US President Donald Trump said he will ask Congress to pass legislation that produces $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, offering few details but saying that spending would be financed through public and private capital.
In his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening, Trump declared that “the time has come for a new programme of national rebuilding”.
“America has spent approximately $6 trillion in the Middle East, all the while our infrastructure at home is crumbling,” Trump said. “With this $6 trillion we could have rebuilt our country – twice.”
While showing that infrastructure has not fallen off the President’s radar, the remarks did little to clarify a timetable for passing an infrastructure bill or what such a bill would look like. Last week, Axios reported that Republicans were planning to hold off on an infrastructure bill until 2018.
Trump promised a surge in infrastructure spending during his presidential campaign, worrying cost-conscious Republicans but raising hopes among Democrats that they could find common ground on the issue. The most detailed plan from his campaign team, however, called for tax credits to private investors rather than direct spending, an idea Democrats and even some Republicans have criticised.
By promising legislation that will “produce” $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, Trump left the door open for a plan relying on private investment. While he promised spending would be financed by public and private capital, how large a role each source will play remained unclear.