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Mr. President, Please Help Us Build the Trump Interstate System

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Mr. President, Please Help Us Build the Trump Interstate System

Dear President Trump, 

I very much respect your recent efforts to address the enormous problem of American infrastructure. I appreciate the attention you are giving the problem, it’s one that I have been working to solve for my entire adult life. 

American infrastructure is the best investment opportunity in the world today, but the way that we pay for it systematically excludes innovation. 

Like you and your father I am a builder with a background in construction (modest in comparison to your own), and I have been piecing together a solution for American infrastructure since I was a teenager. This is something I am deeply passionate about, and my team has assembled a solution that we think you will find incredibly compelling and very sensible. 

We generate millions of dollars per mile of roadway, paying for the improvements without taxes or tolls! 
By our estimate, an average roadway improved with this method would pay for itself within a few years, and then provide significant new revenues to the public owner for several decades. 

We hope you will afford me a few minutes to share more about it. 

As you well know, President Eisenhower was a five-star General, a strong military leader who became a beloved President and ushered in the modern era of American prosperity.

WWII left us with the only functioning infrastructure and industrial base in the western world. Once our industrial capacity was no longer preoccupied with securing Europe, President Eisenhower faced a tough choice on how to maintain economic productivity with the newly available production capacities. 

President Eisenhower turned inwards, seeking a solution at home, and applied America’s production to improving America’s infrastructure. The Eisenhower Interstate System became one of the greatest gifts to the American public from a modern President, securing President Eisenhower’s legacy as not only a strong military general, but also a great leader and insightful, deeply thoughtful decision-maker. 

Mr. President, we can do it again, but we need your help! 

Since the Eisenhower system was finished in 1994, American infrastructure has languished. Funding has run short by billions of dollars per year for decades, creating a multi-trillion dollar backlog of unfunded projects. 

I admire your interest in reinvigorating American infrastructure, but respectfully Mr. President, what worked in the 1950s and 1960s doesn’t work for modern needs.

The public cannot bear more tax increases. The middle class is gutted and struggling to stay solvent. The poor are dependent and don’t pay taxes. The wealthy can transfer their money anywhere they choose. Taxes on fuels are regressive, and make less sense than they did before electric and other alternative energy sources became available. There aren’t many sources of untaxed capital that can address a problem this large, in ways that those being taxed will find agreeable. I’m sure you know this situation better than I. 

Tollways don’t work. Speaking frankly, they piss people off. There is enormous resistance to tolling, and tollways often go bankrupt because of how much people hate paying tolls. Only 28 states have tolls, and even if the remaining states accepted tolling, it doesn’t work for cities, and cities need new sources of funding too. Congestion funding isn’t a solution for cities, it only works on very small areas with controlled access, which doesn’t describe most of the need municipalities face.

At the same time that state DOTs and municipal Public Works Departments are struggling to afford basic maintenance, there is growing demand for expensive new technologies to support USDOT and commercial interests in Smart Cities, Smart States, Smart Highways, Public Safety Wi-Fi, Connected Vehicles, Electric Vehicles, and Autonomous Vehicles, just to name a few. 

However, since the Eisenhower System in the 1950s, by the ingenuity and inventiveness of the American people, we have developed amazing new solutions that can solve the problem today, prepare us for tomorrow, and stop an infrastructure funding deficit from ever happening again. 

Everything I have done for the last 20 years has been to solve this problem. 

Fixing America's infrastructure to make America great again and unleash the new economic engine for the next century is my personal endeavor, burden, and opportunity that I have pursued for 20 years now. Born on the internet, coming of age with a cell phone, I have spent my life finding this path forward so that now, at this crucial point in your Administration, I can share this solution with you, and together we can build the Trump Interstate System. 

We all know the work needs to be done. But we keep bumping into the same problem we’ve had for 30 years: How do we pay for it? Old, tired answers about taxes or tollways aren’t compelling. Everyone wants new infrastructure, but how do we pay for it? 

Let’s learn from another network the government built that ended up being the greatest economic engine in human history (so far). 

The internet was originally a DARPA project to improve national security in case of war. For nearly 30 years, it lived under the domain of federal funding. It was interesting, it was neat, but it was not an economic engine, and it didn’t contribute to the GDP. Outside of academia, it was a novelty. 

Then, something amazing happened. In the late ‘80s, the government started encouraging private investment in the internet. 

Companies started innovating on this platform, extending it, building it, and because of private investments into a network that was originally government owned, the internet is the greatest driver of prosperity and economic development the world has ever seen. Nearly all of the wealth created by Silicon Valley since the first dotcom bubble in 1999 is fundamentally dependent on the internet. 

Google, Amazon, Uber, and all the rest would never have existed if the government hadn’t gracefully stepped aside to allow private investors to transform the internet from a national security and academic research network into something we all love and depend on. 

The internet was created by the government, but the internet we depend on exists because of private investment.

Mr. President, will you please help us do the same with roads? 

Our Smart Pavement system makes roads pay for their own existence by turning the road into a digital sensor and connectivity corridor, supported by a distributed compute & store platform, that enables next-generation mobility services and applications. 

This digital mobility platform delivers new connectivity and data services that subsidize the free public roadway. Nobody ever pays just to drive on the road, but if they want the new stuff, they pay reasonable fees for the things they use. 

Initially, individual drivers will receive most of the new services through existing providers — cellular, insurance, entertainment — meaning in most cases, there are no new bills, subscriptions, or fees to the individual person who’s driving on the new road. 

By leveraging the demand for new mobility services to pay for the enormous need for roadway infrastructure improvements (autonomous cars will need a new network just like broadband and cellular did, after all), we can finance the improvements with no added cost to taxpayers and no toll to drive on the road.

We deliver these improvements using the same public-private partnership structure that is adopted, supported, and encouraged through the USDOT Build America Bureau. We replace the toll revenues with a huge diversity of new revenues from connectivity and data services delivered through the Smart Pavement platform. The number of ways to generate transactions through this kind of mobile sensor and connectivity platform are as innumerable as the ways people generate revenue on the internet. 

For all of human history, we’ve only ever had taxes or tolls to pay for roads — but now we have technology!

This is an incredibly powerful new opportunity that has only become available from the new technologies created from and for the internet. As traditional American transportation infrastructure is exhausted and in need of trillions of dollars of improvements, new internet-enabled and internet-enabling technologies are now available to pay for its replacement and upgrades. 

Mr. President, I am first-generation internet. I started using Prodigy and CompuServe at seven years old. I had Juno accounts and a five-digit ICQ number, I mined Bitcoins when they were $0.002. I grew up on the internet, learned from it, and matured on it. I speak the internet’s language, and have lived inside it my entire life. I understand it, for all its good and its ill.

If we can apply the internet’s lessons on building an open, extensible platform for connectivity, which can run countless applications developed by a diversity of independent creators, enabling incalculable transactions, we can use that knowledge — and the incredible power it gives us — to fix basic infrastructure and usher in a new era of prosperity and productivity. 

Together, we can provide the largest public investment in American history, without needing new public money. 

This intertwined need for multi-trillions of dollars of investment in public infrastructure, poised at the emergence of an entirely new mobile aspect of this beautiful, resilient economic engine that we call the internet, is a singular and historic opportunity. 

Together, we can create a robust, next-generation, forward-thinking mobile economy supported and enabled by emerging connectivity innovations while seamlessly delivering an enormous public good. 

Already my company has developed the Smart Pavement system and found a great business model that makes this possible. We are already working on several projects with several public agencies. We will be constructing the first sections of our Smart Pavement network over the next 18 months, and have a credible pipeline of thousands of miles of improvements. 

With your support, during your administration we can commit to 200,000 miles of Smart Pavement network on the new Trump Interstate System. Working together with what will grow into an entire new industry, we will share our capabilities to ensure that these technologies are available for everyone who needs them. 

Mr. President, this does more than just fix our infrastructure. 

Letting us work with you on this will fulfill your vision of being the greatest job producer ever created, employing tens of millions to rebuild our interstate system nationwide. This will provide training programs for new job categories of skilled labor that will persist for decades, helping mitigate concerns over potential job losses from automation. This will fulfill your commitment with Mr. Son to invest $50b and create 50k startup jobs eighty times over.

Improving America and fixing the American economy is not a partisan issue. This is something we can all agree on, that will benefit all of us, and create a unifying harmony of purpose and economic prosperity for the American people for decades. 

Mr. President, this is not an endeavor, this is a legacy. 

We build in America. We build local. We build sustainable. 

We create American jobs to build American infrastructure for the American economy. 

Because we believe in America. (Can I get an Amen?)

We have very strong partners — the best in the industry. We have the best road builders, the best network builders, and the best financing partners. 

We are bold, we are capable, we are smart, and we are ready to go. 

But to make this as big as it can be — as big as it should be, as big as America needs it to be — we need a partner in you. 

Mr. President, I have much more to say about this than I would ask an important man like yourself to spend the time reading. I hope that I have at least said enough for it to be worth your consideration of hearing more. 

This is something I’ve been working on my entire life, Mr. President. I strive to make America the greatest economy of the 21st century and beyond, for your children and mine, and every other American citizen. 

I have been obsessed with solving this puzzle my entire life, and as I have finished clicking the pieces together, you were elected President, and have repeatedly told us you want a solution for this puzzle. 

Mr. President, we have the solution for American infrastructure, and would like to share it with you if you will let us. 

Sincerely and with great regard,

Tim Sylvester

Integrated Roadways

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