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Trump wants U.S. borrowing binge for infrastructure

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Donald Trump says U.S. must fix aging infrastructure, and other MoneyWatch headlines 01:04

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.

Americans traveling on crumbling infrastructure 02:29

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."

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