Publications / Policy Report

Soaring Construction Costs Threaten Infrastructure Push

By / 10.31.2017

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised a massive infrastructure program financed primarily by the private sector. Trump’s 2018 budget proposed leveraging $200 billion in direct federal spending into $1 trillion in infrastructure investment through private sector incentives.

However, President Trump recently retreated from this campaign pledge that private sector funding would be a cornerstone of his infrastructure plan, raising questions as to whether the plan would be financed through increased federal spending or if state and local governments would be forced to foot most of the bill. Unfortunately, this approach is likely to limit the scope of the initiative to a fraction of what Trump has described, as federal, state, and local governments continue to deal with the reality of limited budget resources. In any case, there’s a large obstacle to any ambitious infrastructure plan – soaring construction costs.

Bringing down the astronomical cost of construction in the United States, which turns even the simplest infrastructure projects into enormous fiscal burdens, would help make the infrastructure upgrade that America so badly needs more affordable.

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