To Fix America's Infrastructure, President Trump Needs A Man From Gahanna

Apr 13, 2017

A trillion dollars for infrastructure? That's what President Trump is pushing for the United States, and Gahanna real estate developer Dan Slane is one of the people trying to figure out how that might happen. 

"We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals," Trump said in his presidential acceptance speech. "We're going to rebuild our infrastructure - which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it."

That's a large task by any means. A report from the American Society of Civil Engineers says it would cost over $4.5 billion to improve the country's infrastructure, which currently ranks a D+ on their report card.

Slane says he was asked to participate in the project by members of Trump's economic team, including advisor Peter Navarro.

"The main role was to put a plan together that would come at the problem from a businessman's point of view, not a political point of view," Slane says.

Slane' thinks there are thousands of projects that need to be tackled across the country over the next four years. His job, though, was to just select 50.

"The whole infrastructure in the United States has been neglected for 30 years," Slane says. "So it's going to take a long time to dig out of the hole, but the point is to get started."

Brent Spence bridge in Cincinnati is one infrastructure project Dan Slane wants to target for federal spending.
Credit Flickr

For one, Cincinnati's 54-year-old Brent Spence bridge leading into Kentucky is due for $3 billion in repairs. That's more money than either state can afford.

He also wants to see improvements made in Cleveland to pipes for drinking water and sewage. Those repairs could also cost $3 billion.

"I want to focus on those projects that would create the most jobs for the least amount of money in the right locations," Slane says. "We don't need to create jobs in Washington, D.C. We need them in Cleveland and Buffalo, etc."

Slane predicts that the first 50 projects of the infrastructure plan would create 500,000 jobs, which he says pay $60-100,000 per year. That's a $240 billion boost to the economy from things like cement, steel and glass, he argues.

Slane says he supports a quarter-cent increase in the gas tax to help pay the infrastructure repairs, but he also could see some private funding for toll bridges.