Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

The Economic Stimulus And A New Paradigm For All Americans

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Madam Speaker, I rise today to talk about the economic stimulus but also to advance the idea of a new paradigm for all Americans in terms of public-private cooperation in advancing economic opportunities for all Americans.

It is difficult when you listen to my esteemed colleagues on the other side of the aisle whose arguments seem to rehash the past as the American people at this hour find themselves fearful, in some contexts desperate, as our economy has taken an unprecedented turn for the worse. Yet the arguments of rehashed tax cuts and tax breaks for too few Americans and for too few businesses have brought us to this very unique moment in American history.

The President of the United States, President Barack Obama, essentially has said to us that the arguments that we have heard have taken us down this road over and over and over again. Yet we are looking at unprecedented layoffs. We are looking at plants closing on workers without notice. We are looking at the 401(k)s of the American people essentially diminishing right before their eyes. We have seen Members of Congress in the last years whose homes as Members of Congress have gone into foreclosure. Each of us has heard from our constituents who have lost their jobs and who have experienced the kind of unprecedented economic desperation that has brought us to this unique moment in American history, an unprecedented moment.

At least according to A.P., a few moments ago, the Senate leader announced that we now have a stimulus deal.

``Moving with lightning speed, key lawmakers announced agreement Wednesday on a $789 billion economic stimulus measure, designed to create millions of jobs in a Nation reeling from recession.'' Conservative economists, liberal economists, almost everyone agrees that the government at this hour cannot stand idly by and do nothing. We must do something. ``The middle ground we have reached,'' the leader says, ``creates more jobs than the original Senate bill and costs less than the original House bill.''

The bill includes help for victims of the recession in the form of unemployment benefits and food stamps and health coverage and more as well as billions for States that face the prospects of making deep cuts in their other programs.

Who here does not represent a State that is not experiencing unprecedented economic disaster?

No Democrat and no Republican in this body can sit idly by and play politics as usual--blame the other side, not work in a bipartisan way to bring about the kind of growth and jobs that are necessary.

While I come to this floor to talk tonight about innovative public-private partnerships, which I fundamentally believe are and represent the new paradigm, I cannot help during this Democratic hour to at least rebut some of what I have heard tonight in the context of the 20th bicentennial of our 16th President. Either we are a government of, for and by the people or we are not.

During this hour of economic desperation, the American people are not turning to their governors; they are not turning to their city council persons; they are not turning to their mayors; they are not turning to any of the major industries in this country that are laying off workers. They are turning to some entity, to some flag, to some church, to some god, to some sense of higher being, to something that calls us as a Nation to turn beyond that which we do on a daily basis and just see ourselves and see our country. Maybe we, together, can work our way out of this profound crisis.

Before the American Civil War, our 16th President lived in an environment where the States, themselves, asserted themselves and where the United States Government was, at best, fledgling in terms of its national responsibility because, before the American Civil War, it never had to assert itself. Yet, through Abraham Lincoln, ``the United States are a government'' became ``the United States is a government'' because the idea of saving the Union took on national cause whether you were for slavery or against slavery, whether you were in the northern States, the border States or the southern States or whether you were following the movement of popular sovereignty into the western States, making arguments, as you have heard from some of my colleagues, about their property and their liberty.

But the real question that confronted the Nation at that hour was whether or not we were going to be one Nation under God that was indivisible. Questions of what to do with the slaves, questions of what to do with women's rights and the suffragettes who would later culminate in the 19th amendment would be left for other generations to resolve. But one thing is for sure: The question of ending slavery and the question of stopping and providing women with equality was something that required one Nation to accomplish, not 50 different States, not the private sector and different industries but the leadership of an executive--the President.

So, in the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln took what was a celebration, if you will, after the American Civil War--July 4, our Independence Day--and he redefined it in Gettysburg by saying that the men who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Gettysburg and in Vicksburg have paid a sacrifice higher than our ability to add or detract. He essentially relegates it to the future to make the judgment about what kind of a Nation we would become, not that I would become, not the people of Virginia, not the people of Georgia, not the people of Illinois, not the people of California. What kind of a Nation we will become.

In my own lifetime and at 43 years old, all of us felt that tremendous sense of angst when our Nation was attacked on September the 11th. For a moment, we stopped being Democrats; we stopped being Republicans; we stopped being black and white. We were attacked. We were attacked and we wanted to respond. We looked to our national government to protect us. We did something extraordinary for a moment. We became Americans.

There are these moments in American history where we look beyond our individual selves and we make the judgment that we have to do something for ourselves or our people for our future. And the American people find themselves economically at that hour.

So we have a stimulus deal. Roosevelt said, ``During these troubling economic times that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.'' But that's what we've been hearing from the other side. I've even heard it from some Democrats--just fear; fear--when we should be turning to each other and not on each other to work and provide the American people with some hope, a way out of our predicament.

The American people at this hour don't need to hear the Democratic proposal, the Republican proposal. They need to hear an American proposal that suggests that we are coming together as one people to solve an American problem. That was the best of Abraham Lincoln--not that he was our Nation's first Republican President fighting many southern Democrats in a great war, in a great battle--but our President rose above the circumstances of the hour to ensure that you and I would have a very different future.

So we heard the past. For the last hour we've heard the past. We've heard a recycling of the same old ideas.

President Obama has hinted at a new future. That new future suggests a new paradigm economically. Recently, he said that he wants to limit executive compensation, which I believe many Members of this body applaud if we are giving taxpayer funds to the private sector so that they might help shore up the economy and financially troubled institutions. Certainly people shouldn't be buying Leer jets and jet planes and taking excursions and vacations with taxpayer funds.

There's the hint of a public-private partnership and greater responsibility during this desperate hour for the American people.

I want to talk for a few moments about public-private partnerships as a stimulus plan, a recovery plan for all Americans.

We were once a manufacturing-based economy. We moved from a manufacturing-based economy with trade deals and with other opportunities that took place in the global economy to a more service-based economy. During the Clinton administration, a new economy emerged: the information-based economy. However short-lived, it gave birth to the Internet, the high tech companies with computers, and has automated our system to the point that computers do the jobs now that people used to do.

From a company's perspective, computers obviously don't need health care and don't need benefits. But from a government of, for, and by the people, the responsibility for health care, for decent housing, for a higher quality of life must fall on a caring government. Not everyone can make the transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy based upon education level and skill as quickly.

My mother. Love momma to death, but momma is not as proficient on computers as my children are. My children are better able to transition from the last economy to the new economy much faster than the last generation.

But most jobs in America, while they may not be in manufacturing and because of the education levels associated with the information-based economy, are in the service-based economy, the services that we provide. The hardworking men and women of the United States Postal Service, of UPS, of Federal Express, of the Hyatt Hotel, and the Hilton Hotel, and the Fairmont Hotel. The service-based economy employs more Americans than any single aspect of the Nation's economy.

Whatever it is that stimulates the service-based economy by definition is good for the Nation and can stimulate job creation for more and more Americans. I support the stimulus bill. We've got to do something, and we have to do something right now.

What few Members of Congress will tell you is that behind this trillion dollar bill is probably another trillion dollar bill. And given the depth and nature of the crisis, maybe even another trillion dollar bill. And it is my sincere hope that out of the idea of repairing our economy and restructuring our economy, a new partnership will emerge between the public sector and the private sector in unique public-private partnerships to accomplish and finish public works projects.

Before I came to the floor, I went to Wikipedia and I pulled up ``public-private partnership.'' And it describes, specifically, a ``government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies.''

In some types of public-private partnerships, the government uses tax revenue to provide capital for investment, with operations run jointly by the private sector or under contract. In other types, capital investment is made by the private sector on the strength of a contract with government to provide agreed-upon services.

Government contributions to a public-private partnership may also be in kind, i.e., transferring existing assets to the private sector; i.e., leasing them land for the purposes of putting a business on top of the land to create jobs, to grow the business, and to grow the economy.

In some ways, and particularly in urban areas, public-private partnerships manifest themselves in the forms of tax incrementally financed districts, or TIFS. They manifest themselves in the form of enterprise zones to attract businesses that have moved to other areas to open up shop in high unemployment, high density areas.

And in some other cases, the government may support the project by providing revenue subsidies, including tax breaks or providing guaranteed annual revenues for a fixed period.

The idea of a public-private partnership is part of a new paradigm. Public-private partnerships are not the same as private-private partnerships, that is, a quasi-government entity allowing the private sector to run and operate without any public accountability. Private-private partnerships or quasi-private partnerships do not work and are ripe with corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse.

I wish that the TARP funds that we voted on in the last session of the Congress had taken the idea of a public-private partnership approach before President Obama had become elected President. The responsibility for limiting executive compensation should not have been an afterthought. It should have been in the original bill. Public accountability for taxpayer funds: It's fair, it's right, it's accountable.

Typically, however, when Congress moves big economic stimulus bills and emergency supplemental bills, more often than not, some of the best ideas are afterthoughts. And so, before Congress spends the next trillion dollars after we vote on this trillion dollars, I want to put a marker in the next bill that public-private partnerships, public oversight that encourages private spending to help create jobs and grow the economy for most Americans, is something that all Americans ought to support.

For the 14 years that I've had the privilege of serving in the United States Congress, I have been working on such a project, and I want to discuss and share with you in some details the nature of that project. I believe that the goals of this project are

consistent with the goals of the stimulus.

Long before I decided to run for Congress, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, I believe under President George Herbert Walker Bush, said that we needed to build 10 new airports the size of O'Hare Airport in the City of Chicago to handle today's congestion problem.

Some of you may argue, ``Congressman Jackson, what do airports have to do with stimulating the economy?''

Airports are like the heart of the service-based economy. It's like the central organ that pumps blood to every artery in the body. You show me an airport and I will show you several hotels: the Hyatt, the Hilton, the Fairmont. You show me an airport and I will show you Hertz that buys fleets of cars, and Avis, and Dollar, and Enterprise.

You show me an airport, and I will show you convention centers. They're never that far from airports. You show me a convention center and I will show you conventions: visitors, shows, and hardware shows, and auto shows, and trade shows. You show me an airport and I will show you Boeing; I will show you Airbus; I will show you Lockheed Martin, and Gulf Stream, and Jet Star, and Leer.

You show me an airport and I will show you roads and highways and interstates and intermodal transportation. You show me an airport and I will show you metro; I will show you bus service, limo service, CTA, Pace.

You show me an airport and I will show you tens of thousands of jobs tied to the service-based economy. Even when airports close at night to customer service, they're still open for cargo service, and so Fed Ex packages move all throughout the night, UPS and DHL packages move in the third shift, 24-hours delivery. You show me an airport and I will show you an economic engine that keeps on giving.

So during the George Herbert Walker Bush administration, President Bush, the First, the director of the FAA said that we needed to create 10 new airports the size of O'Hare, O'Hare Airport in the City of Chicago responsible for creating nearly 286,000 jobs conservatively; 10 new airports the size of O'Hare Airport, 286,000 jobs times 10, 2.8 million jobs. Nearly 3 million jobs associated with expanding and building 10 new airports.

How many airports have we built in the United States since George Herbert Walker Bush's administration said that we needed to build ten new airports? Not one because Congress is a slow-moving institution.

All of us have our interests in expanding existing facilities and tweaking a few runways here and there and lengthening a few runways here and there in existing facilities. But the problem is even though aviation capacity is growing nationally at our existing facilities, they're all constrained, meaning that aviation traffic has to be moved to new airports in new air space.

Mr. Speaker, 2.8 million new jobs associated with the service-based economy, if the Congress of the United States can find a way to enter into public-private partnership, if State governments can find a way to enter into public-private partnerships, that is, taking the best of public oversight with private ingenuity and capital, buying land, leasing it to the private sector like a TIFF or enterprise zone, allowing airport developers to put an airport on existing land and begin the process of generating jobs, this is the stimulus.

Airports generate economic activity in communities that desperately need them. Building airports is consistent and compatible with the goals of the President in this stimulus. It's stimulative by creating jobs and developing infrastructure and expanding aviation capacity.

In Chicago, a third airport as a unique public-private partnership would be the biggest job generator in the region for my congressional district. In some of the communities in my congressional district--I've been here for 14 years--there were 60 people for every one job when I got to Congress. Today, in some of those communities, there are still 60 people for every one job.

Why? Because Wal-Mart is not the answer. Another drugstore is not the answer. Another liquor store is not the answer. Incremental, small businesses, sure, we welcome small businesses, but we need some big businesses on the south side of Chicago. We need growth. We need development. If we have growth and development, our crime rate will go down. People can afford their homes because they will be working, and they can pay taxes and they can pay their mortgages. And because they're paying their taxes, their schools can subsequently flourish.

But it's one thing in a stimulus bill to be fighting for unemployment compensation--I'm for that. It's one thing in a stimulus bill to be fighting for more health care for those who lose their jobs and are uninsured--I'm for that. I'm for all of the programs that make sense in the stimulus bill, but we need a jobs bill.

And so the infrastructure components of the stimulus bill are most attractive to me, the infrastructure components, the permanent, lasting components so that decent men and women in this country can get up every morning and do exactly what we do, go to work. The American people want to work. They don't want a handout.

They're looking to this Congress not to be Democrat and Republican and bickering back and forth. They're looking for us to come up with a solution to a real problem, not with hints of the past, pre-Civil War arguments about the Federal Government shouldn't be involved in the lives of the American people. We didn't have a problem with them being involved after 9/11. We didn't have a problem with them being involved after the Great Depression.

There are these moments in the history of our Nation when we look to our Nation and the source of our strength, our faith in each other, our faith and belief in country, our faith and belief in who we are that we can somehow rise above our petty differences. That's what I experienced and witnessed over the course of the last 2 years in the Presidential cycle, in the election of the 44th President.

So with that said, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk with you about public-private partnerships and the approach to creating 286,000 jobs, with the hopes, Mr. Speaker, that you're listening to me today and that other Members in their offices are listening to me today, with the hopes that my constituents can hear me and the American people can hear us as we wrestle with issues that matter to them, not partisan bickering and division, but issues that matter to them, real solutions to real problems.

So the first thing I want to talk about is the public side of a partnership, and Mr. Speaker, the example that I have is the example that I've been working on for 14 years, and so I'll need my charts.

The late Congressman Henry Hyde and I, distinguished gentleman from Illinois who is now deceased, but I must say up until the moment that he expired Henry Hyde was probably the closest Member of Congress that I was with and to in the Congress of the United States. The late Henry Hyde took me all around the world and showed me how the institution of Congress works. I miss my good friend Henry.

Henry was kind enough to recognize that the south side of Chicago and the south suburbs had a profound economic problem: too few jobs, too many people who wanted to work, too few people interested in trying to provide them with a real solution to a real problem. It was Henry Hyde who helped me understand that the manufacturing economy had fundamentally shifted in our country to other parts of the world.

I knew it because United States Steel, which used to employ 22,000 people in my congressional district at its South Works facility, had closed, and those 22,000 people, while they lived next door to the plant, suddenly woke up without employment opportunities, without health care. And while Gary Works still produces high quality steel, there was nothing quite like the economic impact on the south side of Chicago when United States Steel closed. Henry Hyde understood that.

I asked Henry what was the key to his congressional district. I have 60 people in some of my communities, 60 people for every one job. In his congressional district, three jobs for every one person. Did Henry come to me and tell me my constituents needed more tax breaks? No. Did Henry make the occasional argument--and he did--that somehow welfare was bad and wrong? Yeah, he made the argument.

But most importantly, beyond the partisan bickering, which dominated the politics of the 1980s and the 1990s, Henry Hyde said the key to what's taking place in the northwest suburbs is the service-based economy.

Sixty years ago, there was no O'Hare airport in the northwest suburbs. In fact, those of you who travel through O'Hare, your baggage tag says ORD. It doesn't say O'Hare airport. It says ORD because it was called Orchard Field in DuPage County, not even in Chicago. It's just a big, old field outside of the metropolitan area.

He said, When the goose laid the golden egg, when O'Hare was built, it brought with it unprecedented economic growth. We extended the Kennedy Expressway all the way to O'Hare. We extended the CTA all the way to O'Hare. The mayor of the City of Chicago is advancing the O'Hare modernization program. He wants billions of dollars in future bills in this Congress to throw them at O'Hare. And United has expanded its terminal, and American expanded its terminal, and we built a Hilton and Hyatt and a Fairmont and a Doubletree and a Sofitel and the Rosemont Horizon. And communities that never existed before began popping up around the economic engine, but the goal was always to get to the jewel of the region, the City of Chicago.

The only way to get to Chicago is through O'Hare airport and through Midway airport. Midway's most profound problem is that its runways are too short for a 747 to ever land there. So O'Hare airport remains the crown jewel of our area.

Henry Hyde said, Jesse, O'Hare airport has reached operational capacity, but out in your area where they need jobs, if we can expand aviation capacity to your area, you get to lay a golden egg on the south side of

Chicago, Hyatt and Hilton and Fairmont. And we can hardly some days catch a taxi on the south side of Chicago, but if we build an airport, guess what taxicab drivers like to do. When they see you standing out on the corner here in Washington or anywhere in America with a suitcase, you can immediately get a taxicab because the cab driver assumes you're going to some local airport. It's the best fare even for a cab driver. The trip to the airport is the golden jewel of a hack.

So we began the process. I said, Chairman Hyde, the Federal Government doesn't build airports. State governments build airports. However, State governments build airports with the assumption that the States have in their budgets the financial wherewithal to actually build an airport. There's no State in the Union that's in a position to build a new airport. But George H.W. Bush, the former President, said we needed 10 new airports the size of O'Hare 20 years ago, and we haven't built one, and with each airport, about 286,000 jobs or 2.8 million jobs.

Every time I say that we need to build a new airport in this Congress, someone from the other side says, oh, here comes a Jackson earmark. A Jackson earmark? 286,000 jobs, a Jackson earmark? Oh, you can't put that in the bill, that's earmarking. You haven't worked out the local politics yet. The local politics? The State of Illinois lost 1,200 jobs a day in December, 36,000 jobs in the month of December alone. And I want an earmark? And someone comes down to the floor arguing about, why are you putting in an earmark? I didn't get elected to Congress to hear rhetoric about earmarks. 286,000 jobs at stake with just building one airport.

So the public side of the partnership has to be structured under State law. The Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission--how appropriate--we hope to start construction on the 200th birthday of our 16th President.

ALNAC, Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission, is a local airport authority that was formed through an intergovernmental agreement between its constituent members comprised of 32 Illinois municipalities located within the Chicago region. The Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission publicly solicited private entities to build and finance a commercial airport--there it is, public municipalities, 32 of them, solicited through a bidding process private developers to build an airport--at the site approved by the FAA in their Record of Decision on the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. After evaluation of proposals submitted in response to their solicitation, the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission selected the joint venture of SNC-Lavalin America and LCOR as their private development partners.

So now we have the public side, the 32 municipalities, the government oversight, making sure that the facility is consistent with the public's intent, and we also have private capital. Notice what I have said so far. I've not asked for a Federal dollar. I've not asked for a State dollar, yet. Public-private partnership.

ALNAC's private partners then submitted a comprehensive airport alternative concept to IDOT--the Illinois Department of Transportation--in 2004, 2004. Of course, everyone knows that our government and the State of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation in 2004, just like many of us are now realizing in very public ways, has not been a functioning government. But in 2004, we submitted the paperwork for the public-private partnership.

Due to their financing proposal, ALNAC believes that their alternative offers the best flexibility to provide for optimum land utilization, maximized cost efficiencies, and create better long-term planning for their private capital and investors, as well as airports, commercial stakeholders, and tenants. This is a really important part of public-private partnerships.

If we're going to have a public-private partnership, there is some give and there is some take. The private sector is not just in this for the public good, and the public sector is not just in this to restrain the private sector. The private sector must be able to make a profit out of a public-private partnership.

And so the appropriate balance between public accountability and the goals of the private sector, its investors, and its stakeholders is a unique balance that has to be struck in any public-private partnership.

Our proposal is analyzed and compared to all other alternatives in ALNAC's report, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, addressing the ultimate airport concepts, along with the inaugural airfield passenger terminal facilities and landside access concepts.

In short, the Illinois Department of Transportation determined that the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission had the Nation's first public-private partnership for building commercial aviation in the United States. A perfect model.

So, where do the jobs come from? Well, for nearly a decade now the State of Illinois has been acquiring land for this inaugural airport, albeit at a snail's pace. The public-private partnership is simply a business between the public sector and the private sector on the State land, like a TIFF or an enterprise loan.

Let's say, for example, you want to attract Wal-Mart to the south side of Chicago or you want to attract Costco to the south side of Chicago. The city of Chicago, the city of San Francisco, the city of Atlanta offers land in an area and says, Hey, if you put 300 jobs right here, we will give you tax incentives, we will give you tax rebates for however long, whatever the terms of the agreement are. And, as a result of that, 300 Illinoisans, 300 Americans, are somehow working because of the public-private partnership. Well, we are the same thing.

The State of Illinois has been purchasing land for an airport. But they cannot afford to build an airport. And the Federal Government does not build airports. So somehow a balance must be struck between the goals of the public to relieve national aviation, and the private sector, who has got the money. And the private sector needs to be able to get their profit out of the project.

What do we get out of the project? Well, remember, I said some communities have 60 people for every 1 job. An airport with one runway and five gates in this market, on State land, creates 15,000 new jobs. One runway, five gates, 15,000 jobs paid for by the private sector, with public oversight.

Why public oversight? Well, you just don't launch planes into the air. They have to have air traffic controllers, they have be integrated into the national aviation system. So the national aviation system is part of the process. The FAA is part of the process.

You have to have cooperation between the Federal Government. No tired arguments about Federal Government. You have to have the FAA in order to fly a plane. You have to have State governments. This land is owned by the State of Illinois. But the State of Illinois leases land all the time. But one runway, five gates, in a unique public-private partnership, creates 15,000 jobs.

Well, Congressman, how do 15,000 people get into a terminal with only five gates? Fifteen thousand people don't get into a terminal with only five gates. Fifteen thousand people come in the form of pilots, flight attendants, engineers, gate workers, maintenance workers, TSA, Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Dollar, Hyatt, Hilton, Fairmont, Radisson, Double Tree, the Zanzibar Hotel on Stony Island Avenue. Taxicabs, convention-goers, visitors, hardware shows, auto shows, trade shows. It comes in the form of people coming and going from the Nation's aviation system. That's one runway and five gates.

Within 10 years, the plan then progresses from a small terminal with five gates to, very quickly and very inexpensively, 13 terminals, 13 gates. A $400 million investment goes from five gates--one, two, three, four, five--to 13 gates very quickly. And every time the airport expands, if five gates equals 15,000 jobs, well, how many jobs do we think the next five gates equal? That's right. A 10-gate airport is 30,000 jobs. Still paid for by the private sector.

So now we have gone from 5 gates to 15 gates--phase one of the airport--at very little cost to the private sector. Phase two of the airport. While this part of the airport is under construction, you then build phase two of the airport. And then you build phase three of the airport. And then you build phase four of the airport. All using modular construction paid for by the private sector, with the finances of the airport reinvested in the airport; reinvested in the business, because that is what it is; reinvested in the landside development of the airport; while paying the State back for the land that it acquired from the beginning of the project.

So the taxpayer gets their money back associated from their initial investment in the land, the airport gets built, hotels, and tax bases expand, and schools are funded and people who work pay for their own health care or any other form of health care they choose to because they have a job.

I'm voting for the stimulus bill. But I'd like to see an airport built on this House floor that builds 10 of these monsters right here. Ten of them. And I am sure 2.8 million jobs will be created. This is just the initial terminal.

So, remember, our airport was phase one. We then built phase two. We accomplished additional capacity by just extending the terminal with a very modest expansion and very cheap expansion to 13 gates. And then we build phase four, we build phase five, and once this side of the airport is operational, then we come back to the other side of the airport, without any disruption in service, and we turn this very modest gate into a much more consistent and pronounced enterprise.

So, the initial long-range phasing of the airport, an airport of this magnitude, about 85,000 jobs to a local economy. In the service-based economy. No, this is not manufacturing, although there are still steel implications and glass implications for building airport terminals and concrete and asphalt associated with building airports. So there is some manufacturing impact associated with building airports.

No, this is not a computer-generated information-based economy, where people write software programs and participate in online chats and engagements of information, although there will be WiFi at the airport.

But airports are central to the service-based economy. The service-based economy. Different than the manufacturing-based economy and very different than the information-based economy. And very different, quite frankly--and I know some members of my staff are going to be a little upset about this--very different than some of the approaches even in this bill that I am supporting.

Yes, this bill has gone from a stimulus bill that was supposed to be stimulating the economy, and this is truly stimulative construction, to a--watch this now--recovery bill. The economy is so bad, we are now in recovery. And we still need even more stimulation.

But we are moving now from the language of stimulation to recovery because the problem is profound. But if we can find private developers anywhere in this country who are willing to put up their own money under public oversight to build public works projects, that is the point. That really is the point. Because the private sector, many of these corporations, do have the money, and are willing to put it up, if the State, if the Federal Government is willing to cooperate so that we can create jobs, move beyond the local politics.

I began this presentation, Mr. Speaker, by saying that there are unique moments in American politics, in American life, in American history, where we no longer look to the States; to the locals; to the old, tired arguments--tax breaks and Big Government and socialism--to doing something for all Americans.

Lincoln did it in Gettysburg and during the Civil War to save the Union. Roosevelt did it when he appealed to something greater in each of us to save our Nation and our economic system. President Bush did it after September 11th, albeit some of us had problems with the direction. But we did rally behind our President and behind the flag because of our sense of insecurity associated with those profound events of September 11th.

I'm suggesting to you, Mr. Speaker, that we can rally behind our President. But we ought to rally behind a new paradigm that makes a difference for all Americans. So, 85,000 jobs associated with this facility, paid for by the private sector, under public-private partnerships. Future stimulus bills ought to encourage them.

Mr. Speaker, it's not just about the traveling public. Serious airport design and planning includes the possibility of cargo, because there are tens of thousands of jobs associated with cargo. Handling mail, handling packages. The global economy. Moving goods and services throughout the world. Making it more efficient. Every time we add a cargo plane carrying cargo to our Nation's aviation capacity, it constrains commercial aviation. Every time we add a new commercial flight, it means one less cargo plane that can fly unless, of course, we are expanding and building new airports.

I'm particularly proud that this concept is conceived of by the private sector at no cost or risk to the taxpayers because the private business model pays the State and the Federal Government back for its investment in building the project. There are no airports in the country to do that. They are like sinkholes. They serve a valuable purpose, but they don't pay back the taxpayer for the public works projects.

Well, this is the example that I like to talk about. Airports. But this could be a port. Any port in America could be built under a public-private partnership model. Job growth in this country in almost any sector of the economy can be built under a public-private partnership model. Not a private-private partnership model, but a public-private partnership model.

Where does this airport go? Well, how about this: Because the private sector has an interest in profitability, they also have little tolerance for graft or corruption. They don't do political fund-raisers. They reinvest in their project for their stockholders and for their investors. They're in it to turn a profit.

You enter into a public-private partnership with the full knowledge that the private sector investor wants to make a profit out of the project. So when the private sector develops and plans an airport of this magnitude, they start with the entire land use scope as part of the project. They start with the big vision first, what the airport could become. An airport of this magnitude in the exact same space, 286,000 jobs, Mr. Speaker. There it is. That's what 286,000 jobs looks like. That's what it looks like. Nothing else that we've discussed on this House floor comes close to that. Not a tax incentive, not a tax break, not stopgap measures to help us recover. And we do need to recover, helping the poor, the disenfranchised and those who have been locked out. We do need to help those Americans who are suffering. But many of those Americans who are suffering also want full-time work. We need infrastructure projects like this that uses the private sector's money that pays the Federal taxpayer and the State taxpayer their money back in a unique public-private partnership.

So, airports usually designed by States start with big plans like this and they never find the money to build an airport of this magnitude. So what the private sector does, as I prepare to close, Mr. Speaker, they start with complete land use, what it could look like, how we get to the 286,000 jobs. And then they do just the opposite of what we do in government.

I really like this part. They start with the big use plan, they then scale it back to 1X, they then scale it back to various phases because they can't build the whole thing at one time, phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3. They only build what they need. And they work it all the way back to the smallest, least expensive facility that creates the most jobs that allows them to operate their business--one runway with five gates. And this one runway and five gates, that same one runway and that same five gates is right here, and this is the same runway. When it becomes a four-runway airport, they've wasted nothing. When it becomes a six-runway airport, they've wasted nothing. They've taken the big plan and they've scaled it all the way back down to the smallest common denominator and they're in a position to go to their investors and say, okay, we have public support in the partnership, we have private capital, only $400 million. That's what it costs to build one runway and five gates, $400 million. They're ready to pay for it. They're ready to put up their own money. And as their business begins to expand, they then move from one runway and five gates to 13 gates while they're working on phase 2. And then they work on phase 3. And they're constantly reinvesting their profit.

Not coming to Mr. Oberstar's committee or going over to the Senate looking for another earmark, more taxpayer funds, hustling around Capitol Hill, going to receptions, trying to get the Congressmen's attention. No more of that. Enough of that. The new model shouldn't have them coming up here every year hustling a transportation bill. The new model ought to free them to do what they do with public oversight and expedited interaction from the FAA. Not the old rigmarole. If we want a new Washington, set them free to build the economy. Set them free to grow. Let them do what they do, accountable for their money and their oversight within the rules of local public accountability. Break up the routine where, can I get an earmark this year? Can I get another earmark this year? I've got a worthy project. One more worthy project. And then when we support the worthy projects, we then get criticized for doing what we've been elected to do.

Mr. Speaker, the new model for all Americans, the new paradigm, is a paradigm of public and private partnership that creates a new era of accountability. We don't have to look back to the old America where we don't turn to our government for help. Sure our government can play a role. It can establish a new paradigm of participation for all Americans.

And so, Mr. Speaker, it is my sincere hope that my colleagues who are in their offices, who want to advance the idea of public-private partnerships, that they will look closely at the arguments that we made in the Congressional Record, look at our approach and our processes that we followed at the local level with complete transparency, so that we can grow an economy for all Americans that all Americans can be proud of.

I want to enter one more thing into the Record, Mr. Speaker, just before I yield back the balance of my time. I was reading in a local newspaper here that in the month of December, our Nation's busiest airport experienced the worst delays ever.

``Chicago's air travelers endured the worst delays in the Nation during December, as foul weather offset any benefit that airlines might have gained from a steep drop in flights at the city's major airports, new data show. O'Hare International Airport, the gem of our city and the gem of our region, reported the worst performance for on-time departures among major U.S. airports for December and calendar year 2008, even after the November opening of a new runway that is designed to help reduce the problem in the first place.''

Because it's not just a function of new runways at existing airports, it's about new runways in a new airspace. God has only given us so much space above this building. He's only given us so much space above airports. And so there's only so many circles they can drive around or fly around an airport. You have to build new airports in new space. But by building them in new space, it means that we change the habitual traffic patterns of people who normally go one way to go to the airport, they now have options to go both ways. And by doing that, Mr. Speaker, we create balanced economic growth for all Americans and all Americans can begin to participate in the bounty that is America.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I thank the leadership for allowing me this opportunity, and I thank the Speaker for his indulgence.


Source:
Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Thank You!

You are about to be redirected to a secure checkout page.

Please note:

The total order amount will read $0.01. This is a card processor fee. Please know that a recurring donation of the amount and frequency that you selected will be processed and initiated tomorrow. You may see a one-time charge of $0.01 on your statement.

Continue to secure page »

Back to top