Trump administration expects investors to inject $100B into poor U.S. regions

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is proposing rules for investors in a new program that it says could help revive economically depressed parts of the country. 

About 8,700 so-called "opportunity zones" have been set up in all 50 states to lure investors and developers with tax breaks.

The rules from the Treasury Department lay out the period of time that individuals or companies must hold on to their investments in the zones to avoid paying taxes on resulting profits.

The administration said Friday that the goal is to create businesses and jobs in low-income areas.

"We anticipate that $100 billion in private capital will be dedicated towards creating jobs and economic development in 'opportunity zones,'" Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "This incentive will foster economic revitalization and promote sustainable economic growth, which was a major goal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."

Neary a third of the 35 million people who live in the designated opportunity zones are impoverished,  according to the agency, citing Census data. That compares with a national poverty rate of 17 percent. Median income in these regions is an average of 37 percent lower than in less distressed communities. 

Critics say the new rules and the way the program is set up will benefit real estate developers and Wall Street funds, and will pull investment toward more well-off areas that need it least.