Source: Melanie Zanona, The Hill, May 31, 2017
One of President Trump’s advisers says he supports hiking the federal gasoline tax to help pay for new roads and bridges — a politically fraught issue that Congress has avoided for years. Richard LeFrak, a real estate developer leading a new White House council to vet infrastructure projects, told CNBC on Wednesday that he is “in favor” of increasing the gas tax, which hasn’t been raised in over 20 years. … A number of states have begun to raise gasoline taxes on their own, as long-term funding solutions for transportation upgrades have eluded Washington. The White House appears to be running into familiar hurdles. The administration has yet to reveal how it plans to pay for Trump’s massive rebuilding plan, which was outlined for the first time in the president’s budget proposal last week.
TRUMP’S “AMERICA FIRST“ INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN: LET SAUDI ARABIA AND BLACKSTONE TAKE CARE OF IT
Source: David Dayen, The Intercept, May 27, 2017
But the third, which was rolled out much more quietly, is no less stunning: The Saudi kingdom joined forces with a top outside adviser to Trump to build a $40 billion war chest to privatize U.S. infrastructure. The vehicle would employ the same kind of public-private partnerships, known as P3s, the Trump administration has endorsed for its trillion dollar infrastructure plan. The deal hands over control of projects to rebuild American roads and bridges to the private sector and a foreign country. The Saudi Public Investment Fund announced its $20 billion investment with Blackstone, the private equity giant whose CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, chairs the Strategic and Policy Forum, a key group of private-sector advisers to President Trump.
Trump Administration To Cities And States: “The Bigger The Thing You Privatize, The More Money We’ll Give You.”
Source: Donald Cohen, Huffington Post, May 26, 2017
Trump’s long-promised $1 trillion investment in America’s infrastructure turned out to be stealth privatization after all. His budget proposal, released on Tuesday, would cut existing infrastructure programs, privatize the nation’s air traffic control system—a very bad idea—and incentivize public-private partnerships. But it actually goes further. The administration says it’s considering paying state and local governments to sell off public infrastructure. In a process called “asset recycling,” cities, counties, and states would sell or lease assets like roads and water systems to private equity investors in exchange for cash to build new infrastructure. The federal government would pay a bonus to local governments that make the deal. Gary Cohn, director of Trump’s National Economic Council and former president of Goldman Sachs, said, “The bigger the thing you privatize, the more money we’ll give you.”