METROFOCUS: MAY 10, 2019

May 11, 2019 at 5:30 am

The CDC issues a warning that tick-borne illnesses are on the rise, especially in New York. Ally Hilfiger survived Lyme Disease but endured hell before being accurately diagnosed. She shares her story.And, in the nation’s capitol, 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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>>> TONIGHT ON "METROFOCUS" --
>> SPRING HAS SPRUNG AND SO HAVE
DEADLY TICKS.
AS THESE UNWELCOME CARRIERS OF
LYME DISEASE BITE THEIR WAY
ACROSS THE STATE, THE CDC ISSUE
AS WARNING THAT TICK-BORNE
ILLNESSES ARE ON THE RISE,
ESPECIALLY IN NEW YORK.
>>> ALI HILLFIGUR SURVIVED THE
DISEASE BUT ENDURED PAY AND
PAIN
AND STRESS.
>>> AND PAYING THE PRICE FOR
CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE.
PRESIDENT TRUMP AND DEMOCRATIC
CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS HAVE
AGREED ON A $2 TRILLION PRICE
TAG FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
BUT HAVE NOT DECIDED WHERE THE
MONEY WILL COME FROM.
WHO WILL FOOT THE BILL?
AND WILL THE PLAN BE A BOON FOR
THE BIG APPLE?
FORMER HUD SECRETARY JOINS US
WITH ANSWERS.
>> THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS
"METROFOCUS" STARTS RIGHT NOW.
§§
§§
>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS," WITH
JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.
IT'S MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND
MERRILL TISH, THE SYLVIA A. AND
SIMON B. PROGRAM ENDOWMENT TO
FIGHT ANTISEMITISM.
ROSALYN P. WALTER AND BY
CORPORATE FUNDING FOR
"METROFOCUS" WAS PROVIDED BY
MUTUAL OF AMERICA.
YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.
AND BY PSE & G, SERVING
CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE
BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING
IN THE FUTURE.
>>> IMAGINE IF EVERY DAY YOU
THOUGHT YOUR LEGS WERE GOING TO
FALL OFF FROM THE AMOUNT OF PAIN
RUNNING THROUGH THEM.
AND IMAGINE IF YOU STARTED
BLACKING OUT AT VARIOUS POINTS
DURING THE DAY.
>> THAT WAS ALLY HILFIGER, THE
DAUGHTER OF FASHION DESIGNER
TOMMY HILFIGER, REVEALING THE
PAIN SHE SUFFERED FOR YEARS
WHILE BATTLING LYME DISEASE, HER
ORDEAL BEGAN AT AGE OF SEVEN
WHEN SHE WAS BITTING BY A TICK.
HER TESTS WERE INCONCLUSIVE.
SO YEARS OF MISDIAGNOSIS
FOLLOWED.
AT 11:00 IT WAS RHEUMATOID
ARTHRITIS OR MAYBE MULTIPLE
SCLEROSIS, AT 16, IT WAS FIBROMY
AIL GENTLEMAN, WHEN SHE WAS 16
HER DESPERATE FATHER CONVINCED
THAT IT STEMMED FROM A MARIJUANA
HABIT.
HAD HER COMMITTED TO A
PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL.
HILFIGER IS TELLING THE ENTIRE
STORY OF HER STRUGGLE IN HER
BOOK "BITE ME: HOW LYME DISEASE
STOLE MY CHILDHOOD."
SHE JOINS ME NOW.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING
ME.
>> THIS IS A WONDERFUL BOOK.
IT'S RIVETING AND HARROWING I
HAVE TO SAY.
BUT ALSO FUNNY.
>> THANK YOU.
>> YOU HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR IN
BETWEEN ALL THE PAIN.
>> THANK YOU.
>> WHEN YOUR MOTHER FIRST SAW
THAT LITTLE TICK ON YOUR BELLY,
WHEN WERE YOU A LITTLE KID,
ABOUT SEVEN, SHE DID EVERYTHING
SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO.
SHE PLUCKED IT OFF WITH A
STERILIZED TWEEZERS, PUT IT IN A
TEST TUBE, BROUGHT IT FOR
TESTING.
BUT IT CAME BACK INCONCLUSIVE ON
THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF THE
SPECTRUM.
HOW COULD THAT BE, SINCE YOU DID
CONTRACT LYME DISEASE?
HOW COULD THEY HAVE MADE SUCH A
MISTAKE?
>> UNFORTUNATELY MY STORY IS NO
DIFFERENT THAN MANY OTHERS.
IN THAT MANY PEOPLE'S BLOOD
TESTS COME BACK INCONCLUSIVE OR
WITH FALSE NEGATIVES.
SOMETIMES EVEN WITH FALSE
POSITIVES.
HOWEVER, MOST OF THE CASES IT'S
FALSE NEGATIVES.
IT'S VERY ARCHAIC TESTING.
>> STILL?
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS?
>> STILL ARCHAIC, WE'RE TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT A BETTER WAY TO
DIAGNOSE AND TEST.
>> GIVE US A SENSE OF HOW YOUR
HEALTH BEGAN TO DETERIORATE.
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU MENTALLY
AND PHYSICALLY AND HOW IT
AFFECTED YOUR ENTIRE CHILDHOOD?
>> RIGHT.
WELL I STARTED OUT WITH PAIN IN
MY LEGS AND JOINTS AND KNEES AND
MY MUSCLES, STREP THROAT AND
HEADACHES.
AND YOU KNOW, IT WAS -- IT WAS
DIFFICULT BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT
MAYBE OTHER PEOPLE HAD THIS PAIN
AND WHEN I FOUND OUT THAT THEY
DIDN'T, I FELT DIFFERENT AND
WHEN THEY COULDN'T FIGURE OUT
WHAT IT WAS, THERE WAS NO
SOLUTION, I FELT LIKE I WAS
OVER -- LIKE I WAS A BABY.
AND THEN I HAD A MAJOR
SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT AT THE AGE
OF 13 AND THE LYME DISEASE OR
WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME SEEMED
TO HAVE BEEN EXACERBATED.
AND IT WENT TO MY BRAIN AND I,
STARTED HAVING FAINTING SPELLS.
I, A LOT OF COGNITIVE ISSUES.
I, MY READING SKILLS WENT DOWN
THE DRAIN.
AND MY MEMORY AND RETENTION
SKILLS WENT OUT THE WINDOW.
>> YOU CARRIED A CAMERA AROUND
SO YOU COULD PHOTOGRAPH AND FILM
THINGS SO YOU WOULD REMEMBER
THEM.
>> YES.
>> AS A KID.
>> UNBELIEVABLE.
AND THE WORST PART OF IT, WHAT
WAS SO STRIKING AND SAD TO ME,
THE WORST PART OF IT, WAS NOT
EVEN ALL THIS PAIN FOR YOU.
IT WAS THAT PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW
WHAT YOU HAD AND YOU, TELL US
ABOUT THAT.
>> IT'S KIND OF LONELY.
BECAUSE YOU FEEL A CERTAIN WAY
AND YOU'RE TOLD, OH, IT'S THIS
OR IT'S THAT.
BUT THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO
ABOUT IT.
AND YOU PROBABLY GOING TO BE
OKAY.
AND WHEN THE SYMPTOMS KEEP
GETTING WORSE, AND YOU KNOW, I
DON'T WANT TO SOUND LIKE A
COMPLAINER TO MY PARENTS, WHO
WERE DOING EVERYTHING THAT THEY
POSSIBLY COULD.
BRINGING ME TO ALL THE DOCTORS,
AND YOU KNOW, IT'S REALLY SCARY
NOT HAVING ANSWERS.
AND AT ONE POINT I HAD TO SHUT
MY MOUTH AND KIND OF GAVE UP.
>> YOU PUT UP WITH ALL THE
SYMPTOMS.
WERE YOU KIND OF LIKE YOU WERE
POISONED EVERY DAY.
YOU WERE SUFFERING FROM POISON,
BUT YOU HAD TO PUT UP WITH IT,
BECAUSE YOU SAY WELL, YOU
KNOW --
>> I THOUGHT EVERYONE WAS JUST
AS TIRED AS I WAS.
IT'S BEYOND FATIGUE.
BUT YOU'LL NEVER UNDERSTAND.
AND IT CAME TO A HEAD WHERE THE
SYMPTOMS WERE COMPLETELY
UNBEARABLE.
AND UNIGNORABLE.
IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE THAT
THERE WAS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY
WRONG.
>> NOW, IT GOT TO A POINT AS I
SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, WHERE
THE THINGS THAT YOU SAID WERE SO
ODD AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT
YOU DID, WERE SO BIZARRE, THAT
YOUR FATHER AS I SAID, ASSUMED
THAT YOU HAD A MARIJUANA HABIT,
BECAUSE YOU HAD FACT, HE WENT TO
YOU ONE TIME AND SAID, WHAT CAN
I DO FOR YOU?
AND YOU SAID THE OHM THING CAN
YOU DO FOR ME IS GIVE ME MORE
POT.
WHY WAS IT, BY THE WAY?
>> THE MARIJUANA HELPED MY
NAUSEA, THE CHRONIC DEBILITATING
NAUSEA AND JOINT PAIN AND I WAS
TIRED ALREADY.
SO -- IT DIDN'T MAKE A
DIFFERENCE.
AND YOU KNOW IT GOT ME THROUGH
SOME REALLY PAINFUL TIMES.
>> HE DECIDED THE ONLY THING HE
COULD DO WAS COMMIT TO YOU A
PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL.
>> PHYSICALLY.
ON TOP OF THAT I WAS SUFFERING
FROM A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN AND NOT
MAKING SENSE.
I WASN'T ABLE TO PUT SENTENCES
TOGETHER.
I WAS BABBLING AND TALKING TO
MYSELF.
I HAD GONE CRAZY.
>> PSYCHOTIC.
>> THAT WAS PART OF THE LYME
DISEASE.
>> THAT'S CORRECT.
THAT'S CORRECT.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH LYME DO
HAVE PSYCHOTIC BREAKS AND
SOMETIMES DON'T RETURN FROM
THEM.
>> REALLY?
>> I'M VERY LUCKY AND VERY
GRATEFUL.
HE PUT ME IN A HOSPITAL.
THANK GOD.
>> YOU'RE GRATEFUL NOW,
SOMETIMES YOU THINK ABOUT IT AND
YOU SAY IT STILL MAKES YOU MAD.
BUT THAT SAVED YOUR LIFE.
>> IT DID.
>> EXPLAIN THAT.
>> WHEN I WENT INTO THE HOSPITAL
I WAS VERY ANGRY AND I HAD NO
IDEA WHY I WAS THERE, WAKING UP
IN A PSYCHIATRIC WARD.
IT WAS NOBODY'S DREAM, IT WAS
QUITE THE OPPOSITE.
IT WAS A NIGHTMARE.
AND AS TIME WENT ON, A WONDERFUL
DOCTOR THERE, DR. ELLEN SHANDER
BASED OUT OF STANFORD, SHE
REALLY LISTENED TO ME AND TOOK
ME SERIOUSLY.
AS A PERSON.
AND ONCE I GOT OUT OF THERE, I
SAT IN HER OFFICE AND I TRUSTED
HER ENOUGH TO SAY LISTEN, WE'VE
GONE TO MANY, MANY DOCTORS AND
NOBODY HAS DONE ANYTHING AND
THERE'S NOTHING, I FEEL
HORRIBLY, THESE ARE ALL OF THE
SYMPTOMS.
AND I'M STILL IN PAIN.
THIS IS WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY
BEFORE I ENTERED INTO THE
HOSPITAL.
AND THERE'S STILL NOBODY HAS
DONE ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
AND SHE SAID, I REALLY THINK YOU
HAVE LYME DISEASE.
AND I SAID OH, NO, NO, I'VE BEEN
TESTED FOR THAT THEY THINK IT'S
FIBROMYALGIA.
AND THE TESTS CAME BACK THROUGH
THE ROOF, LYME DISEASE.
>> SO AFTER YOU WERE DIAGNOSED,
YOU GOT THE CORRECT TREATMENT
AND YOU WERE GOOD AS NEW, RIGHT?
>> NO.
>> WHAT HAPPENED THEN?
>> I WISH.
WHEN I FOUND OUT THAT IT WAS IN
FACT LYME DISEASE, HARD-CORE
LYME DISEASE, I WAS LIKE YEAH, I
FEEL LIKE I WON THE LOTTERY.
YES.
YOU GO ON YOUR MERRY WAY TO THE
PHARMACY AND GET THE
ANTIBIOTICS.
AND UNFORTUNATELY, THEY, I MEAN
LISTEN, THEY DID A LOT OF GOOD.
THEY REALLY DID.
BUT AFTER A LONG COURSE OF
ANTIBIOTICS AND FEELING WELL, I
WOULD GO BACK TO WORK AND BACK
TO LIFE.
AND RELAPSE AGAIN.
AND THIS WENT ON, I'D HAVE TO GO
BACK ON ANTIBIOTICS AND ON AND
ON.
AND I TRIED EVERY ANTIBIOTIC,
EVERY TREATMENT.
MIXED WITH THE CO-INFECTION, THE
COUSIN TO MALARIA, IF YOU WILL,
IT IS MORE COMPLICATED THING TO
DEAL WITH.
AND YOU KNOW, SO MANY TIMES I
WAS LIKE -- I CAN'T DO THIS
AGAIN.
I CAN'T DO THIS AGAIN.
AND SO YOU KNOW WE TURNED TO
HOMEO DID THE PATHY AND CLEAN
LIVING AND MEDITATION AND
AYERVEDIC DOCTORS AND DETOXING
WITH DIFFERENT HERBS AND WE
MOVED TO CALIFORNIA AND
ULTIMATELY I THINK IT MADE IT
MORE MANAGEABLE.
>> HOW ARE YOU DOING NOW?
HOW ARE YOU FEELING NOW?
>> I MANAGED.
I MANAGE TODAY.
I'M ALSO ABLE TO BE HONEST WITH
MYSELF.
IF I'M STARTING TO FEEL UNWELL,
I HAVE A TOOLBOX.
AND I CAN DIVE INTO THAT TOOL
BOX AND CALL DIFFERENT
THERAPISTS OR HEALERS OR DOCTORS
AND DO DIFFERENT MEDITATIONS, GO
ON DIFFERENT DIETS, GO AND YOU
KNOW, SEE PEOPLE WHO MAKE ME
FEEL BETTER OR GO TO A PLACE
THAT MAKES ME FEEL WELL AND SAY
LISTEN, I HAVE TO DO A LITTLE
BIT LESS AND I'M KIND OF AN OX
IN THE CHINESE ZODIAC AND A REAL
WORKER AND I HAVE TO BE HONEST
ABOUT HOW I FEEL AND I HAVE TO
BE ABLE TO SAY LISTEN, I NEED TO
TAKE A LITTLE BIT OF A BREAK AND
TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.
>> AND THIS LYME DISEASE ONLY,
BITE BY A TICK, CAN YOU PASS IT
ON TO YOUR CHILD?
>> THAT'S NOT PROVEN RIGHT NOW.
RESEARCHERS ARE LOOKING INTO ALL
OF THAT.
FORTUNATELY, WHEN I BECAME
PREGNANT, I HAD A LOT OF DOCTORS
TEST ME AND YOU KNOW, THEY SAID
I WAS CLEAR OF ACTIVE LYME.
OF COURSE MY SYSTEM FLARES UP
SOMETIMES BECAUSE IT WAS DAMAGED
FOR SO MANY YEARS.
SO YOU KNOW THERE'S NO PROOF
YET.
THEY'RE LOOKING INTO ALL OF
THAT.
MY BABY GIRL IS HEALTHY AS CAN
BE AND HEALTHY AND SMART THANK
GOODNESS.
AND YOU KNOW, MAYBE OTHER
INSECTS CAN PASS IT ON, I'M
THINKING.
>> YOU KNOW THE THING THAT
SURPRISED ME, ONE OF THE REASONS
YOU WERE MISDIAGNOSED FOR 11
YEARS, AND I WAS SURPRISED TO
READ THIS IN THE BOOK, IS
BECAUSE DOCTORS HAVE A BIAS
AGAINST DIAGNOSING FOR LYME
DISEASE AND IN FACT THERE ARE
SOME DOCTORS STILL DON'T BELIEVE
THAT LYME DISEASE EXIST, HOW IS
THAT POSSIBLE?
>> I DON'T KNOW.
AND MAYBE THE ONLY EXPLANATION
THAT I CAN COME UP WITH, IS THAT
IT'S SO COMPLICATED.
AND SO DIFFICULT TO PINPOINT AND
TO UNDERSTAND, THAT THEY DON'T
UNDERSTAND IT YET.
AND WHEN YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND
SOMETHING, SOMETIMES YOU DON'T
WANT TO GET INVOLVED, YOU DON'T
WANT TO GET BLAMED.
THAT COULD BE IT.
IT'S BEYOND ME.
AND SO SADDENING AND FRUSTRATING
TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE
OUT THERE, SO SICK AND THE
DOCTOR IS LIKE NO, NOT GOING TO
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.
>> HOPEFULLY SOME OF THOSE
DOCTORS WILL BE READING YOUR
BOOK.
HOW COMMON IS LYME DISEASE?
>> OH, MY GOODNESS, IT'S
SPREADING AT A RAPID PACE, IT'S
A GROWING EPIDEMIC IN OUR
COUNTRY.
IT IS ABOVE PROBABLY WHAT THE
CDC SAYS.
AND YOU KNOW, IT'S HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS IN 50
STATES AND 80 COUNTRIES.
AND PEOPLE ARE DYING.
PEOPLE ARE DYING FROM LYME
DISEASE AND PEOPLE DON'T KNOW
THAT, EITHER.
>> SO WHAT DO YOU SAY TO
SOMEBODY WHO IS SUFFERING FROM
THE SAME KIND OF DESPAIR AND THE
PAIN THAT YOU WERE SUFFERING,
FROM JUST A FEW YEARS AGO?
AND MAYBE LISTENING TO US NOW?
>> I WOULD SAY -- KEEP A GLIMMER
OF LIGHT AND HOPE AT THE END OF
THE TUNNEL.
WHATEVER THAT GOAL MIGHT BE.
MAYBE IT'S TO WRITE YOUR STORY
DOWN.
MAYBE IT'S TO BE ALIVE FOR YOUR
GRANDCHILDREN.
AND TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON THAT.
AND TO WATCH A LOT OF FUNNY
MOVIES IN BETWEEN.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SENSE OF
HUMOR AND LIFT YOUR SPIRITS,
BECAUSE YOU KNOW IN ANYTHING IN
THIS BOOK IS NOT ONLY FOR PEOPLE
WITH LYME DISEASE.
THIS IS FOR AWARENESS, IT'S
GREAT AWARENESS, BUT MY STORY
OFFERS A LOT OF HOPE.
WITH ANYTHING THAT ONE MIGHT BE
GOING THROUGH, AND TO KEEP YOUR
EYE ON THAT LIGHT.
MY FATHER TAUGHT ME THIS.
TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON THAT GOAL.
NO MATTER HOW DARK THAT TUNNEL
BECOMES, KEEP YOUR EYE ON THAT
LIGHT.
>> AND WHAT DO YOU SAY?
I MEAN SUMMER IS ALMOST UPON US,
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE GOING OUT
TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS, MANY OF
THEM TO WHERE TICKS PREDOMINATE
OR TICKS CARRYING LYME DISEASE
PREDOMINATE AND YOU SAY IT'S
MORE COMMON --
>> IT'S IN CENTRAL PARK.
IT'S IN KENTUCKY.
IT'S IN MISSOURI.
IT'S -- EVERYWHERE.
>> WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE DO?
>> SPRAY YOURSELF DOWN WITH TICK
SPRAY.
TICK SPRAY, TICK SPRAY, WHERE
LIGHT CLOTHING, TUCK YOUR PANTS
INTO YOUR SOCKS, YOU'LL LOOK
LIKE A DORK, BUT WHO CARES.
AND JUST SPRAY YOURSELF DOWN AND
CHECK FOR TICKS.
CHECK FOR TICKS.
THAT'S HOW MY MOTHER FOUND MY
TICK.
>> "BITE ME: HOW LYME DISEASE
STOLE MY CHILDHOOD, MADE ME
CRAZE REQUEST AND ALMOST KILLED
ME."
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH
WITH THIS BOOK?
>> AWARENESS, RESEARCH AND
EDUCATION.
AND TO FIND A MORE ACCURATE WAY
TO TEST FOR THE DISEASE.
SO THAT PEOPLE, MY DAUGHTER AND
HER GENERATION, NEVER HAVE TO
GET BIT BY A TICK AND GO THROUGH
WHAT I WENT THROUGH.
>> WELL, IT'S HEAROING BOOK, BUT
IT'S HARD TO PUT DOWN.
IT'S REALLY, REALLY WELL DONE
AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
WRITING IT AND THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR BEING HERE.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
>>> FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LYME
DISEASE, GO TO OUR WEBSITE,
"METROFOCUS".ORG.
>>> 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.
>>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE
POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL
TISH, SUE AND EDGAR WALKENHEIM
III.
THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B.POYDA
PROGRAM ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT
ANTISEMITISM.
BERNARD AND ROSE SCHWARTZ AND
BARBARA P. WALTER AND BARBARA

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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