Wall Street, Washington talk nice -- for a change

Wall Street's "Charging Bull" statue

Kai Ryssdal: So long as we're talking about government spending and cans being kicked down the road, here's something: Infrastructure. We need it. Repairs to what's there, and new stuff, as well.

So it's good news that no punches were thrown between hedge fund managers and Treasury officials meeting to talk about a national infrastructure bank. A lot of people say spending on big projects like that is a key to economic growth. The challenge being how to bring private capital to big public works when there's no extra government money to be had.

Our New York bureau chief Heidi Moore reports.

Heidi Moore: As an adviser to New York's retirement funds, Joyce Miller saw the pitfalls of trying to invest pension money in public works. Government and finance didn't always mix.

Joyce Miller: The two worlds not only don't speak to each other or communicate well, but they don't even begin to use the same vocabulary.

But now they're trying to speak the same language. Miller joined fellow bankers, hedge funds and pension funds at a meeting with Treasury officials. They discussed how Wall Street can help the government launch a national infrastructure bank.

It's the first time such a diverse group of financiers shared their opinions with the Obama administration about the proposed bank. The idea is to get Wall Street to lend money side-by-side with the government for big public projects.

Michael Likosky: There's a growing group of investors that wants to get involved in financing the building of new things: new roads, new bridges, new power plants, new wind farms.

That was Michael Likosky. He teaches at NYU and helped organize the meeting.

Wall Street has tried to invest in public works before, but it's always run into difficulties when politics interfered. Projects didn't get approved; the money lay idle.

Likosky: If you rush ahead and let the politics solve themselves later, then the deals fall apart.

There's a lot of broken infrastructure in America that could use help. At least one Wall Street banker at yesterday's meeting says what he wants to see is not more financing for the projects, but someone to approve them.

In New York, I'm Heidi Moore for Marketplace.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.
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Oh boy! Just read the Rolling Stone article on what Price Waterhouse Cooper did to Jefferson County, Alabama... They fleeced the county of hundreds of millions of dollars. Every man, woman, and child has been left with a $2,000 + bill each to pay off. Under court order, PWC returned a couple of hundred million dollars or so, but still walked away very profitable from the venture. Public infrastructure is the last remaining wealth of our nation. Wall Street has robbed us of the wealth of our homes. Previously, they stole our wealth with banking and credit scams, and now that won't to fleece America's last remaining wealth.

I don't recall any banks participating in the building of the National Highway System; why do we need them to participate in repairing it?

You've got to be kidding me. It wasn't enough for you to let the elitist capitalist finance geniuses on wall street ruin millions of peoples lives. Now you want to let them complete their destruction of this country by letting them destroy all of us through the government. Brilliant. Let the People's Revolution begin!!!!!!!

NO, NO, and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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