What Does Trump's Infrastructure Package Mean for the Energy Sector?

One of President Trump's key priorities is updating and improving our nation's infrastructure. On the campaign trail he promised to push through a $1 trillion infrastructure package and in recent weeks he has reiterated his commitment to this pledge.

Unlike previous infrastructure bills that have focused on funding for roads, bridges and ports, this package is more likely to include regulatory relief, loan guarantees and tax incentives for public-private partnerships.

Furthermore, the scope of the package may be broader than traditional infrastructure. Some lawmakers want to include transmission lines, pipelines, even power plants. Others want to add federal assistance with cyber security provisions that would help protect the critical infrastructure of our grid. Interestingly enough, some energy stakeholders would prefer not to get federal funding because these projects have traditionally been private investments. Instead, they would prefer to get help in the form of streamlined regulations and reduced administrative burdens.

Already the administration has signaled its willingness to help specific energy projects - like the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Notably, the boost from the administration has been regulatory, not financial.

While the question remains whether a large infrastructure initiative would provide the same kind of relief for other projects, the administration is likely to take this approach because it limits the cost to the federal treasury but still provides incentives for investments.