INFRASTRUCTURE C.O.D.

May 11, 2019 at 5:15 am

President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders agree on a $2 Trillion price tag for infrastructure projects. But, who will foot the bill? And, will it be a boon for the Big Apple? Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros will join us with answers.

Aired on May 10, 2019.

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>>> IT'S CLEAR THAT BOTH THE
WHITE HOUSE AND ALL OF US WANT
TO GET SOMETHING DONE ON
INFRASTRUCTURE.
IN A BIG AND BOLD WAY.
WE AGREED ON A NUMBER.
WHICH WAS VERY, VERY GOOD.
$2 TRILLION FOR INFRASTRUCTURE.
ORIGINALLY, WE HAD STARTED A
LITTLE LOWER.
EVEN THE PRESIDENT WAS EAGER TO
PUSH IT UP TO $2 TRILLION.
>> THAT WAS MINORITY LEADER AND
NEW YORK SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER,
RECENTLY ANNOUNCING THAT
PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS AGREED TO
WORK WITH DEMOCRATS ON A
BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN.
THE PRESIDENT HAS LONG POINTED
TO INFRASTRUCTURE AS A POTENTIAL
AREA OF COMMON GROUND WITH THE
DEMOCRATS.
AND A BIG FEDERAL INVESTMENT
COULD BE A BOOM FOR THE NEW YORK
METRO AREA, WHICH HAS STRUGGLED
TO BRING ITS INFRASTRUCTURE INTO
THE 21st CENTURY.
BUT AT $2 TRILLION, FINDING THE
MONEY TO PAY FOR SUCH A MASSIVE
PACKAGE COULD BE A CHALLENGE.
SO THE QUESTION NOW IS, WILL
THIS AMBITIOUS NEW
INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSAL PROVE TO
BE THE REAL DEAL?
OR WILL IT TURN OUT TO BE YET
ANOTHER LEGISLATIVE DEAD END?
JOINING US WITH ANSWERS IS
FORMER HUD SECRETARY HENRY
CISNEROS, WHO LAUNCHED A NEW
INVESTMENT FIRM CREATED
SPECIFICALLY TO INVEST IN
INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS AROUND
THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING NEW YORK.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>> THANK YOU FOR YOUR EXCELLENT
WORK OVER THE YEARS OF INFORMING
THIS METROPOLITAN AREA.
>> THANK YOU, SIR.
NOW YOU KNOW, IT'S OFTEN SAID
THAT AMERICA HAS A CRUMBLING
INFRASTRUCTURE.
>> YES.
>> IS THAT ACCURATE?
JUST HOW BAD IS IT?
>> WELL IT'S BAD ENOUGH THAT THE
AMERICAN COUNCIL ON CIVIL
ENGINEERING GIVES OUR
INFRASTRUCTURE A GRADE OF D.
>> OH.
>> AND THEY ESTIMATE A $2
TRILLION GAP OR SHORTFALL IN THE
AMOUNT OF MONEY IT WILL TAKE IT
JUST GET OUR INFRASTRUCTURE UP
TO AN ACCEPTABLE LEVEL.
SO WE'RE BEHIND BADLY ALL ACROSS
THE COUNTRY.
WE HAVE PORTS THAT AREN'T DEEP
ENOUGH FOR THE BIGGEST SHIPS
NOW.
WE HAVE RAIL THAT IS JUST NOT AT
ALL ON THE SAME LEVEL AS WHAT WE
SEE IN EUROPE OR IN CHINA OR IN
JAPAN.
WITH RAIL BEDS THAT ARE OBSOLETE
AND CAN'T RUN FAST TRAINS ON
THEM.
WE'VE GOT AIRPORTS THAT AGAIN
ARE NOT ON A PAR WITH WHAT IS
HAPPENING IN AMONG OUR ECONOMIC
COMPETITORS.
WATER SYSTEMS THAT HAVE PROBLEMS
LIKE FLINT AND IN MANY CITIES,
WATER PIPES ARE 100 YEARS OLD.
A BROADBAND THAT IS NOT AS FAST
AS WHAT WE FIND IN OTHER
COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.
AND A POWER GRID THAT IS STILL
BASED LARGELY ON FOSSIL FUELS AT
A TIME WHEN RENEWABLES REALLY
NEED TO BE PUT IN PLACE AND THE
GRID IS NOT RESPONSIVE.
THE POWER GRID.
SO ALMOST ANY AREA YOU LOOK IN
TRADITIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE,
WE'RE BEHIND.
LOOK AT THE QUALITY OF SOME OF
OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR EXAMPLE.
GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS, WE'VE GOT
A LOT OF WORK TO DO.
>> YEAH, CLEARLY.
SO THE PRESIDENT AND THE
DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP FINALLY,
FINALLY GOT TOGETHER TO TALK
ABOUT THIS.
AND AS WE HEARD, THEY CAME UP
WITH A PRICETAG.
$2 TRILLION.
>> THAT'S THE $2 TRILLION I
MENTIONED THAT IS THE GAP.
>> BUT UNFORTUNATELY THEY DID
NOT DECIDE WHERE THAT MONEY
WOULD COME FROM.
>> YOU'RE RIGHT IN YOUR OPENING
COMMENTS WHEN YOU SAY IT'S GOING
TO BE A DIFFICULT CHALLENGE.
IT IS.
THERE ARE IDEAS OUT THERE,
THINGS LIKE FOR EXAMPLE
INCREASING THE GAS TAX, BUT
DEMOCRATS TEND TO BE AGAINST
THAT.
AND THEN REPUBLICAN, REPUBLICANS
WOULD BE AGAINST ANY DEALING
WITH THE TAX CUTS THAT THEY
RECENTLY ENACTED.
THERE'S BEEN SOME SUGGESTIONS OF
A FEW CENTS THAT COULD BE ADDED
ON TO HIGHEST INCOMES FOR
EXAMPLE.
TO GENERATE FUNDS SO THERE'S
IDEAS OUT THERE WHERE THE MONEY
CAN COME FROM.
BUT PROBABLY HARD TO GET TO, $2
SPAN.
BUT WE FEED TO BE THINKING
CREATIVELY ABOUT WHERE IT'S
GOING TO COME FROM.
>> SPEAKING ABOUT THAT IN
INTRODUCTION YOU HAVE RECENTLY
STARTED YOUR FIRM, AN INVESTMENT
FIRM SPECIFICALLY TO INVEST IN
INFRASTRUCTURE.
>> AND THE RATIONALE IS BECAUSE
IT'S CLEAR THERE'S NOT GOING TO
BE ENOUGH PUBLIC DEBT OR PUBLIC
CAPITAL TO INVEST IN
INFRASTRUCTURE.
ONE OF THE WAYS TO GENERATE
MONEY FOR THIS IS TO BRING
PRIVATE CAPITAL TO
INFRASTRUCTURE.
THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS YOU CAN
BRING PRIVATE CAPITAL.
YOU BRING IT AS DEBT.
OR TO BE PAID BACK.
OR AS EQUITY INVESTMENT WHERE
PRIVATE COMPANIES ACTUALLY OWN A
PIECE OF A TOLL ROAD OR A BRIDGE
OR AN AIRPORT TERMINAL OR
SOMETHING ELSE.
I THINK THAT'S THE COMING THING.
WE SEE IT NOW IN ENGLAND.
WE SEE IT IN SPAIN.
BIG-TIME IN AUSTRALIA.
AND THE OTHER ASIAN NATIONS.
BRINGING PRIVATE CAPITAL.
WE DON'T HAVE THE REGIME SET UP,
THE RULES SET UP YET IN THIS
COUNTRY TO DO IT ON A LARGE
SCALE.
BUT INCREASINGLY, WE'RE SEEING
AIRPORTS THAT CAN BE PRIVATIZED.
WE'RE, WATER SYSTEMS THAT CAN BE
IMPROVED AND THEN THE RATES
DEDICATED TO PAY BACK.
SO THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF PRIVATE
CAPITAL, IS GROWING.
AND THERE ARE INVESTORS WHO LIKE
THE RELIABLE, LONG-LIVED OR
LONG-DATED ASPECT OF
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTING.
>> YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT.
IT'S USUALLY THE DEMOCRATS WHO
ARE A LITTLE SUSPICIOUS OF
PRIVATE INVESTMENT.
>> AND HAVE A RIGHT TO BE
SUSPICIOUS.
AND THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO BE
SUSPICIOUS.
WE'RE A CENTRIST CONSERVATIVE
COUNTRY, BUT VERY SUSPICIOUS OF
PRIVATE INTERESTS GETTING INTO
THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN PUBLIC
SERVICES OR MONOPOLIES.
COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE.
BUT WE'VE GOT TO COME UP WITH A
THE CAPITAL OR WE'RE GOING TO
GET DEEPER AND DEEPER IN TROUBLE
WITH RESPECT TO THE OBSOLESCENCE
OF THINGS LIKE WATER SYSTEMS.
NOW WE'RE TALKING HUMAN HEALTH
AS WE SAW IN FLINT, MICHIGAN.
FOR EXAMPLE.
SO IT'S CRITICAL TO UPGRADE THE
INFRASTRUCTURE AND HERE'S THE
OTHER PIECE OF IT.
IT'S NOT JUST DOING MORE OF THE
SAME, ADD MORGUE ROADWAYS OR
ANOTHER POWER STATION.
THE TECHNOLOGY MAKES IT POSSIBLE
TO BE AT A POINT OF INFLECTION.
WHERE NEW TECHNOLOGIES ARE
APPLIED TO THE NEXT GENERATION
OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND IT WILL
ACTUALLY BE DIFFERENT.
SO WE NEED TO MODERNIZE.
FOR EXAMPLE, PUTTING CENSORS
INTO ROADWAYS TO MANAGE
CONGESTION FOR EXAMPLE.
OR BUILDING MORE SOELG AR AND
WIND POWER.
EVEN NUCLEAR POWER.
TO AUGMENT THE FOSSIL FUEL
INDUSTRY AS IT EXISTS TODAY.
AND MANY OTHERS, STREET LIGHTS,
L.E.D. LIGHTS THAT BRIGHTEN
CITIES AND LIGHT THEM IN
DIFFERENT WAYS.
>> WE REALIZE HOW FAR WE ARE.
>> WE'RE FAR OFF.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT NEW YORK,
FROM THE SUBWAYS --
>> NEW YORK IS MAYBE FARTHER OFF
THAN ANY OTHER PLACE.
>> THAT'S MY POINT.
>> IT'S PROBABLY NOT THE POOREST
INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE COUNTRY.
BECAUSE PLACES LIKE DETROIT AND
YOUNGSTOWN AND SOME OF THE
INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND ARE IN
WORSE SHAPE.
>> BUT THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE
THE WORLD'S FINANCIAL AND
CULTURAL CENTER OF THE WORLD.
>> NEW YORK AT LEAST HAS THE
ECONOMIC JUICE TO DO SOME OF IT.
WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A CITY
THAT IS THOUGHT OF AS THE
CAPITAL OF THE WORLD IN TERMS OF
FINANCE AND --
>> CULTURE.
>> CULTURE AND MEDIA, ET CETERA,
THERE'S A LOT THAT NEEDS TO BE
DONE HERE.
AIRPORTS, PEOPLE FLY OUT OF
AIRPORTS AND OTHER PARTS OF THE
WORLD, LAND AT THE NEW YORK
AIRPORTS AND SAY, WHOA, WHICH
END OF THIS WAS THE THIRD WORLD
AIRPORT, RIGHT?
YOU HAVE THAT PROBLEM.
THE TUNNELS THAT ARE NOT
ADEQUATE.
AND RAILWAYS COMING INTO THE
CITY THAT ARE JUST NOT ADEQUATE
FOR, WE KNOW THE SUBWAY
PROBLEMS.
BUT THEN BEYOND THAT, I MEAN IF
YOU'VE BEEN ON THE
LONDON-TO-PARIS TRAIN OR
SHANGHAI TO BEIJING, MOVING AT
200 MILES PER HOUR, MOVING
SMOOTHLY, AND THEN YOU TRY TO GO
FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. TO NEW
YORK -- AND IT'S JUST NO
>> I WAS RECENTLY IN CHINA, NOT
EVEN THE TOP THREE CITIES OF
CHINA, AND THE SUBWAY SYSTEM SUN
BELIEVABLE.
>> YEAH.
CHINA IS URBANIZING RAPIDLY.
THEY HAVE 100 CITIES OVER A
MILLION PEOPLE IN CHINA AND
THEY'RE GOING TOWARD 200 CITIES
OF A MILLION PEOPLE.
I TAKE THE TRAIN FROM WASHINGTON
TO NEW YORK REGULARLY.
AND I DON'T EVEN BOTHER TO TAKE
SOMETHING THAT I HAVE TO WRITE
ON.
BECAUSE THERE'S NO WAY TO WRITE.
WITH THE SHAKING.
>> IS YOUR FIRM WORKING ON ANY
PROJECTS OR PLAN TO WORK ON ANY
PROJECTS HERE?
>> YES, WE VIAL BE INVOLVED IN
PROJECTS HOPEFULLY RELATED TO
THE AIRPORT AND TRANSPORTATION
SYSTEMS, SMART CITY INITIATIVES.
OUR FOOTPRINT IS NATIONAL SO
WE'LL BE WORKING ALL OVER THE
COUNTRY.
BUT OUR HEADQUARTERS IS HERE.
AND WE NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN
NEW YORK.
THINK NEW YORK IS GOING TO SET
THE PACE FOR WHETHER OR NOT IT'S
REALISTIC TO BRING PRIVATE
CAPITAL.
THERE'S SO MUCH CREATIVITY HERE.
SO MUCH ABILITY TO DO INTRICATE
AND FAIR, RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL
ARCHITECTURE IN THE
INFRASTRUCTURE SPACE, IT MAY
WELL BE THE CITY THAT LEADS THE
WAY.
>> LET'S HOPE SO.
SINCE WE HAVE YOU HERE,
SECRETARY CISNEROS, I HAVE TO
ASK YOU -- LOOK, YOU WERE HUD
SECRETARY DURING THE CLINTON
ADMINISTRATION, THAT WAS A
PERIOD OF POLITICAL DIVISIONS,
POLITICAL TRIBALISM.
I REMEMBER THAT PERIOD.
AND IT WAS BAD.
BUT IT WASN'T AS BAD AS WHAT
WE'RE LIVING THROUGH NOW.
YOU KNOW WHICH IS SOME PEOPLE
HAVE CALLED, A NONVIOLENT CIVIL
WAR.
WHY HAVE WE GOT TON WHERE WE
ARE?
AND WHAT DO YOU THINK WE CAN DO
ABOUT IT?
>> WELL, YOU'RE RIGHT, IT'S A
VERY BAD TIME AND WE'VE LIVED
THROUGH SOME BAD TIMES.
THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT
CLINTON WAS VERY CONTENTIOUS.
THE OBVIOUS RESIGNATION OF
PRESIDENT NIXON BEFORE THAT.
WE'VE HAD OTHER TIMES DURING THE
DEPRESSION FOR EXAMPLE AND WE OF
COURSE WE FOUGHT A CIVIL WAR.
>> A REAL CIVIL WAR.
>> A REAL CIVIL WAR, LOST A LOT
OF LIVES.
BUT THIS IS, THIS IS A VERY
DIFFICULT PERIOD.
I THINK WE'RE GOING THROUGH A
TRANSITION, WHERE THERE ARE
PEOPLE WHO ARE FEARFUL OF A
CHANGE THAT'S OCCURRING IN THE
COUNTRY.
AND SO WE HAVE SOME HOLDING OUT
FOR A DIFFERENT VISION OF
AMERICA.
AND THEN THE DEMOGRAPHIC
REALITIES THAT WE CONFRONT.
WE'RE GOING THROUGH SOME VERY
DIFFICULT ECONOMIC CHANGES.
PEOPLE ARE VERY FEARFUL OF THEIR
ECONOMIC SITUATION, PERSONALLY.
THEIR FAMILY BUDGET, THEIR
INABILITY TO GET HEALTH CARE, ET
CETERA.
HOPEFULLY WE CAN WORK OUR WAY
THROUGH THIS.
IT WILL TAKE SOME REAL
UNDERSTANDING OF BIPARTISANSHIP
AGAIN.
AND THIS INFRASTRUCTURE
OPPORTUNITY REALLY OFFERS A CASE
EXAMPLE OF WHERE BIPARTISANSHIP
CAN REASSERT ITSELF.
BECAUSE BOTH SIDES WANT
INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THEIR NEEDS.
REPUBLICANS WANT IT BECAUSE THEY
KNOW IT HAS TO DO WITH AMERICAN
COMPETITIVENESS.
AND PRODUCTIVITY.
DEMOCRATS WANT IT BECAUSE THEY
KNOW IT HAS TO DO WITH JOBS.
AND WAGES.
SO YOU PUT ALL THAT TOGETHER AND
THAT'S AN EXAMPLE OF WHERE
BIPARTISANSHIP COULD COME BACK
TO PLAY.
I WAS PLEASED TO SEE IN THE
MIDST OF THIS MOMENT THAT WE
SAID IS VERY TOUGH, AND PEOPLE
ARE TALKING ABOUT IMPEACHMENT,
ET CETERA, THE PRESIDENT COULD
STILL SIT DOWN WITH SENATE
DEMOCRATS AND WITH THE HOUSE
DEMOCRATS, NANCY PELOSI, AND
TALK ABOUT SOMETHING BOTH SIDES
REALIZE THE COUNTRY NEEDS.
AND IN THAT SENSE, IT'S MORE
THAN JUST BRICKS AND MORTAR, IT
MIGHT REALLY BE A PATHWAY TO
HAVING A CIVIL CONVERSATION
ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY.
>> WELL SECRETARY CISNEROS, NOW
THAT WE KNOW THAT YOU SPENT A
LOT OF TIME IN NEW YORK, WE'RE
GOING TO HAVE YOU BACK.
>> GLAD TO BE BACK.
THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU, SIR.
>> THANK YOU.

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Funders

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