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Providing emergency aid to repair parts of the country’s intricate infrastructure network would do much good for the economy right now, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats’ hope for taking back the White House this fall, suggested during a virtual sit-down with CNBC’s morning crew last week.
A well-functioning surface transportation system is essential for the deliveries of medical and food supplies during the pandemic. To that point, Biden suggested pumping money into that system to avoid potential disruptions and restoring parts of the economy. This is an area where the former vice president and President Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term, seem to agree.
“The idea of putting people back to work is going to occur when we begin to really invest in America, when we invest significantly in infrastructure. When we invest significantly in all the research and development that has to be done to compete with, not just China, but around the world,” Biden said May 22. “We can build better.”
The former vice president went on to recommend the installation of hundreds of thousands of charging stations along highways for energy-efficient vehicles, investing significantly in high-speed rail and encouraging alternative mobility.
Biden explained he would back his ambitious infrastructure plan by reversing Trump-era tax cuts. As we reported, he proposed reversing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to fund a 10-year, $1.3 trillion plan. And regarding the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, Biden would look to secure new revenues. The trust fund, used to assist states with projects, relies on insufficient revenue from gas and diesel taxes.
Trump, on the other hand, said he would pursue $2 trillion for infrastructure projects through low-interest borrowing. The president has not proposed a long-term fix for the trust fund.
COVID-19 has been a wakeup call to many businesses. Knowing the location and status of freight makes all the difference in navigating uncertainty. Host Seth Clevenger speaks with supply chain visibility experts Glenn Koepke and Francis Roy. Hear a snippet, above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
In the meantime, state departments of Transportation continue to call on Congress to dedicate $50 billion in emergency assistance as a way to ensure agencies continue to operate without disruptions. State DOTs’ ask stems from a sudden drop in fuel tax revenues during the pandemic.
The transportation community is watching the candidates’ proposals, as well as Congress’ next steps regarding an economic stimulus. Since the pandemic’s paralyzing effect on the economy, Congress has signed off on trillions for institutions and sectors deemed critical at this time.
The crisis already has affected air travel and access to public transit. Everything appears to take place faster during a crisis. So, it is not difficult to imagine the chaos that would occur from severe disruptions to the highway system.
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
May 26, 5 p.m.: American Petroleum Institute proceeds with a summary of its weekly report on petroleum inventories.
May 27, 11 a.m.: FiscalNote hosts a webinar titled, “Second Half Check In - Where Does Congress Go From Here?”
May 27, 1 p.m.: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions hosts a webinar about electric vehicle infrastructure. Participants include Todd Allums, electric transportation specialist at Georgia Power; Jonathan Levy, senior vice president of EVgo; Charles Satterfield, senior project manager at Atlas Public Policy; and Jessica Leung, solutions fellow at C2ES.
May 28, 2 p.m.: Washington Post Live hosts a webinar titled, “The Path Forward: Travel.” Participants include Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue.
The leadership of the House Oversight and Reform, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Government Operations panels demanded the reinstatement of former Acting Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“We oppose President Trump’s removal of longtime public servant Mitch Behm from his position as acting inspector general of the Department of Transportation and urge that he be immediately reinstated,” the lawmakers wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on May 19.
Freedom is not free. Neither is infrastructure.
It didn’t need to be like this. So, in one word: D’oh.
The ongoing “infrastructure week!” joke obscures 1) just how outdated and dangerous so much of this country’s infrastructure really is, and 2) just how crazy it is that no administration R or D has made it a truly populist, legacy-shaping priority https://t.co/teS49X8SfO— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) May 22, 2020
The Last Word
It doesn’t matter where you came from. If you get a good education, you can write your own ticket.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson on May 19 at the White House
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