Infrastructure Plan Will Add $400 Billion to the Deficit, CBO Finds
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just published its score of the recently unveiled bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Though its estimates are complicated to decipher, they show the legislation would directly add over $340 billion to the deficit and cost nearly $400 billion when including indirect effects from a higher transportation spending baseline; neither figure includes interest.
As CBO explains, the direct spending, appropriations, and revenue provisions in the legislation would have a net cost of $256 billion. On top of this, the legislation would increase highway and transit "contract authority" by roughly $90 billion over five years and set the stage for a $196 billon increase over a decade.
Taken together, CBO shows the legislation would authorize $566 billion of spending and tax breaks, which translates to $517 billion of costs over the next decade. Offsetting revenue and spending provisions would save about $206 billion in budget authority and generate $173 billion of actual savings.
On net, the legislation would cost over $340 billion based on its direct effects. This is roughly in line with our prior estimate of the bill.
|Provision||Budget Authority||Deficit Impact|
|Surface transportation spending (CA)||$71 billion||$69 billion*|
|Transit spending (CA)||$19 billion||$19 billion*|
|Additional transportation spending||$184 billion||$162 billion|
|Energy and water spending||$89 billion||$76 billion|
|Broadband spending (NTIA portion)||$48 billion||$48 billion|
|Other discretionary spending||$139 billion||$130 billion|
|Other mandatory spending and tax breaks||$16 billion||$14 billion|
|Subtotal, Gross Costs||$566 billion||$517 billion|
|Repurpose COVID funds||-$43 billion||-$22 billion|
|Delay Medicare Part D rebate rule||-$51 billion||-$51 billion|
|Apply unused Unemployment Insurance funds||$0||$0|
|Sell spectrum and apply proceeds from previous sales||-$10 billion||-$10 billion|
|Require information reporting for cryptocurrency transactions||-$28 billion||-$28 billion|
|Extend fees on Government-Sponsored Enterprises||-$21 billion||-$21 billion|
|Reinstate Superfund fees||-$14 billion||-$14 billion|
|Extend mandatory sequester||-$21 billion||-$9 billion|
|Extend customs user fees||-$6 billion||-$6 billion|
|Sell Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil||-$6 billion||-$6 billion|
|Reduce spending on discarded medications||-$3 billion||-$3 billion|
|Apply pension smoothing||-$3 billion||-$3 billion|
|Subtotal, Offsets||-$206 billion||-$173 billion|
|Subtotal, Direct Net Costs||$360 billion||$343 billion|
|Increased Transportation Spending Baseline (CA)||$106 billion||$55 billion*|
|Total Net Cost||$466 billion||$398 billion|
The total cost of the legislation would be somewhat higher – roughly $400 billion – due to indirect baseline effects. The legislation effectively includes a five-year highway bill that increases spending above current levels. CBO assumes that spending will persist in years six and beyond, resulting in roughly $55 billion of additional spending by our estimates.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget will publish additional analysis of this legislation in the coming days.