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Research Brief: Lessons learned from the Australian “asset recycling” program

As debate over President Donald Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan continues in Congress and the media, some are proposing that the U.S. look to Australia—specifically, that country’s “asset recycling” program—for a model of how to support a long-term program of badly needed infrastructure investment.

While asset recycling may sound like a new invention, it’s simply privatization rebranded with a new name—selling off existing public infrastructure to pay for new infrastructure. In Australia, asset recycling schemes have amounted to expensive loans with long-term concession contracts that have had problematic features, offering a cautionary tale for U.S. lawmakers.

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