We know it won't work, but Trump reportedly said as much according to the Washington Post.
Trump met with congressional Republicans and members of his cabinet on Friday when he said a public-private partnership won't work.
President Trump expressed misgivings about his administration’s infrastructure plan Friday at Camp David, telling Republican leaders that building projects through public-private partnerships is unlikely to work — and that it may be better for the government to pursue a different path.
Then on Saturday morning, Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser, delivered a detailed proposal on infrastructure and public-private partnerships that seemed to contradict the president. He said the administration hoped $200 billion in new federal government spending would trigger almost $1 trillion in private spending and local and state spending, according to people familiar with his comments. Cohn seemed to present the plan as the administration’s approach, although the president had suggested such an approach might not work.
That would the same Gary Cohn who belly-laughed when almost no one raised their hands when he asked a room full of a corporate executives if they planned to invest their tax cuts.
I digress. It's really not clear to me how a meager $200 billion investment by the federal government is suppose to trigger another $1 trillion in private investment in public infrastructure that, by its nature, does not generate profits. Even if you slapped a corporate logo on the side of a highway or a train tunnel, that's not going to cover the cost or even come close to it.
We already know how so-called public-private partnerships work out because we have current examples of it in the form professional football, basketball, baseball, and soccer stadiums. Most large stadiums are public-private partnerships that socialize the costs while privatizing the profits. The city or state usually ends up paying for the cost of construction for decades even after the stadium is eventually demolished or the team relocates to another city or even within the same city.
Those projects at least generate a profit for someone, but a highway never will and that's why
Gary Cohn's Trump's infrastructure plan is dead on arrival.
I bet there are some major Republican donors who'd rather not see more private competition for public dollars. They'd rather keep that money for themselves in the form of new stadiums because it's not as if cities and states have an unlimited amount of money. State money redirected to infrastructure projects abandoned by the federal government is less money for subsidizing professional sports teams and their billionaire owners.
With all of that said, the federal government is also broke and it could be difficult if not impossible to find another $200 billion for anything at this point. Republicans just passed a tax cut bill that will add at least $1.5 trillion to the deficit.
Adding the cost of the GOP's tax cuts and the response to natural disasters together, Republicans may be setting us up for an era of $2 trillion deficits. That doesn't include new spending on infrastructure or anything else.