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American Infrastructure Bank and Fiscal Cliff

Our fiscal cliff discussion is dominated by partisan wrangling, the proper mix of revenue/debt, and raising and lowering taxes. These are all debates we should be having.

However, we must partner to grow. The federal government can turn to financial institutions, community groups, labor unions, and construction firms.

We should also focus on how the federal government can get more bang for its buck.

It is why President Obama included the American Infrastructure Bank in his proposal for handling the fiscal cliff.

We live in a world with dramatic need and few public dollars.

Every governor focuses on this question right now.

Our post-Sandy reconstruction effort, for instance, needs to leverage public dollars to restore our infrastructure and do great ambitious things at the same time. This is a manageable task, but we must prioritize it. Post-Katrina New Orleans had to learn this lesson about partnerships. We should learn from them and their use of partnerships.

Over the last four years, we have made public-private partnerships a federal priority. We can grow and cut by focusing on growth in not only roads, water and energy, but also manufacturing, buildings and real estate.

Public private partnerships cost less across the board and also attract the greatest amount of outside dollars with measurable results.

Michael Likosky JD DPhil (Oxford Law) Director Center on Law & Public Finance Institute for Public Knowledge New York University

Likosky directs the Center on Law & Public Finance at New York University, and is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He was previously professor of International Economic Law at the University of London, and has held posts and fellowships at Oxford Law, NYU Law, Fordham Law, Wisconsin Law, and Bonn.

He has written five books on infrastructure, energy, financial crisis and reinvestment, high tech and industrial growth, oil and gas, mining, and political risk: Obama's Bank (Cambridge); Law, Infrastructure and Human Rights (Cambridge); Transnational Legal Processes (Cambridge); Privatizing Development (Martinus Nijhoff); and The Silicon Empire (Ashgate).

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