US Infrastructure? Some Lessons From Canada

The Week Ahead

February 5, 2018

For Canadians, a national leader calling for a major infrastructure program has a familiar ring, as it was a feature of the Harper government’s response to the recession, and Trudeau’s program to make up for oil price weakness in the 2016 budget. With the bene t of some hindsight, these experiences offer some lessons for us in anticipating the economic impacts of a Trump plan to follow down that path.

First, forget about making adjustments to your 2018-2019 outlook for US GDP growth, materials demand, or equipment needs. Canada’s parliamentary system can move faster than Washington’s split executive/ legislative structure, and even here, getting infrastructure dollars out the door has taken a lot longer than anticipated. The 2016 budget’s construction windfall is still mostly to come, hitting the economy when it has already reached full employment in most provinces.

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