John Mica is a polarising figure on Capitol Hill, and his stance on investing in infrastructure is similarly strident. “Number one,” the Florida congressman answered when asked where he ranked infrastructure as a national priority.
He is also adamant that if the US is going to maintain, as well as create, infrastructure, then the attendant funding is going to have to come from a specific source – the private sector.
“I’m a big private sector advocate,” he admitted in an exclusive interview with Infrastructure Investor. “If properly motivated, the private sector can produce transportation infrastructure faster, cheaper and more effectively than the government.”
His recently published white paper – Sitting on Our Assets: The Federal Government’s Misuse of Taxpayer-Owned Assets – is a testament to his faith in private investment as a remedy for public infrastructure. In it, he provided data to support his argument for privatising everything from highway construction to airport security.
Republican Mica is also chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a powerful federal government legislative body whose heavily reworked transportation budget – a two-year, $105 billion spending plan – was a hard-fought success, winning down-to-the-wire approval in Congress just prior to the Fourth of July.
As committee boss, Mica is a stalwart believer in the prominent role of transportation infrastructure – as well as infrastructure in general – as a prop to economic health. A belief, he explained, based on firsthand experience.
*To find out more about John Mica and his views on US infrastructure, be sure to check our keynote interview, published in this month’s issue of Infrastructure Investor magazine.