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Bill Clinton, Eric Garcetti talk infrastructure investment

Former President Bill Clinton met with Mayor Eric Garcetti and others to find ways to improve infrastructure investment.
April 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Preparing American cities for the future is one reason former President Bill Clinton stopped by Los Angeles on Thursday. He met with Mayor Eric Garcetti and other leaders to search for ways to improve infrastructure investment.

Bridges, highways and streetlights are not the sexiest of topics when it comes to public policy debates. But Clinton says our country's aging infrastructure is too important to ignore.

"It is the greatest economic opportunity untapped that the United States has," Clinton said.

Inside Council Chambers at Los Angeles City Hall, Clinton and Garcetti sat down for a 30-minute discussion on how to get more money invested in infrastructure.

"Investments in infrastructure, which have a high rate of return if they involve energy or energy efficiency, are crippled primarily because the financing mechanisms of America and most of the rest of the world, as well as the distribution of political power, are organized toward protecting yesterday instead of creating tomorrow," said Clinton.

Thursday's event included about 200 guests. It was presented by the Clinton Global Initiative, which aims to solve pressing issues by convening with policymakers and private investors.

The discussion also included a question and answer session with the mayor of Atlanta, the governor of Oregon and others. At issue was how to get private investors interested in projects that will help America's cities.

"Infrastructure is no longer about infrastructure. It's about life itself. It's about figuring out when we improve a port, not just making it more efficient, but figuring out a way for ships to plug in instead of burning the dirtiest fuel on the face of the Earth, the bunker fuel," said Garcetti.

Garcetti and the others who attended the meeting will come up with commitments to action. Those specific initiatives will be made public at the Clinton Global Initiative's next meeting in June.


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