Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says the U.S. government should exploit historically low interest rates and borrow hundreds of billions -- if not trillions of dollars -- to repair aging infrastructure across the country.
"We have to fix our infrastructure," he told CNBC during a phone interview on Thursday morning, citing what he called the "horrible" and "disastrous" condition of the nation's bridges, roads, tunnels, hospitals, airports and railways.
Trump wouldn't say how much the U.S. would need to borrow to help pay for such projects. Asked if the amount could be more than the roughly $500 billion in new infrastructure spending proposed by his opponent Hillary Clinton, Trump said: "You'd need a lot more than that to do it right."
The U.S. budget deficit already is on track to reach nearly $600 billion, or about 3.1 percent of GDP, in the fiscal year ending September 30. That's about 10 percent more than originally budgeted, due to lower-than-projected revenue collections and higher spending.
Trump famously borrowed big sums from banks and other investors over the years to build a real estate and casino empire that ended up in bankruptcy court four times. "I've always loved leverage," he reminded CNBC on Thursday. "Of course, a country is a different thing."
Given that interest rates the U.S. government pays to buyers of U.S Treasuries are near record lows, Trump added: "Yes, this is the time to borrow -- and to borrow long term."