Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

AUDIO – Wait a minute, we have to pay for all this stuff?

May 7, 2009

Unfortunately, we do.

All the infrastructure projects in the world sound great! They look awesome on paper, they’ll make people’s lives better and they’ll let us go visit our friends and families in about half the time it used to take.

It’ll be a dream world!!

Well, unfortunately, we are going to have to pay for all these projects at some point and all of the guests at this year’s Reuters Infrastructure Summit acknowledge that the paying is the hardest part.

But Professor Richard Little, from the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at the University of Southern California, started off with the problem of paying and suggested a few different methods to be considered.

Little, one of those great guests who actually speaks in full thoughts and complete sentences, said that ideas of the moment that might be in vogue (like the public-private partnerships) are all well and good, but are only part of what the country is going to need to do to actually fix its many needs.

Little is an advocate for putting much of the pension, Social Security and defined benefit money to work for the nation’s infrastructure needs. Will it work? Well, for sure there’s a lot of money that can be used and he thinks the American investor would be more willing to buy bonds if they knew they were helping build a bridge or a school or improving rails.

Little was one of the featured speakers at the first day of the Summit, which continues through the end of the week in our New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC offices.

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