The Federal Capital Budget and Lessons for a National Infrastructure Bank

Emilia Istrate
Emilia Istrate Senior Research Associate and Associate Fellow

June 10, 2009

At an expert roundtable at the Brookings Institution, Emilia Istrate discussed the federal capital budget idea and lessons for the current National Infrastructure Bank proposals.

Istrate argued that the while federal capital budget is an ambitious and wide-ranging change to the federal budget, it comes with more problems than solutions. A National Infrastructure Bank, on the other hand, would be a much smaller endeavor than a federal capital budget. Designed appropriately and with sufficient political autonomy, the National Infrastructure Bank would be a targeted mechanism for federal investment in projects of metropolitan and national significance. The experience of the federal capital budget shows that any progress towards a National Infrastructure Bank can be achieved only if the idea gains support both in Congress and from the Obama administration.