The Politics Behind Our Nation's Infrastructure

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Philip Mark Plotch, Phd, Author, “Politics Across the Hudson” and Associate Professor of Political Science at St. Peter’s University, who gives an inside look at the politics behind fixing our nation’s infrastructure.

7/30/19 #2237







"Welcome to One on One. I'm Steve Adubato. You know, there... an awful... there's an awful lot to be said about infrastructure. I know it's not sexy on the surface. But if you dig deeper... important stuff. The gentleman we're about to see on camera will tell you about it. He is Doctor Philip Mark Plotch, who is author of a book called Politics Across the Hudson. He's also associate professor of political science at Saint Peter's University. Good to see you Doctor. Hey, thanks for having me on! Politics Across the Hudson is about the Tappan Zee Bridge? It's about the Tappan Zee, but a little bit more. It's about what it takes to build something today. As we know, we have crumbling infrastructure all over the metropolitan area, and we have had all sorts of different problems. We haven't had really many new infrastructure projects built in a long time. Yeah. So how does this...? Which is no longer called the Tappan Zee. It is called the? The Mario. After Andrew Cuomo's father. The Mario... It's not called The Mario. It's called the Mario Cuomo...? Mario Cuomo Bridge. Yes. Got it. Okay. So there's Andrew? The governor of the great state... the Empire State while we're taping in the Garden State. How the heck did they get this done? He's there at the Tappan Zee, now the Mario Cuomo Bridge, how did they get this done? So I started writing this trying to figure out why it was taking so long. It was... it had been about 30 years of studies. Like, non-stop study after study after study. It was, "What do we do with the bridge?" Do we build a new rail line? Do we build a light rail line? Do we build HOV lanes? Do we move people in clustered areas around train stations? Do we have high occupancy vehicles for buses? I don't know, maybe we were talking about high occupancy bicycle lanes at some point. So it's really one study after another. And the governor comes in, and he says, "We have to scale this thing back." Because what they were talking about when he... when governor, it was a $20,000,000,000 project. Which was completely unaffordable. Not happening? No. And what he's... Federal money? He was hoping... they were hoping for federal money. So what happened was the study started in 1980, and after about 15 years of more studies, the state decided they were gonna build an HOV lane. But Governor Pataki decided that wasn't good enough. The Thruway Authority wanted a new bridge. Governor Pataki succeeded Governor Mario Cuomo? Correct. Who tried to run for a third term. Go ahead. That's right. So Governor Pataki says, "HOV Lane doesn't really cut it. The Thruway Authority..."