Hello Readers in Print and Online,
Welcome to the first of six issues of the magazine planned for 2017. This publication is one part of a three-tiered platform that makes up American Infrastructure media. Another part is our thrice weekly e-newsletter, which most of you will be familiar with, www.aiweekly.biz; the third component is the web site at www.americaninfrastructuremag.com, which is updated daily and has different, original content, plus links to products you see within these pages, back issues, and the Annual Sourcebook and Buyer’s Guide edition, as well as other resources you may find useful.
For 2017, our team is taking a deeper dive into the grittier side of American Infrastructure as we follow departments throughout the year as they go through budgets, planning, safety, equipment upgrades, various projects, and their own unique sets of challenges. We are very pleased to welcome the Mayor’s Office of the great city of Phoenix, Ariz. to these pages in 2017. We will also be job shadowing fleet directors and the office of public utilities of two big metros. The American League of Cities will be contributing a column, starting in March. Look for more content from engineering departments, stormwater management, and smart city and tech news. Remember to share your own department’s news with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am particularly pleased to report that former Governor Ed Rendell, the two term Governor of Pennsylvania and one of the nation’s best regarded advocates for our infrastructure, will be joining us in every issue this year, sharing his perspectives and considerable expertise on the subject. I interviewed the Governor for this issue. He shares his well-reasoned insights on infrastructure finance in the AI Interview within this issue and on the web site.
A new President ushers in a new era. The poor state of our infrastructure is on everyone’s minds. Both candidates were passionate about the subject. Now comes the hard part: raising the money to address the problems. Governor Rendell estimates the size of the problem may be closer to a trillion and a half dollars. There are a number of ways to raise the required funds; no one single approach will tackle the fundraising issue sufficiently. Raising the gas tax from 18.75 cents to 32 cents over ten years, as they have done successfully in Pennsylvania, is one idea. Using the funds repatriated by firms hoarding cash overseas is another. Allowing states to toll all of their major highways, including the ones built using some federal funds, is a possibility. Raising interest bearing municipal bonds provides incentives to private investors. Former Governor Rendell has a lot to say about this subject and I certainly hope in the spirit of bipartisan support and solution seeking, our new administration will listen to these good ideas and others, to raise the necessary funds and keep it moving. The aforementioned ideas provide a minimal drag on the treasury.
A budget that includes infrastructure funding, followed by corporate tax reform and sensitively addressing the health care situation equitably, would be a great start for the new congress.
Keep your heads down and your powder dry—see you soon.
Nick Slevin is the publisher and editor-in-chief of American Infrastructure.
He may be reached at email@example.com.