VP Biden discusses state of nation's infrastructure in Nashville - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

VP Joe Biden discusses state of nation's infrastructure at NGA meeting in Nashville

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This week lawmakers have been trying to agree on ways to replenish the diminishing Highway Trust Fund that is about to run empty in the next month.

It's a topic Vice President Joe Biden spoke about at the National Governors Association meeting in Nashville on Friday.

"Today's infrastructure is in sad repair. The American Society of Civil Engineers says we need $3.6 trillion in investments in infrastructure by the year 2020 to maintain our needs, yet we only invest 1 percent of our GDP in infrastructure," he said.

Biden told the crowd of governors that manufacturers will move to where they can access modern roads, ports and bridges.

Gov. Bill Haslam said he agrees improvements need to be made.

"The fact that the nation needs to do that, particularly needs to have a Highway Reauthorization Bill passed, I think you'd hear every governor in that room agree with," Haslam said.

Sen. Bob Corker has been disappointed with the current bills on the table. He feels they didn't offer a long-term solution to keep money in the fund.

Biden added the bill is just a temporary fix until next May.

"Sen. Corker's addressing what he sees as a real need. We can't keep having the roads and bridges we have now under the current structure," Haslam said.

A few weeks ago, Corker proposed raising federal gas taxes to repair the system and reduce other taxes in return.

"Sen. Corker's proposal also has some accompanying tax cuts with it, which I think would be an important piece. If you're going to do one, you need to do the other as well," Haslam said.

Biden also condemned the political gridlock crippling the federal government and called on Republican and Democratic governors alike to lead the nation out of what he called "this mess." He said the politics and culture in Washington have become too personal and too corrosive.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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