The American Prospect: Fixing the Public Infrastructure Bottleneck With Public-Private Partnerships

September 12, 2015

Why officials need to confront the politics of public-private partnerships in order to tackle much-needed projects.


Last month, Senator Charles Schumer pitched the creation of a nonprofit development corporation tasked with funding new tunnels to go under the Hudson River. The entity would work with New York, New Jersey, the Port Authority, the MTA, Amtrak, and the federal government. It could also solicit funding from potential private sources. While the proposal lacked some important details, such as which agency would ultimately manage the new tunnels and how, if at all, they could obtain state and federal money—political leaders, transportation experts, and business organizations praised Schumer’s idea as an important one worth exploring further.

“Input should come from all parties—everyone should have a seat at the table—but the planning and financing and implementation of [the new tunnels] should be driven by one conductor: the development corporation,” Schumer said in an August speech at New York University.

Schumer’s proposal could “solve a lot of long-standing, long-festering dysfunctional relationships,” said Martin Robins, a transportation policy expert who has been involved in pushing for new Hudson River tunnels since the 1990s.

New tunnels are desperately needed. The only existing ones, which are more than 100 years old, are not expectedWebsite Insert Turnkey Packages copy to hold up for more than another decade or so, due to age and deterioration. The country would have had new tunnels built by 2017 through the Access to the Region’s Core plan (ARC) but, as I argued in my winter 2015 cover story, Governor Chris Christie cancelled the bipartisan tunnel project in order to avoid raising taxes and preserve his national political ambitions.

Yesterday, McGraw Hill Financial and the Bipartisan Policy Center held a panel discussion in New York City on the challenges and opportunities of using private investment to fund infrastructure projects in the United States. One topic they discussed specifically was how they can leverage private dollars to help fund projects like new tunnels under the Hudson River.


Read Rachel M. Cohen’s full analysis at The American Prospect by clicking here.


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