Four Democratic presidential candidates discussed infrastructure challenges at a Feb. 16 campaign forum billed as the first-ever to focus on the issue.
During the "Moving America Forward" infrastructure forum, all participating candidates agreed the nation needs to invest more to repair aging roads, bridges, transit, and other infrastructure, as well as building modern projects, but spoke more cautiously around the subject of whether to raise the federal gas tax for the first time since 1993 in order to fix them.
Forum participants included former Vice President Joe Biden, businessman Tom Steyer, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota.
Some of the comments highlighted by ARTBA from the candidates who were present on stage included:
- “We’re not going to be able to raise the gas tax, we might be able to index it down the line," Vice President Biden said.
- Steyer said the federal gas tax is “super politically sensitive.” He added, “What we are definitely going to have to do is raise taxes.”
- Buttigieg said he would consider a vehicle miles traveled user fee, provided individual privacy is protected. “We are going to have to graduate from the gas tax because we are going to have to graduate from gas.”
- All four candidates said they support more commuter and high-speed rail investment to reduce highway traffic.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) was among the many associations that co-hosted the forum. “It’s great to see candidates have a thoughtful, in-depth conversation around the critical issue of infrastructure, particularly public transportation and passenger rail, which provides millions of Americans with access to jobs, education, and health care,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said in a statement. “APTA members know infrastructure is a critical issue that impacts Americans in cities, suburbs, and rural communities every day.”
SOURCE: ARTBA Washington Newsline / APTA