars to go one way, $2.50 to go the way back. what working-class people can do that question mark we have $20 billion that senator nelson has brought forward after a ten-year lobby to create the i-4 corridor . what happens? rick scott comes in and decides not to do that after years. this is a man who had not lived connectione, had no
to the state, versus the lobby and the people who needed that service. it would modernize florida. central florida, central south florida, which is where our urban center is -- host: i want to give our guests a chance to address the issue of railways and infrastructure. guest: i think the caller raises a great point, that the needs vary greatly by state. within a state, the needs can vary greatly. i may have a different take on tolling, but i do believe that we need a federal program to actually, if it is going to exist, to be a partner with states and locals. that means giving states and locals to make the best decisions and not incentivizing them to make the wrong decisions, which i think that is what much of the federal program does now.
it may serve politicians in states, but does not serve the taxpayers and the users of the infrastructure that is getting built and mismanaged. host: on the issue of railroads, or have been some recent accidents. the president himself tweeting after at least one of them, saying this is why we need infrastructure. is there specifically a railway problem in this country? guest: there is. there are two problems. one is broadly a safety question and the other is investment. following a couple of high-profile derailments and accidents, congress passed a safety standard about positive train control. it is a communications technology that allows the monitoring of trains to understand the potential for a collision, or if a train is speeding in an area they need to go slower. congress extend the deadline of that safety technology.
it is time for us to get serious about holding railroads accountable. that includes amtrak putting more money on the table so that it can get implemented. i think that will lead to an increase in the safety of our railway system. host: linda is on the democratic line from florida. caller: good morning. how are you? host: you are on, go ahead. caller: i also am from central florida. i do not like this plan. is eating away at all of us in central florida. we can no longer afford to ride the highway. interstate and fromgh way to move people one place to another, and when you cannot afford it, it is insane. you cannot afford to go to work.
the caller before me was very relevant. we have tracks that are no longer used that could be used, yet no one does anything. we used to have away from central florida to jacksonville to tallahassee, where students could ride that. that has been disbanded because of a hurricane, i think it was katrina. freight still rolls over it. there are no answers. pick, these tolls, pick, pick on poor people. host: i want to give marc a chance. guest: i do not think every road should be tolled, but there are good reasons why you would want to do tolling over say, a gas tax increase.
one, the gas taxes even more regressive and tolling, and another is, we do not have much time left for the gas tax. i mean in the infrastructure sense, so maybe 15, 20 years before ac just before we see a highly electrified vehicle that makes relying on gas much less tenable. tolling i think has its major damages in that you are charging users directly for their use. you can also do things like congestion pricing, which is the only effective way we know how to deal with urban congestion. if you just build more roads, the congestion will come back and you will be spending more to pay for it. host: i want to get to some points you made in the piece you wrote on the infrastructure plan. you pointed out six things to watch for on what you call the infrastructure scam. that cuts at least one dollar 69 cents for every one dollar
proposed an expenditure on infrastructure/funding -- infrastructure. slash funding for vital family plans. allows product developers to side stec -- start step -- and deepens regional inequality and political divisions. sort of a breakdown. guest: the reliance on state and local revenue in particular is where that question of exacerbating economic inequality and political division comes from. the trump administration has pointed to a number of local issues as being the value they want to try to push. increasegeles, a sales that voters approved by two thirds. while that is a great accomplishment for that region, we have to recognize that los angeles is sort of unique in its .conomic dynamism
los angeles county has an annual gdp of more than $700 billion. that is not representative of many communities in this nation. when we talk about pushing the burden for infrastructure investment further on to states and localities, we are saying some places will be able to handle the burden and others will be left behind. one of the benefits to having a robust federal expenditure as you can make sure that money goes to every part of the nation. you should not leave it up to locals because there will be places that cannot do it. host: you also hit on the deregulation angle. guest: we go through an environmental review process and before we dig shovels in the ground, we want to understand the potential negative impacts that project could have on wetlands and wildlife or local neighborhoods. what the trump administration is doing is trying to tear the guts out of that environmental review process.
we are worried that will create long-term harms we have to pay for down the road. host: is that a concern you share? guest: we disagree on the environmental streamlining reforms the white house is calling for, but i think there is a problem. some proponents of these measures have made it out to be that these are suddenly going to fix permit streamlining as soon as this were to go through congress. what we have seen in the past, environmental permit took years to promulgate the regulations to implement these permitting reforms, so it is not instantaneous. it will take a lot of work, many years at these departments to implement the law. guest: it is important to point out that congress has voted three times in the last six years to ease environmental requirements.
roughly half of the rulemaking is associated with those three pieces of legislation has yet to be implemented. there is a great deal of authority from this president that has not been tapped into. host: david is calling from waynesboro, georgia on our independent line. caller: good morning. , i hope you do well. marc, quit lobbying for the private folks. i have 40 years as a service transportation worker. i have seen this, and go. is talking about raiding pension funds. that is why we have laws and they are trying to change them. as far as the private part, look, i traveled the first public-private enterprise in this country, the pennsylvania enters -- pennsylvania turnpike.
it had potholes big enough to swallow my truck. we have been talking about this for quite a while. i called c-span 25 years ago about these same process -- projects. if you are not going to make private lanes for the trucks and mix them with cars, it will be safety issues. as long as amtrak is private you will never have a safe way to transport people because the government is paying them. this is all wrong. let me make one point exactly about the electric vehicles. i paid a highway use tax, besides my fuel tax. when a person buys a tag for your car, you have to give your mileage when you register it. every year when they buy that tag, they convey -- can pay a highway use tag. get the private people out of our business. host: i want to give you a
chance to respond. guest: the caller makes good points, talking about a mileage-based fee. that is one way politicians are discussing moving in the future as the gas tax becomes less viable. some are more sophisticated. they would involve gps. you get a precise read on which roads were used, but some are simple where you do an annual reporting on the mileage and pay accordingly. on the issue of rating pension ,unds -- raiding pension funds the private sector has always been involved in infrastructure. freight rose and telecommunications are almost entirely private infrastructure. roads and water and wastewater and mass transit at least in recent years have been dominated by the government, but even in these cases, we have a lot of private sector involvement on the contracting side.
the question is, or their opportunities for institutional investors like pension funds to perhaps engage in these public-private partnerships for the benefit of their pensioners? this should be done on a case-by-case basis. you can structure these contracts poorly, and they have done that, but you can also structure them well. host: mike is on the line from woodstock, virginia. caller: thank you for taking my call. a couple of quick condiments. present test comments. -- comments. president eisenhower got congress to infrastructure -- when was the growing population. tollingbner talks about and his thoughts on tolling. taxpayer dollars, for the most part, whether it is local, state, or federal, pay for the
roads that we drive on. why should we pay again in terms of tolling, when the number of others ways to discuss that issue? when you have the interstate bridge in the tri-cities in minnesota, i think it was interstate 35 that fell into a river. assn't that indicate as well engineer studies that have been done on the deficit of maintenance on our bridges, there are so many ways that could be dealt with other than tolling. host: i want to give marc a chance to respond. guest: tolling as done in the 50's as was contemplated by eisenhower, but they decided to , what you are gas
not slowing down any more to pay the toll. you do not have the congestion issues he used to have, as well as the collection cost issues he used to have. it is much closer to what the guest -- gas cast collection is. tolling, notsay only is it fair because you are charging people directly for their use, so you are not getting leakages from people using other roads who may be are using these but still getting the money. you are able to use things like congestion pricing, she is important in urban areas going forward. -- which is important in urban areas going forward. it is very expensive and too wide and highways -- to widen highways. the only way to alleviate congestion is putting a price on that congestion. host: we are discussing the
president's infrastructure plan with kevin degood and marc scribner. read this piece by "the washington examiner." the trump administration is seeking to avoid the obama stimulus trap. it says the trump administration hopes that $200 billion in new federal infrastructure spending over the next 10 years can trigger $1.8 trillion in investment by the private sector , plus state and local governments, at the benefit of roads, bridges, and jobs. $50 billionld sink into new rural infrastructure programs and speed up the process to allow new projects to projects --ew allowing the private sector to fish -- fix the deficit.
president trump said in his state of the union address, but remind us of what we spent in 2009 on infrastructure, through the stimulus. does the opinion piece make a point? guest: we spent only about $75 billion on infrastructure. than is a good bit less most people assume, and about one third was spent on highways. part of the understand -- misunderstanding is how long it takes to build infrastructure projects, anywhere from three to six years. i think people had perhaps an unrealistic expectation that the soon as the dollars when out the door we would see an immediate change in construction employment. it took states a little while to put that money to use, but in the end we saw a lot of projects built and i think the money was well spent. right, that the
stimulus under president obama was mostly not about infrastructure, even though that is we are seeing the outsize attention. i certainly do not think the white house wants to be associated with the negative attention the stimulus received under the previous president, but it will be hard for them to avoid some of these claims, especially when you look at the rural program. i think the rural program is an easy target for opponents of the president to point out that this is money, and it seems to be going to a part of the country that overwhelmingly supported his candidacy. i think until they can figure out what they're going to do with the rural program to make fundok less like a slush or a politically motivated stimulus, they will have problems with congress. host: keith is on our republican
line from palm bay. caller: i live in central florida. the problem is, local governments, county and city are core functioning governments responsible for roads, infrastructure to support the roads, police, and fire. what local governments have done is split their general pot in so many different directions with economic development, tourist development, but they do not have the money for core functions anymore because that money stays in certain areas. desserts itself, and a lot of cities are doing it also. the have to compete for these jobs. -- they have to compete for these jobs. it is just as this is getting money from the government. i believe there is enough money already.
instead of the gas money going into nature trails and amtrak, which should be private, it should go back in. let me give you a for instance on rail in central florida. they built the sun rail. and say it will be $2 million when they turned it over to them. they just came out and told them it will cost them $30 million apiece to run the sun rail, which nobody rides. made,the point that you president trump endorsed a 20% gas tax hike. -- 25% gas tax hike. to pay for infrastructure other white house meeting with senior administration officials from both parties. he also said he was open to other ways to pay for
infrastructure, according to a source with direct knowledge. the guest tax has not been raised since 1993 and currently stands at 18.4 cents. what do you think? guest: the president talked about increasing the debt -- the gas tax by $.25. the average driver pays about $100 a year in federal fuels taxes, and this would raise that to about $236 a year. that is a substantial increase as we have heard a couple of callers mentioned. for middle-class families, that can be a burden. it is unconscionable to have a recent federal tax bill provide every single person who makes $1 million or more a year a tax cut of $70,000 in 2018, and to turn around until the average american worker that they need to pay another $136 a year in federal gas tax. we should start to repeal the recent tax bill, but that money
in the treasury. there is still a gap between that revenue and what the plan calls for. then we can have a discussion about raising the gas tax. guest: i think raising the gas tax will be a tough sell in congress among conservatives, and also among democrats who traditionally have raised the regressive nature of a fuel stacks. i think going forward, what the president is talking about raising the gas tax. in for's were not mentioned his infrastructure plan, and it does not address these core problems with highway trust fund insolvency. this would kick the can down the road, and ultimately does not deal with the core problems of money going to the wrong types of projects and incentivizing the wrong types of projects, but also the fact that the fuel tax is just not going to be viable much longer. host: sherry is calling from new york on our democratic line.
caller: good morning. i just wanted to make the observation that it appears obvious why infrastructure and is deteriorating, and not much is being done to improve it. some simple reflection, history informs us that after world war ii, major infrastructure projects were being done because capitalists could and would gain manufacturing to rebuild in places where steel, rubber, glass was needed. our economy and america has in america has become more services and less manufacturing. the and fittest for the major people to make the decision. i do not know when this will turn around. manufacturing.ut now it has moved on, so that is the main reason why the impetus is not there.
it is for manufacturing and profit gaining -- gain. host: let's start with kevin. guest: if we look after the passage of the interstate highway it -- act in 1956, the government increased total spending by 544%. that represented a real national commitment to infrastructure, and a real national commitment to growth and prosperity in the future. by comparison, the trump administration is calling for cutting federal highway spending . if we look at his most recent budget proposal, the trump administration would push for a billion over the 10 year budget window, and that is catastrophic to state and local governments. guest: what kevin is talking about in the cut, if you view the budget proposal in the context of the infrastructure document, really where these cuts come from our letting the
highway trust funds run try. that -- run dry. that is an unrealistic assumption that is in the president's budget, but i do not expect congress to not bailout the trust fund. they have done it repeatedly over the last decade and i expect them to continue. over the last 30 years, the share of the economy spent on infrastructure is about the same . we have not seen any big changes since the completion of the interstate system. i think right now, and the caller does raise good points about what we have done in the past versus what we should do in the future, we should look at much more dramatic things about how to reorient the federal aid programs around the future, about what we need to do in the future and what we should be doing right now, which is maintenance. the trump administration plan fails to do a lot of these things and it was a missed opportunity. host: i want to look at some of
the top lines of this plan and where money is being spent, and how much, to get your idea as to whether you agree. of the $200 billion, $100 billion would be an incentive to state and local governments to match outside investment. $50 billion for girl project grants distributed to the states. $30 billion for government financing of projects, and $20 billion for transformative projects in new ideas not repairing existing infrastructure. what do you think about the distribution of this $20 billion, and what would you like to see the federal funding focus on? guest: these would all the new programs, largely discretionary grants programs. outside of the rural program, which is a formula block program, so states get money based on certain characteristics. all those others are discretionary.
it will be decisions made in washington on project selection. half of that is those incentives . that is the 20% match program i mentioned. that can be combined with some of the federal credit assistance and the other financing options. really what would the interesting to see is if you were to an at this, how many states and locals would choose this 20% match versus a 50% to 90% to a hundred percent match available in other federal grant programs, assuming those remain on autopilot? i would track how much this money would be. host: kevin? guest: the one word that comes to mind when you mentioned the rural project is "inadequate." most estimates are that providing true broadband internet to roll america alone would cost $40 billion to $50 billion, before we get to roads,
before we get to water and community facilities. there is a tremendous amount of need in this program and it does not meet at. host: richard is calling on our independent line from portland, kansas. kansas.and, caller: funding the infrastructure with the gas tax, that really hurts working people. it represents a good portion of our monthly income, depending on how high the prices of gas are. my idea, i noticed the administration just opened up public lands and areas offshore for exploration of minerals and oil. this is public lands, not private land. i do not understand why the revenues and incentives could not be used for public use, like infrastructure, keeping our gas not to take it
away from the working people of this country. we have got to get to work. that is all i have. host: kevin? guest: i do not think it is a viable strategy for national investment to current -- further degrade our lands. there is a great deal of oil and natural gas work that goes on, and those leases generate some income for the federal government but it is not viable to think those could pay for national investment. guest: it would be a mistake to drill for roads. i think it is important, and what i would like to see is what we call the user pays, user benefits rentable in transportation funding. -- principal and transportation funding. if you benefit from a facility, you should pay for that. i would prefer direct polling, but a user tax is better. i certainly do not think we should be using federal oil and gas lease revenue to bail out
our transportation programs. that is a recipe for even more waste, and less accountability than we see right now. host: mark is on our democratic line form augustine, -- from augusta, georgia. caller: good morning. everybody that has called has made some good observations. we are the americans that love the country. we are the workers and the people that use the highways. i personally have built highways with my hands. i don't bridges in georgia in the city of atlanta as it continues to blow up. i built five bridges at the 531 exchange and i also built other bridges, where is and holyfield lives at the top of the hill. i have hung jack's which support the concrete.
traffic goes underneath me because i was considered a surehanded worker. i was in the construction business. marc,e an educated man, and i am just a grunt, but i am clear spoken. i do not think most americans realize really what we are discussing. there are some spots in the country where they have cameras placed on streetlights. when you get a ticket for running that streetlight, accidentally or intentionally, you get the ticket mailed automatically. what americans are not realizing is it is not the government sending you the ticket, it is the people who own the cameras. yourtization versus country, versus your citizenship, so when the corporations take over your
country, this is the argument. i am a big person in opposition to private entities involved. the gentleman who called from georgia, that guy is very knowledgeable about the facts. to, as he wasded so confident at the beginning of the show, he said we are not there yet. somebody asked a question about privatizing roads in urban areas. when you go from one streetlight to another, there is cameras already there, devices there that can track your car. host: i just want to give marc a chance to address your concerns about privatization. guest: i think if you look worldwide at public-private partnerships, you see the united states is actually well behind countries, peer including countries regarded as more left of center than the united states, including france, the united kingdom, australia,
canada. i think there are ways, and certainly things we can learn from other countries on how to do this that are in the united states. we have not done some of the projects, particularly in airports, that we have seen in other countries work really well, in the u.s. the white house proposal does do a little bit to address that. a proposed expanding and reforming the airport privatization pilot program. i would say, you look around the rest of the world, the private sector is much more involved in public infrastructure in those countries than in the u.s. host: we are joined by kevin degood and marc scribner. we are breaking down the president's infrastructure plan. spent a lot of time talking about some shortcomings that you both see in this plan. is there stuff in it that you like? guest: no. host: marc?
guest: i like the added flexibility and financing support, but i would say my overall impression is on that, negative. host: kevin is calling in on our independent line from norway, connecticut. -- nor wick, connecticut -- norwich, connecticut. caller: thank you for discussing this, and i think it needs to be discussed. to are we paying so much military, and why can't we take some of those funds and use them marc says? host: marc? guest: the defense budget is a bit outside my wheelhouse, but that is another thing. i think a main problem is we do not have sustainable infrastructure focused revenue
collection in this country the way we did in the past. strengthening that user pays principle rather than diverting savings from other parts of the government, which is what we have been doing in recent years in bailing out the highway trust fund, we should look at coming up with sustainable infrastructure based revenue raising, not trying to look for cuts in other areas of the budget to poor that into infrastructure. host: you mentioned a bias toward newness in your piece, in infrastructure plans. do you see that? guest: generally speaking, the federal government pays for the capital construction. when you build a project or rebuild the project, it does not pay for operations and maintenance. that is where the majority is on the o&m where most of the costs are incurred. we see that state and local politicians really like photo
ops so they are going to for grand projects, and they will take home the money and forget about the project. 20 to 30 years later they retire, and we see these projects crumbling because we did not do the preventive maintenance we should have been doing. federal program just incentivizes that. guest: i could not agree more. we simply do not prioritize operations of maintenance, because i do not think most politicians feel they will be rewarded by voters. one way this plan could be strengthened is to put in some mandates of a certain percentage of the money has to go toward disrepair. host: talk about what the i-69 project is, and how you see that as an example of infrastructure failure. guest: the p site put out earlier -- peace i put out earlier -- piece i put out earlier was about a project that
the state had to take over. talk aboutwe public-private partnerships as a mechanism for the state to shift much of the risk and responsibility for delivering a major infrastructure the silly on-time and on budget, that ultimately the state is responsible and has to step back in and engage in extraordinary measures to make sure that process is completed, which they did in indiana. host: steve is calling from philadelphia on our democratic line. caller: good morning. what --like to know, when are you going to get the manpower to construct all of these bridges, roads, and high-rises? i would suggest instead of throwing people out of the country that are not supposed to be here, have them stay, join unions, because you are not
going to have the manpower to do all this work. it is not going to happen, unless you keep the people you are throwing out. the president throughout 38,000 out 38,000 threw mexicans. he could've had them trained, made an citizens, make them manpower. in the future that you want, you want to throw them out. here are the jobs for them, today, theykids have gone to college, the woman, gone, man or to college, got a major, is doing something else, and they tte going to pick up -- ain' going to pick up no shovel. guest: i agree this plan does not have a real vision for training the next generation of workers who are going to build
america's infrastructure and prosperity. any serious plan for national investment has to include additional money for workforce training. this plan has some flexibility for existing pell grant's and a few others, but it is not serious. we need to get more people trained. host: marc? guest: a problem that is common is the discussion on how many jobs, temporary jobs that will create in the construction industry, for instance. what you should be looking at is how much value is this project going to deliver to the users? we seeten than not, either the jobs argument or it is a crude economic growth argument. this is going to boost gdp by whatever percent, rather than looking at delivering value to the users of the specific projects. that is a major problem with how
we do infrastructure. host: rachel is on our republican line from tennessee. caller: i just wanted to comment moving to privatize all of how itservices, and stole better efficiency. do government cannot efficient projects like the private sector, and that has been proven wrong. the private sector is basically looting our taxpayer dollars to go into increasing profits for their shareholders. publicle, they cut employees. lobby toto get a deregulate labor laws.
and then also, their bottom line is to make a profit. so if a school in this rural area does not make a profit for this private corporation, why are they going to prioritize and improving that public good? ast: i want to give marc chance to respond. guest: i think the role of public-private partnerships is not an either/or. i would certainly agree that not every project should be led by a private partner, and there is a lot that goes into these individual projects and contracts. there is still the public component of this partnership, and that means first and foremost that the government needs to structure a contract that is there to both parties -- fair to both parties, as well as monitor it and provide oversight. host: john is on the democratic
line from silver spring, maryland. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i want to ask, this is the only country that people want roads and highways but do not want to pay for it. it is a shame, i traveled several countries, one is in the middle east. i see the roads and bridges and i get back to this country, i feel so shame, the way things look. if you look at the airports, the highways, and there are potholes everywhere. all we do right now is put some easy pass everywhere. people are rooted paid the roads that they are already paid's the rose -- already paid the roads you are using. $35 to get to manassas to d.c., it is insane. people need to wake up. our country comes first.
if you look at other countries how they build roads, we can do better, but people do not want to pay services. host: host: can we learn from other countries? guest: i think we can. they don't have the same tax treatment of the public debt. they are somewhat unique in allowing investors to earn interest income off municipal bonds not subject to federal taxation. that lowers the interest rate states have to offer. that is why borrowing is so cheap in this country and why we tend not to do public-private partnerships. the previous caller made an excellent point that many do not pass the measure of profitability. if that is the measurement, there will be thousands of facilities we do not build in the coming years. we have to recognize or is a
we have to recognize there is a reason the public builds and maintains these facilities. host: the next caller is from washington. caller: i wanted to ask marc enterpriseompetitive is to to and why they are so heavily funded by the koch .rothers they deny climate change. they are very pro-fracking. host: go ahead, marc. guest: we receive funding from a variety of sources. individuals, foundations, and the private sector. we don't deny climate change. we are however opposed to new regulations on energy. and yes, we are supportive of that is taking place around the country in recent
years. cap: can you explain how gets its funding? guest: it is funded primarily by foundations and a few individual donors. from alexandria, virginia, good morning. caller: i live in the rural area of minnesota. we have a democratic governor that grew up as a city boy. it seems he spends all the money in the metro area and the rural area gets left out. i don't care how much money he would get, i think he would spend it in the metro area and we would get nothing. it seems the heavily populated areas get the cream of the crop. america'shink 85% of population now resides in urban is understandable the majority of public expenditures will occur in urban areas. that said, we have done a
dreadful job of ensuring rural america has the foundation of infrastructure they need to succeed and thrive. we need a program that provides rural america what they need. i don't think this program accomplishes that. host: from stockton, california, good morning. caller: i wanted to make a comment. all of these things can be handled by whatever. everybody pays taxes. that pays taxes, eight nothing wrong with their area, that is full -- eight nothing wrong with their area, -- ain't nothing wrong with their area, that is cool. on thenomy is based monopoly game. if you own everything, you can charge anything you want. that is the whole point. right now, there are teachers on
the board. they are making us go through .oops and changes we are paying for everything that we are not getting the same --how can i say -- not the same -- host: we get it. not the same benefit. go ahead, marc. guest: i do think we have wasted a lot of money that could be better spent. important, and some previous caller mentioned how much we are paying for r oads. the average home spends more on their monthly cellphone bill then they do on roads they use. you start to wonder whether we are paying enough. i would say in many urban areas,
we are not paying enough because we should be trying to price away some of the costly congestion that causes delays for people but also is environmentally harmful. host: marc scribner from the competitive enterprise fromtute, and kevin degood the center for american progress . thank you both for joining us today. spotlight our weekly on magazine series continues focusing on the pension crisis facing many state and local governments. after the break, we will speak with doug henwood. our c-span cities tour explores the american story as they travel to lynchburg, virginia, to feature the city's history and literary life.
the mayor talks about the city's founding as a fairytale -- ferry town and the current revitalization of downtown. >> we are a city that grew out across the to ferry .iver lynchburg is named for our founders, john lynch in particular, because he built that ferry and started a business. we grew as a settlement and grew very quickly. that was back in 1757. we pride ourselves on our are also priding ourselves on our present and future. we have such a good fortune to have five colleges. we have liberty university, lynchburg college, soon to
become the university of lynchburg, randolph college, lynchburg community college, and sweet briar down the road. of overngs in an influx 20,000 students every year. over 16 years ago, we were losing population. we were down to 63,000 people. now, we can proudly say we are way over 80,000 people. having ourked on downtown be very attractive. we were fortunate we still had very old buildings built before the civil war. they were factories because we were a factory community. those places have been converted into lofts, which are very attractive to our young people but also our retirees. community toderful live, work, and play for everyone. >> "washington journal"