Hillary Clinton is calling for a $275 billion boost in federal infrastructure spending over five years and the creation of an infrastructure bank, arguing that the measures will help create jobs while modernizing the nation’s ailing roads and bridges.
“Investing in infrastructure makes our economy more productive and competitive across the board,” she said Sunday at a rally in Boston’s Faneuil Hall, addressing a crowd heavy on workers from construction unions. “To build a strong economy for our future, we must start by building strong infrastructure today.”
Her plan, she added, is “a down payment on our future.”
The Democratic presidential front-runner plans to spend the next month laying out what her campaign is calling her “jobs agenda,” including ideas for upping federal support for research and manufacturing. Her jobs proposals will add up to the most expensive set of policy ideas she’ll offer up throughout her campaign, her campaign said. The infrastructure proposals will be funded with revenue raised through business tax reform, though an aide declined to elaborate on what those measures would be.
Clinton’s plan would put $250 billion toward direct federal spending on infrastructure, while the remaining $25 billion would be seed funds to launch what her campaign described as a “strategic infrastructure bank.” The bank would leverage the initial federal investment to support another $225 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees and other forms of credit. In all, Clinton’s proposal would end up putting $500 billion in public and private funds toward infrastructure projects.
Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have both talked up their plans for a national infrastructure bank while on the campaign trail this year, and it’s an idea that’s been part of Democrats’ campaign promises for a quarter-century. Bill Clinton called for one during his 1992 campaign and made some progress on the idea during his first term. Barack Obama offered his proposal for a $60 billion infrastructure bank during the 2008 race and has subsequently made a handful of attempts to revive it.
Clinton’s proposed infrastructure bank would also administer part of a renewed and expanded Build America Bonds program, which was launched as part of the 2009 Recovery Act.
Obama's Council of Economic Advisers estimated in 2011 that every $1 billion in federal highway and transit spending from his proposed American Jobs Act would support 13,000 jobs for a year.