At times amusing and prone to blunders, our eccentric Vice-President, Mr. Joe Biden, has hit the headlines again. Following an endorsement by Obama, Mr. Biden is starting a nationwide appeal for a revamp of infrastructure in the United States. He visited a number of sites around the country speaking about the need to add and improve on the country’s infrastructure, if it is to keep up with the rest of the world.
While speaking in Philadelphia on Thursday he said heatedly, “If I blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you must think, ‘I must be in some third world country.’” He prefaced that comment with, “If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2:00 in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said ‘where do you think you are,’ they’d say, ‘this must be America, it’s a modern airport.’”
Biden Attempting to Spur Development of Modern Infrastructure
The topic that the Vice President has been discussing over these past few days was a large part of President’s platform while running for office, it was also mentioned in Obama’s recent State of the Union address. Earlier in his first term a nationwide railroad infrastructure bill was halted by Congressional Republicans, Mr. Biden is now bringing the topic back and trying to develop grassroots interest for infrastructure development.
Another comment Mr. Biden made during his Philadelphia speech: “Why did we lead the world economically for so long? We had the most modern infrastructure in the world.” We definitely no longer have the best or most modern infrastructure in the world, we are actually far down the list. For the years 2012-2013, the Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum ranked the United States 14th in infrastructure. The US rating has decreased since 2009 when Obama took office, meaning that infrastructure around the country is actually getting worse.
Biden’s Remarks Getting Mixed Responses
New York City authorities did not appreciate Biden’s comments, and felt like it was more of an attack rather than a call to action. Mr. Joseph Sitt, who heads the Global Gateway Alliance reacted strongly, “We are not in the business of finger pointed, we are in the business of investing in our airports and making sure they reflect our world-class city and region.”
On the other hand, its a known fact that airport, rail and other infrastructure in the United States are past their prime and no longer rival the world’s modern infrastructure projects. It will be difficult to convince Republicans of the viability of large infrastructure developments as most of them in the House and the Senate are wholly opposed to increased spending. Regarding the LaGuardia Airport, however New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo has announced a project upgrading the structure.