A new report from professors at Cornell University’s Program on Infrastructure Policy argues that the path towards fixing infrastructure involves user fees, public-private partnerships, and streamlined approval processes–all part of Trump’s infrastructure agenda. The report argues that current priorities are often misplaced, noting that more than half of state highway spending goes for new projects when more should be spent maintaining the roads that already exist. In particular, the report endorses mileage-based user fees to pay for roads.
The report was published by the Committee for Economic Development, a branch of the Conference Board. Originally founded in 1916 to provide a business response to the labor movement, the Conference Board is now seen (according to Wikipedia) as the “progressive wing of the business community.” Indeed, recent reports criticize crony capitalism, advocate for more women on corporate boards of directors, and urge the elimination of many corporate tax breaks.
The report’s principal author, Richard Geddes, has previously written books advocating for more public-private partnerships in transportation projects and papers advocating reform of the Postal Service. While the Antiplanner is suspicious that some very poor practices are often covered up by calling them public-private partnerships, if done right, they can no doubt do some good for transportation users and consumers.