- Advisers to President-elect Donald Trump are considering creating an infrastructure bank to handle the nation's investments in the country's failing highways and other public structures, Politico reported.
- During the campaign, Trump's campaign staff were critical of a similar proposal from Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
- Former Goldman Sachs executive and Trump transition team member Steven Mnuchin told the press that the idea of an infrastructure bank has been discussed as part of a general dialogue around tax, regulatory and trade policies.
The Trump campaign website had challenged Clinton's infrastructure bank plan because it would be "controlled by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, DC," according to Politico. Mnuchin, who is reportedly in the running for the position of Secretary of the Treasury, said all policy decisions are still in planning and aren't definite.
It is not clear if an infrastructure bank would be in addition to Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure proposal or would replace part of that plan. Currently on the table is a strategy for the private sector to get an 82% tax credit for their equity investments in revenue-generating infrastructure projects like airports, toll roads or utilities. Proponents of the plan say it would free up government funds for other projects, but critics maintain that it ignores all of the non-income-producing assets like school, police stations and non-toll-collecting roads and bridges. However, no definite conclusion about Trump's plan can be drawn from the few details offered up so far.
This latest news from the Trump team comes just days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent Monday pitching the country's infrastructure plans as a great bet for some of the world's largest institutional investors. Like Trump's plan, Trudeau said an influx of private dollars would allow the government to leverage taxpayer money into more projects, and he emphasized the potential for impressive investor returns. In addition, Canada has also established an infrastructure bank, with a starting $35 billion deposit from the government.
One major Canadian pension fund, the Caisse de depot, has already committed $3 billion to a $5.5 billion Montreal light-rail system that will connect most of the city to the Montreal airport. The Caisse will manage the project and has just recently narrowed the field of bidders down to five. The fund has contributed more than half of the rail's costs, and it is reportedly looking to Quebec and Canada to pay for the rest.