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Trump Team Warms To Idea Of Infrastructure Bank

With two short months to go before President-elect Donald Trump becomes President Trump, his team is looking at ways to fund the infrastructure improvement that's become a central goal of his upcoming administration.

And one of the ways to do that is by creating an "infrastructure bank," an idea that was floated by former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's policy team and previously dismissed by Trump during the general election.

Now banker Steve Mnuchin -- who has been named as a possible Secretary of the Treasury -- says Trump's transition team is giving the idea of an infrastructure bank a second look, according to Bloomberg.

The basic idea involves setting aside an amount of money -- in Clinton's case, she proposed $25 billion -- to fund the infrastructure bank. The bank would then raise additional money for infrastructure projects with maturities, fixed loans that would help raise money for improvements to roads, bridges and water systems.

Similar institutions have been set up in China and Canada, Bloomberg notes. Mnuchin said it's one of several different ways the Trump transition team is considering to fund infrastructure projects.

“The economic priorities are clearly taxes, regulatory, trade, and infrastructure,” Mnuchin said. "We want to be in a position where in the first hundred days we can execute the economic plan.”

Trump's team hasn't offered specifics on a potential infrastructure bank, but it has said that the president-elect plans to invest as much as $1 trillion into infrastructure projects, which will "ensure we can export our goods and move our people faster and safer.”

The new administration also plans to offer tax credits to developers to encourage private financing of public works projects, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Regardless of how the Trump administration ultimately settles on financing the nation-wide infrastructure project, Trump has promised the largest-scale investment in American infrastructure in half a century.

Economist David Malpass, who is helping shape the president-elect's economic policies, said the plan not only involves attracting private investors, but also making it easier to get shovels in the ground by streamlining permitting processes and other bureaucratic obstacles to construction.

“What’s broken in the system is not the sources of financing for infrastructure," Malpass told the Journal, "but the obstacles to actually getting it built."

Sources: Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal / Photo credit: Musashi1600/Wikimedia Commons

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