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A Big Infrastructure Deal Faces a New Hurdle (OPINION)

A Big Infrastructure Deal Faces a New Hurdle (OPINION)

The tightening labor market could be a bigger obstacle than worries about budget deficits.
By Conor Sen
January 27, 2020, 7:30 AM CST

Democrats and Republicans seem to disagree about almost everything with one exception: the need to repair and upgrade America's shaky infrastructure.

Although it's difficult to envision big legislation passing in an election year, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she intends to try. One thing working in favor of a large infrastructure bill is that both parties have grown increasingly comfortable with running huge budget deficits. But that doesn't answer a pressing new issue: In the tightening and evolving U.S. jobs market, it might be hard to find enough construction workers. In other words, if money was an obstacle before, now it might be a labor shortage.

Big numbers have been tossed around, with some proposals for as much as $2 trillion in infrastructure spending. President Donald Trump has in the past proposed a $1 trillion plan. But that would include only $200 billion of public money, with the hope that it would catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars in additional private spending. Democratic presidential candidates, such as Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg, also have proposed spending $1 trillion on projects like roads, bridges and rural broadband expansion, though the money would come from the federal government... FULL ARTICLE

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