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PRESS RELEASE


Some Republicans Want New Infrastructure Publicly Funded

June 29, 2017 (EIRNS)—A Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the American Opportunity Foundation and American Public Transit Association on June 28 drew together some leading Republicans who strongly support large public funding of transportation infrastructure, as a Constitutional obligation. Two of the speakers at the event, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore and former Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Emil Frankel, referenced the "American System of Henry Clay."

The leadoff speaker, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said that he had been in meetings with President Trump where the question of infrastructure funding plans had come up, and responded to EIR regarding a national infrastructure bank,

"If anyone tells you he knows what the White House will propose, don’t believe anything else that fellow might say; he doesn’t know, and they [the White House] don’t know."

Inhofe’s view was that there would be more flailing on healthcare, and then tax reform, before infrastructure funding plans emerged "in the Fall," primarily because there are, as of now, no infrastructure funding plans.

Inhofe stressed that defense and public infrastructure were the two most strictly-defined government imperatives in the Constitution ("Post Offices and Post Roads", Commerce Clause, 1789 Lighthouse Act), and that he supports more public funds and an increase in the Federal gas tax to supply them. Gilmore, Richard White of the American Public Transit Association, and Frankel all echoed those points, and opposed passing responsibility for new infrastructure to the states. White said, "There is an incredible pipeline of public transportation projects fully ready for Federal funding," with $54 billion of such projects currently "at risk" and many others very near the "end of the pipeline." Frankel identified the Gateway Project tunnels under the Hudson River as the "most important project in the country," as has the National Governors’ Association.

EIR made several interventions for Hamiltonian national credit and linking to China’s Belt and Road, and made a number of interested contacts, including for next week’s "Food for Peace" conference in New York.

Representatives John Duncan of Tennessee and Barbara Comstock of Virginia also spoke at the briefing, which was attended by about 60 people, including Congressional aides.