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VP Biden Expresses Disappointment, Anger Regarding Lack of US Infrastructure Funding

Sept. 16, 2013. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' photo by Tracy Robillard, via FlickrSpeaking at the “America Answers: Improving How We Get From Here To There” event hosted by the Washington Post, Vice President Joe Biden used a downright angry tone as he scorned the U.S. for scrimping on infrastructure spending.  The event brought together politicians, experts, and business leaders to discuss the future of American transportation. 

Among those speaking were former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Vice President of Business Development for Tesla Motors Diarmuid O’Connell, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, and former Transportation Secretary Andrew Card.

Biden lamented the fact that the U.S. had the most innovative, forward thinking transportation in the world “until recently.”  He took Americans to task for accepting low-speed rail, letting airports fall out of date, and losing the edge in terms of building cross-country highway systems. He told conference attendees: “It is just not acceptable that the greatest nation in the world does not have — across the board — the single most sophisticated infrastructure in the entire world.  It is not acceptable.”  

He is correct, of course. The current transportation grid has fallen into disarray due to petty partisan politics and voter empathy.  In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded the nation’s infrastructure a D+. This grade not only takes into consideration America’s deteriorating roads and bridges, but includes; drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, solid waste, transit, and wastewater systems. The report suggests that America must increase spending by $3.6 trillion before 2020 to be up to par.  

WonkBlog’s Emily Badger compared Biden’s disappointed tone to that of “an angry dad.”

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