Our roads are in disarray, our airports are in bad shape, and now it is time to fix it.
President Trump is talking about a $1 TRILLION Infrastructure plan and I really have some ideas on how to make this work out good for everyone involved. Let’s look at these projects one by one.
We will start off with the easiest one. Airports.
Right now 93% of airports are government owned. That is part one of the problem. Why not sell them to private owners? They can charge the airlines rent for space, which I am sure the government is hopefully already doing, and they can also control the space inside. Let the new owners be responsible for upgrades to both the airport as well as the airstrips. At the same time they can also take over for the TSA and Air Traffic Controllers. If you have a business running the airport, their reputation is more on the line than the current joke of the government running it. I have lost track of how many reports I have seen where TSA has about a 5% success rate finding weapons and such in tests. There are approximately 376 major airports in the US, that is an airport with regular commercial traffic. Mind you, they vary in size, but let’s say the government could sell them to a private company for an average of say $100 Million. Mind you airports like Newark, JFK, Reagan, etc. could probably go in the $500 Million – $1 Billion range. So we will average them to $100 Million for a low ball number, that would be an additional $37.6 Billion to the government and would save the government billions a year just in operating expenses. Pretty simple.
Next step, Schools:
This is one of the tricky ones, hard to put this in a private option, but I have an idea, that should apply not only to this one, but the rest on the list. When this or any government funded job is bid for there needs to be two conditions: First, they need to know up front there will be no additional money outside the bid, so they have to keep it within budget. If they go over budget, they do it out of their own pocket, but if they can complete the job correctly under budget, they can keep the money and be put at the front of the line for similar jobs. Secondly, they have to finish the jobs early or on time. You can give them a small bonus for finishing early and put on the top of the list for future jobs, but they will get a fine if they are late and be moved to the bottom of the list for future jobs.
Next step, Bridges:
Fact is the countries bridges are in pretty bad shape. As of 2016 10% of the nation’s bridges were structurally deficient and needed repair. And of the 250 most trafficked bridges in need of repair 85% were built before 1970. So how do we do this without the government eating the entire cost. First off the rules from schools apply, and you can do it 2 ways. You can use a toll system, but there has to be limitations on what can be charged and for how long. You can let companies build them for “free”, but with a written budget. They can charge a toll on that bridge until they have received double their investment, then the toll is over. Interstate/Highway bridges could be done the same way as schools, to keep tolls off the interstate.
Next step, Roads:
Here are my issue with toll roads, I have driven the New Jersey Turnpike, which is a toll road if you are not familiar with it. It covers a good portion of New Jersey. The road is in miserable shape, yet the tolls just go up. So I am going to say this, for the interstate, use the schools rule. For anyone wanting to do a road as a toll road, they have two options. They can have the same deal as bridges, where they can make double their investment, or they can make triple their investment, but be 100% liable to keep the roads in good shape for a specific amount of time. For companies who are wanting to set up a new location, they can deduct 120% of the expense to build a road to their new factory/store from their taxes. Yes it may be a big tax break, but would you rather save the money up front and have that new business up and running, creating jobs, which in turn will create more taxes from the employees? Or the government build the road, or worse, the company decide not to build a plant?
Finally, inner cities:
There are a lot of people in inner cities that are suffering from years of being held down and put into the poverty trap by the government, well it is time to release the trap and get them back to work. For any business that sets up in and near inner cities, that business can be run with half the federal tax for a term of 5 years, but instead of 5 years in a row and they can move on, they will get that in year 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. If they do projects to improve the general area, they too get the 120% discount.
If you do all these things, you can get $1-2 Trillion worth of infrastructure done for about $150-300 Billion, put a few million people to work, and increase tax revenue to the government, so it is a win-win for everyone. Plus by regulating the length of time for tolls, it would not hurt the people in the area that much.
As always, comments are welcome.