The $1 trillion plan may use tax credits to spur private investment

By Aric Jenkins
February 28, 2017

President Trump once again called on Congress to upgrade America’s roads, airports and rail lines by $1 trillion without putting many details on it.

Speaking to a joint session of Congress for the first time on Tuesday night, Trump said he will ask Congress to pass a bill that would lead to $1 trillion in investments in a national infrastructure program.

“Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land,” Trump said of the initiative. “To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States — financed through both public and private capital — creating millions of new jobs.”

Trump has not put a detailed plan forward, but the phrase “public and private capital” seems to indicate that he will follow Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ suggestion that Congress give private businesses tax credits to stimulate infrastructure projects.

A white paper authored by Ross and an economics professor last fall argued that just $137 billion worth of tax credits would lead to $1 trillion in infrastructure expenditures over a 10-year period, though many economists argue that the credits would end up going to projects that would have happened anyway.

With Congress already looking to consider a contentious legislative agenda repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, setting a budget and enacting tax reform, one report said that a vote on the infrastructure plan may be postponed until 2018.

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