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VP Biden And Sec. Foxx Pitch President's Plan To Charlotte

BidenFoxx.jpeg
John D. Simmons
/
Charlotte Observer

The Grow America tour made a stop in Charlotte Thursday. Its headliners were Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. The duo pitched a major plank in President Barack Obama’s budget. 

Anthony Foxx is known around these parts. Before he was Secretary of Transportation he was the mayor of a certain city. He began his remarks by saying hi to Charlotte, and saying it was good to be back home. But Foxx was here on business, pushing the president’s proposal to rebuild or replace America’s crumbling infrastructure, "$478 billion of investment over six years in highways, bridges, transit and passenger rail." And rail was the focus of Thursday’s event. Foxx said train lines in and between cities were the only way to fix what he called America’s growing problem.

"The problem is," he said, "that we’re growing by 70 million people over the next 30 years." And a lot of that growth, he said, would come to areas like the South.

In order to accommodate that growth, modes of transport will need to diversify. That was the message  of Vice President Joe Biden. New roads, he said, are too expensive. The vice president said the answer can’t be found in the sky either.

"There’s not enough airspace, you cannot land that many more aircraft in a 24 hour period, at your great airport."

But connecting cities with high speed rail, the vice president said, would be a game changer and grow the economy. The president’s budget has received a cool reception in the Republican controlled Congress. With some GOP lawmakers saying it is dead on arrival. But when it comes to infrastructure, Vice President Biden said, that should be a bipartisan issue.

"A lot of Republicans used to lead the way on infrastructure. This used to be an overwhelming consensus on infrastructure. The only debate is how to pay for it."

Even if the president’s budget proposals are dropped by Congress, lawmakers will have to act on infrastructure. Secretary Foxx said the highway trust fund will again run out of money in May of 2015, unless Congress acts.