Major Infrastructure Projects Will Need Support (And Funding) From The Public Sector

Whether you come through Penn Station daily, commute through Port Authority or just step foot on our ever increasingly delayed subways — you are experiencing the nation’s infrastructure crisis firsthand. As the Trump administration sparks a national conversation with their infrastructure proposal, RPA with the support of the Milstein Foundation is putting forward best practices and principles from local leaders as well as innovative cities from around the globe. Spoiler alert — we can’t fix our nation’s infrastructure crisis without leadership from the public sector and innovation and collaboration from the private.

The new RPA report, Rescue and Renew: Addressing the Metropolitan Region’s Infrastructure Crisis”, outlines the need for federal funding to catalyze investment in infrastructure in our region. Additionally, there are cases studies on how other domestic and international cities like London, Denver, Hong Kong and London have executed large infrastructure projects, and tactics that our region can apply.

The report is the outcome of the Milstein Forums on New York’s Future, convened Howard Milstein, Governor Ed Rendell and RPA. The group of 40 leaders from the business, economic development, transportation and urban planning sectors decided that the most pressing infrastructure priority is the Gateway Program.

Additionally, the recommendations listed below are just a few of the many ways that our region can learn to properly handle infrastructure investment in order to position itself as a leader:

  • Building the new Gateway Tunnel and prioritizing national transit priorities. As we’ve outlined in the Fourth Plan, ignoring the need to build the Gateway Tunnel would put the New York region, and the country, in great jeopardy. Without a new passenger tunnel under the Hudson River, there will be a great loss economically for the region.
  • Use P3s to wisely drive innovation, but public infrastructure projects will still require public funding.  In the past, public-private partnerships have played a major role in advancing infrastructure projects in the New York metropolitan region. However, they haven’t been permanent replacement for financing from the federal, state and local levels of government. While these partnerships are extremely valuable, there will still be a need for public funding in order to compete these necessary projects.
  • Political leaders must unite to solve the crisis. There have been successful infrastructure projects executed nationwide at the helm of strong leaders and political coalitions. In order to move forward swiftly with modernizing and rebuilding, our elected officials MUST put aside their differences and find common ground.
  • Dramatically increase federal, state and local government spending on infrastructure. Even with access to private sector funding for infrastructure projects, it will not replace the need for funding from the public sector in order to maintain them. The federal government must take the lead here, and reward cities and states for providing local collateral.

We must act now and work together to ensure region’s infrastructure is improved, modernized and maintained for generations to come.

To learn more about our critical recommendations and research from the Milstein Forums Report, click here.  

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