A prominent investment banker and economist has spoken out in favor of President Donald Trump's infrastructure investment program, saying it is the best way to help the economy grow and create jobs that pay well.
Daniel Alpert, co-founder of Westwood Capital, made the remarks March 13 in a speech entitled "The Case for Aggressive Fiscal Spending on Infrastructure in 2017," CNBC reported.
"The private sector has done all it reasonably can, yet the U.S. labor market remains a shadow of its former self. It is time to rebuild America," Alpert said, according to CNBC.
Alpert argued that economic growth, currently at 2 percent, was too slow. He further stated that many new jobs were being created in low-wage sectors.
"I do believe there is an enormous [amount] we could accomplish by pulling up wages versus pushing, by providing higher-paying jobs," Alpert added.
In its recent report card on infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure a D plus, just above a failing grade.
"This is not obviously going to happen unless the White House decides to honor its campaign promise," said Alpert.
Trump promised during the election campaign to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure.
"Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land," Trump said during his speech to Congress in February, The Washington Times reported. "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."
It remains unclear when the program will begin.
"The focus of our team is the regulatory, statutory and practice reforms. It just takes so much money to put a shovel in the ground," a White House official said. "That's what's holding a lot of these projects up."
Proposed investments in infrastructure enjoy broad support, although opinions are divided on where the money should come from.
"We also would encourage President Trump to scale back as much of the unnecessary federal costs in these projects as possible," Doug Sachtleben of the anti-tax Club for Growth said, arguing instead for the use of private capital.
A spokesman for Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who is the chairman of the conservative Republican Freedom Caucus, said Meadows was "very open to transportation spending so long as we can work out adequate pay-fors."
But Democrats believe infrastructure spending should come from the federal government. In January, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York presented the Democrats' 10-year infrastructure spending plan, which proposed that $1 trillion of federal funds be used in various projects.