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Bill Ackman to Trump: Launch 'the biggest infrastructure program of all time now'

Julia La Roche

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman, the CEO of hedge fund firm Pershing Square Capital, is now calling on President Trump to unleash a massive infrastructure program to bolster the U.S. economy that's reeling from COVID-19. 

"Mr. President, why don't you launch the biggest infrastructure program of all time now? Roads, bridges, and other infrastructure involve outdoor work that allows for social distancing. Doing so will put Americans back to work now in good paying, virus-safe jobs," Ackman Tweeted on Sunday

Ackman added that it can be financed with “near zero cost long-term financing.”

“Build costs will be lower because of lower commodity prices and less competition for labor. We can rebuild America’s infrastructure, and help support the economy to enhance the recovery from the virus,” he Tweeted.

The high-profile activist investor, known for picking up large stakes in publicly traded companies and pushing for changes from management, asserted that Trump would get bipartisan support on this issue.

"You will get unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans and give us hope for the future. Let's get a good many of our fellow Americans working again in all 50 states while those of us with desk jobs work from home," he Tweeted. "What better time is there to build roads, bridges and tunnels when traffic is way down?" 

Bill Ackman, chief executive officer and portfolio manager at Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the SALT conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Richard Brian

This isn't the first time Ackman has suggested Trump tackle the country's infrastructure problem. Speaking at the 2017 SALT Conference, he suggested that one way to help Trump turn around his presidency is to launch "the most significant infrastructure program" and spend every dollar incredibly carefully.

In recent weeks, Ackman has become unusually active on Twitter, offering suggestions for Trump to address the growing pandemic. 

On March 18, Ackman made waves when he took to his dormant Twitter account to call for Trump to shut down the U.S. for several weeks. Ackman said the government should offer a "30-day rent, interest and tax holiday for all" as COVID-19 infections wreak havoc on the economy. 

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, Ackman said he's turned "very bullish" on the belief that the country would go into lockdown and minimize the impact of the virus. As such, Pershing Square put more than $2 billion from a profitable hedge in credit default swaps to work in the stock market, scooping up more shares in companies Agilent (A), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B), Lowe's (LOW), Hilton Hotels (HLT), Restaurant Brands (QSR), and re-entering its investment in Starbucks (SBUX). 

"We're very bullish, and we do think there are certain companies obviously, we like more than others," Ackman told Yahoo Finance in an interview on Monday. "You've got to have a strong balance sheet to withstand the current environment."

In a letter to investors on March 26, Ackman noted that the profits from the hedges were about equal to the mark-to-market losses suffered by the equity portfolio. Through March 24, Pershing Square Holdings, the hedge fund’s publicly-traded vehicle, is up 0.2%.

Coronavirus pandemic.

Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter