Biden says infrastructure is ‘a disaster’

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Joe Biden’s Thursday tour of America’s most iconic bridges isn’t any ordinary flyover tour. Rather, the vice president is hoping to showcase a key part of his plan to fix…

Biden says infrastructure is ‘a disaster’

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Joe Biden’s Thursday tour of America’s most iconic bridges isn’t any ordinary flyover tour.

Rather, the vice president is hoping to showcase a key part of his plan to fix crumbling infrastructure.

“New Hampshire, everybody knows it’s the birthplace of the American Revolution,” Biden told CNNMoney in an interview Tuesday. “And one of the ways you can say that is [that] the lead architect and the engineer for the revolutionary act was one of our top bridges in the nation.”

Those are very famous words: Thomas Jefferson, the country’s first secretary of state, designed the Cascades Causeway, built in the early 1700s and over the Ammonoosuc River in New Hampshire.

For a vice president accustomed to creating buzz for his ideas, Biden believes his Red List tour is a chance to sell it.

On Thursday, he will tour dams, piers and bridges in five states — New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky — whose infrastructure has been described as “a disaster,” “unfit for purpose” and “a cesspool of shoddy, substandard workmanship.”

Biden will get an inside look at the way Americans commute by using public transportation and “the challenges we’re up against just in terms of keeping our infrastructure from failing,” he said.

And while he travels through rural areas, he’ll try to emphasize that half of the bridges in New Hampshire need to be replaced or repaired.

To accomplish that, Biden has unveiled a “Blue List” of needs, which he called “a long-term solution for infrastructure in America.”

“We need to make sure that we’re putting people back to work,” he said. “We need to put our bridges back up. We need to put our water systems in order. We’ve got a lot of bridges out there that need to be refurbished, resubstantiated. We’ve got dams that need to be patched up. We’ve got a number of key transmission lines that need repair.”

One example: The 40-year-old suspension bridge over the Ohio River in South Lebanon, Ohio, which has piers breaking away from the wooden support columns. It was closed in 2017 and needs about $58 million worth of repairs.

Biden believes the Red List will demonstrate a good deal of the magnitude of the challenge.

“It shows you what a big deal it is,” he said. “You’ve got the bridge over the Ohio River. You’ve got the Ammonoosuc Valley. You’ve got two of the world’s most famous stone structures. And you’ve got a derelict dam in Kentucky. A derelict road in Indiana. A broken highway bridge in Kentucky. It’s just a huge breadth of work.”

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