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Infrastructure Spending May Gain Attention in 2017

December 1, 2016

There has been much discussion about an infrastructure spending bill getting traction once president-elect Trump takes office. During his campaign, Trump often spoke about rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, though an exact plan is not clear.

One major feature of Trump’s plan appears to be involving the private sector. Trump has spoken about unleashing $1 trillion worth of infrastructure investment over ten years by engaging the private sector with offers of $137 billion in federal tax credits to those private investors who want to back transportation projects.

The tax credits are intended to help finance a significant share of the nation’s infrastructure needs and would serve as a critical supplement to existing financing programs, public-private partnerships, America bonds, and other funding opportunities. However, this may only work on some projects, specifically those that generate revenue.

Trump has also discussed a desire to explore new policy ideas. Establishing a national infrastructure bank is one consideration, which has been favored by Democrats. Also under consideration is the idea of taxing corporate earnings that are stored abroad when the money returns to the US and using that revenue to pay for infrastructure spending. This second option is more favored by Republicans, but regardless there appears to be a willingness to examine a variety of policy opinions.

Another part of Trump’s plan looks to remove or at least revise regulatory hurdles that unnecessarily impede progress. Though removing the red-tape would allow for more efficient progress, Trump’s proposal has not specified any details about exactly how this would be carried out.

At this time, it is fair to say that the consensus is that America does face a huge infrastructure gap which is primarily due to the lack of adequate and innovative financing options in the past. More importantly, an infrastructure spending bill may bring together the various parties as they all support fixing inner cities and rebuilding the country’s highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and schools.