Sadik-Khan to Discuss Transpo Funding at the Democratic Convention

A dozen transportation policy heavy-hitters are getting together for a round table discussion on transportation infrastructure at the Democratic Convention in Denver this afternoon. The panel is titled, "Funding is the Alpha and Omega of all Transportation Needs —
Can Public/Private Partnerships Fill the Funding Gap?
" New York City’s Janette Sadik-Khan has a seat at the table.

Sadly, Streetsblog doesn’t have a correspondent at the convention. We’re hoping that one of the 15,000 media members covering the event will pause in their search for angry Hillary supporters long enough to write this one up.

  • JK

    There is no such thing as a free-lunch. The bottom line with public private partnerships (PPP) is that government is paying a huge premium to outsource the political will to charge more (or something)for parking, roads and bridges. If we the people, and our government had the will, we could do everything a PPP can do, but much cheaper. Most PPP schemes involve government promising future revenue from tolls, parking etc in return for a big up-front payment or investment in a project. The real question with PPPs is whether government is so feeble that PPPs are the only way to get things done. Ironic that the Democrats, the party that created the WPA and many giant public works, is seriously considering an approach which is fundamentally cynical about the ability of government to get things done.

  • Boris

    I counted 4 spelling errors on that web page. The Convention has so many eyes upon it that trying to look professional should be higher on their agenda.

    As for the issues, I agree with JK. It’s just like Bush’s “reform” of Medicare- with an extra layer of private companies now skimming off the top, free services became paid services, while more tax dollars are wasted.

  • Federal Responsibility in Expanding Intercity Rail Passenger and Freight Systems

    A key nationwide priority, where the Federal government’s role is central, is in redefining the institutional framework for operating our nation’s passenger and freight railway system. Except for portions of the Northeast Corridor, and a few small segments of railway elsewhere, the nation’s railway system is privately owned. Railroads, by nature, are a monopoly and the current nationwide system is a priceless and irreplaceable asset. Some residual regualtion of this monoply remains to protect shippers and communities.

    Shifting freight from highways to railroads would produce significant environmental and social benefits throughout the U.S. The freight railroads’ profit motive does not inherently provide an incentive to capture these public benefits. Expansion of the system is costly and the freight railroads are beginning to consider some form of “subsidy” to fund this expansion.

    Amtrak was given the right to operate on freight railroads in return for shifting the responsibility for these money-losing services to the Federal government. But expanding these services remains a challenge.

    In sum, a more activist role for the USDOT is needed to devise a comprehnsive nationwide plan and an institutional mechanism (i.e. PPP or whatever) to make this national asset more useful to all of us.

    That should be an important challenge for this transportation task force.

    I wish them well.

  • Hilary

    It was good to learn that Biden has commuted for years from Wilmington DE to Washington on Amtrak.

  • Robert Cruickshank from the California HSR blog is going to be blogging there for Calatics, perhaps he’ll cover it.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “There is no such thing as a free-lunch. The bottom line with public private partnerships (PPP) is that government is paying a huge premium to outsource the political will to charge more (or something)for parking, roads and bridges.”

    For us regular folks, there is no free lunch with federal money. They borrow a dollar on behalf of NY, which the next generation will have to pay back five times over, send us back 80 cents of it (with the other 20 going elsewhere). And New York’s sainted pols get to treat the money like it’s “free,” because they didn’t raise the funds — meaning waste is tolerated.

    It isn’t Sadik-Khan’s job to beg for money. It’s Weiner’s job to deliver all the money he said we would get if congestion pricing was voted down.

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