• Vice president, transportation secretary in Charlotte touting transportation

    By: Greg Suskin


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For days now, Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx have been on a bus tour through five states. 

    The Grow America tour is focused on putting the nation's crumbling infrastructure in the spotlight.

    Social media updates: Vice president Biden comes to Charlotte

    “We,  America, rank 28th now in infrastructure. We shouldn't be ranked 28th in anything,” Biden told a crowd at a former train depot in north Charlotte.

    In 30 years, there will be 70 million more Americans. Roads are already at capacity, and bridges need repair.

    IMAGES: Vice President Joe Biden in Charlotte

    Biden said just widening roads and adding lanes isn't going to solve the problems that a booming population brings.

    "You cannot lay enough concrete and asphalt to accommodate this," he said.

    Biden and Foxx instead spoke out about light rail and high-speed rail. 

    Follow our tweets from the event using #BidenInCLT.

    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en" width="300"><p>.<a href="https://twitter.com/VP">@VP</a> now stressing the need for high speed rail. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BideninCLT?src=hash">#BideninCLT</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GrowAmerica?src=hash">#GrowAmerica</a> <a href="http://t.co/1Kq6MMdwvN">pic.twitter.com/1Kq6MMdwvN</a></p>&mdash; WSOCTV (@wsoctv) <a href="https://twitter.com/wsoctv/status/568442214910697472">February 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    Biden praised Charlotte for expanding its light rail system and for pushing the new gateway station that will link several public transportation systems.

    The vice president said rail is the future of transportation.

    "There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get on a train here in Charlotte and be in Atlanta in less than an hour and a half to two hours," he said.

    The Grow America Act, first proposed last year, would pump $478 billion into infrastructure nationwide. It would be partly paid for through a one-time tax on currently untaxed corporate earnings.

    Foxx, who was also a former mayor of Charlotte, said there must be more choices for travel.

    “This is a vision that has been around for years and years and years, and now it's the time to do it," Foxx said. “If the traffic is clogged up on the highway, you're going to want a transit option."

    Republicans called the Biden-Foxx bus tour little more than a campaign stop.

    The Republican National Committee sent out a statement which, in part, stated, “The Obama-Biden policies of the last six years haven't helped the middle class, haven't made America safer, and have left the majority of Americans ready for a new direction."

    However, Biden and Foxx both called infrastructure building a bipartisan issue, saying it's critical to economic growth and job creation. Biden said high-paying jobs come with infrastructure expansion and investment.
    Foxx said communities where these systems are built and maintained also benefit.

    "We've got to take this on. We've got to have the courage at every level,” Foxx said.

    The vice president did not get specific on how that $478 billion would be spent or how much money the states would be asked to kick in to make it work.

    Next Up: