Apr 12, 2023, 11:40am EDT
businesspoliticsNorth America

White House Infrastructure Coordinator defends American airports

Mitch Landrieu

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The News

White House advisor and infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu acknowledged that American airports need to catch up to other world-class ones, but said that last year's $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would help improve the country's airports.

"Many people in the United States when we travel overseas and you go to nice new airports and places like Singapore, Hong Kong and our airports are a little rundown," Carlyle Group CEO David Rubenstien told Landrieu at Semafor's World Economic Summit on Wednesday.

Landrieu acknowledged that a lot of the U.S. infrastructure is "old," but added that the administration has made "massive investments" in hundreds of airports "because we got to catch up."

"We've forgotten to invest in ourselves and all of our infrastructure is is old... and we're way behind. This bill is pushing us forward fast," he said, adding, "There's no reason why our airports ought to take place second fiddle to anywhere else in the world."

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Landrieu said that despite Congress being in political stalemate, Biden should get credit for pushing forward on major infrastructure initiatives not seen in decades.

"He put some real points on the board and passed some substantial legislation and notwithstanding Congress right now is continuing to fight about basic things like raising the debt limit," he said. "We are in the ultimate go execution mode on legislation that has dwarfed what has happened in the last 50 years."

Landrieu also appeared to confirm Biden would run for re-election in 2024.

"I'm for Joe Biden. He's gonna run again and he's gonna win again, by the way," he said.

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Step Back

Major cities in the U.S. have faced criticism for lagging on infrastructure. Biden historically compared New York's LaGuardia airport to a "third world country."

But LaGuardia is undergoing a $8 billion revitalization project, with some terminals already open. New York's JFK airport is also set to get a facelift.

In Chicago, O'Hare airport is also getting an $8.5 billion much-needed renovation.

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This post has been updated to attribute the quote of U.S. airports being "rundown" to David Rubenstien. A previous version misattributed it to Mitch Landrieu.