Posted 10/1/2012 - 9:45:28 AM
ANAHEIM, CA—In a keynote address delivered to the 11th Annual Southern California Transportation Summit, Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, called on transportation and infrastructure policy leaders to reach beyond traditional financing models and partnerships, unite with travel industry and private-sector leaders, and build "the world-class infrastructure that America so desperately needs."
Addressing nearly 1,000 transportation experts, policymakers and business leaders, Tisch said that limited government budgets and Washington gridlock have combined to stall critical infrastructure upgrades around the country. "The old model of relying solely on tax increases or more municipal debt, or a helping hand from the federal government, is broken," said Tisch.
Echoing the summit's theme, "We're All In This Together," he urged the audience to consider innovative public/private partnerships to help finance infrastructure projects, citing models from Canada to Chicago. He also applauded ideas such as America Fast Forward—a proposal to leverage local revenues and federal loans to fast-track construction on vital infrastructure.
While he acknowledged the significant osts of investing in infrastructure, Tisch emphasized that the cost of inaction would be even higher. He said "unless our country commits itself to making the necessary investments to improve our travel infrastructure, particularly our aviation infrastructure, we will lag our economic competitors around the world, and miss out on the economic benefits and new jobs that infrastructure investments could create.
In closing, Tisch said, "We must join together to meet this challenge," telling the audience of transportation leaders, "You have allies and partners in the travel industry that are with you every step of the way. We are all in this together."