Kiddar Capital CEO Todd Hitt on Varney & Co:
Private Capital Drives Infrastructure Home
February 12, 2018
Kiddar Capital CEO Todd Hitt explains on Varney & Co. how the federal government can leverage private capital to fund infrastructure projects.
Varney: Joining us now is Kiddar Capital CEO Todd Hitt. Now, you say, Todd, that more important than the money being spent is the time frame by which you get approval. That’s your big deal, isn’t it? That makes the big difference to you, correct?
Hitt: No question. Private capital wants to come in and solve some of these infrastructure problems, and it is really teed up to do it, Stuart, but it needs to be able to move quickly, penetrate, and actually have something done. Regulatory reform is a big part part of the president’s plan, and we in the private sector really like that.
Varney: The trouble with regulatory reform is — look, I don’t have a problem with it — except that it’ll go to court... I don’t see how you get around that.
Hitt: It’s part of what I think the president needs to do is in passing this infrastructure plan, is there has to be a central regulatory organization that reviews this — like the Corps of Engineers. And really that’s not appealable. The Corps of Engineers does it, you get a two-year plan, everything has to be permanent in that amount of time. Private capital comes in, drives these things home, we start building these roads, these bridges, these ports, airports, et cetera.
Varney: Do you favor a gas tax to pay for all of this?
Hitt: Certainly the gas tax is something we can look at, and something everyone should look at. Obviously it’s a diminishing revenue stream over time. If it could help us get $50 billion of federal spending out of this, I’d look at it. I’m not sure it’s something that’s palatable to Congress, so I don’t think it’s something we should be hanging our hat on as a way to solve these problems.
Varney: I’ve got to talk about the public-private partnership. The president puts down $200 billion of taxpayer money. You’re going to leverage that to $1.5 trillion of actual infrastructure spending. How does that leveraging work?
Hitt: Shove this thing down to the local areas where it should be. States and local governments should be making these decisions about how to do this. I think what the president has created here, which I like, is a very entrepreneurial plan. It puts an amount of capital out there which he’s saying he’ll invest in local areas as they come to him with ideas and plans for doing this. Part of that is going to create these P3s, where local governments will have to reach out to the private sector and vice versa, where we create ideas and plans for solving these problems. They get presented to the federal government, the federal government approves them.
One of the things that I like about this plan is the timing mechanism. It’s first come, first serve, so states and local governments are going to have to really get moving on this, and establish people who actually will reach out to the private sector and vice versa and solve these problems.
Varney: Yeah, but it’s really different, very, very different from just shoving tax money out there — just here, go get it and spend it. Very different thing. We’re out of time, but thanks for being with us. We need you to come back again with some comments when we get the infrastructure plan later this week. Thank you, Todd. Appreciate it.
Hitt: Would love to do that, Stuart. Thank you very much.
This video was first featured on Fox Business on February 12, 2018.