By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor ARTBA
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told attendees at a Nov. 14 Bloomberg Government event that he expects the incoming Trump Administration to embrace investment in infrastructure security. “We’ve heard a lot from Donald Trump on infrastructure, and the security of our critical infrastructure, I hope, will be accepted as doctrine,” Johnson said. He noted the interconnectedness of physical infrastructure and cyber security, as evidenced in the department’s Office of Infrastructure Protection, which coordinates programs and policies on infrastructure security, working with both the public and private sector.
Jason Miller, a special assistant to President Obama working at the National Economic Council, noted the federal share of investment in infrastructure has been declining and is “something that needs to be addressed.” Miller said the passage of the FAST Act last year was a big improvement, but still not the long-term solution needed. Ed Mortimer, executive director of transportation infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, added that “any kind of economic recovery plan has to include a major investment in infrastructure.”
In addition, the federal government needs to remain a key player in infrastructure investment, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne said, adding that a responsibility falls on states to make sure they are using funds wisely. “In Virginia, a big piece is P3s [Public Private Partnerships], but private dollars don’t take the place of public, they enhance it. You wouldn’t complete half a hotel, so why would you fund half a highway,” Layne said.