With the presidential election just months away, Democratic candidates are discussing their ideas on repairing America’s infrastructure. Though not heavily publicized, there are bridges and roads all over the country that are worn out and some even dangerous.
Democrats Speak Out
At a forum hosted by the nonprofit, bipartisan United for Infrastructure, four of the candidates participated in a question and answer debate. These included:
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Businessman Tom Steyer
- Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief, Jerry Seib, spoke first, outlining the current state of America’s infrastructure. The facts that he shared should shock every citizen and help us to begin taking these problems more seriously. A few of the highlights are shared below:
- 235,000 bridges are in need of repair. Many are unsafe.
- 47,000 bridges have been deemed as structurally hazardous.
- One in every 5 miles of roadway is in poor condition
Some of the candidates believe that as we begin to repair these deficiencies, we should go Green. Green building techniques are more environmentally friendly and they are more sustainable. The candidates all agreed that climate-friendly repairs would be best for the nation and thought they could be accomplished with the right approach.
Joe Biden had this to say: “I think you start off fixing broken infrastructure in a modern way.” His suggestions included installing half a million electric vehicle charging stations. He said it would be wise to not only repair the infrastructure but make it green while doing so. This would result in a more efficient and cost-effective infrastructure.
Biden’s $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan would reduce car emissions, create jobs, and ensure the Highway Trust Fund remains profitable and solvent. Many of his ideas follow closely the plans of the Obama administration. He said that tax increases would be likely but did not go into detail.
Tom Steyer was the most adamant candidate when it came to climate change. He vowed to create a “climate change emergency” his first day in office. He would like to see the parks, forests and wetlands included as infrastructure so they could also be repaired and upgraded.
Senator Amy Klobuchar’s plan was the most extensive and would include airports, seaports, schools, rural broadband and a few others. The cost would be around $1 trillion and much of the funding would come from taxing the wealthiest people in the nation.
Pete Buttigieg’s $1 trillion plan would include things like utilities, broadband, public transportation, and utilities. He has pledged that every city in America would have clean drinking water. He stressed the importance of making traffic safety a priority.
All candidates thought that light-rail commuter trains could be an important part of the environmental solution that America needs. The Obama-era American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was aimed at creating routes between popular cities like New York and Orlando. Biden, who claims to have ridden 2 million miles on Amtrak trains, says that this is not only good for the climate crisis but it alleviates freeway congestion.