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Vice President Joe Biden Visits Cleveland, Champions Infrastructure As Economic Booster

Vice President Joe Biden, at today's event (pic: Brian Bull)
Vice President Joe Biden, at today's event (pic: Brian Bull)

Speaking inside an RTA repair shop – as rain rattled noisily across the roof -- Vice President Joe Biden said without renewed funding, the federal government may soon cut back on reimbursements to states for infrastructure costs.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Highway trust fund….which funds state and local highway projects, is about to become insolvent in September. “

Biden spoke of the importance of modernized, rapid transit to neighborhoods and regional economies, referring to the communities of Little Italy and University Circle…that’ll see a new rapid transit station open next year.

"It makes businesses say, 'I want to stay here'…..it makes people say, 'I want to live here.' It makes great institutions like your great art museum to say, 'This is a good place to be.'"

Biden then chastised Republicans – namely Tea Party members – for impeding necessary investments to keep bridges and railways strong and up-to-date.

“There are those in Congress who lack vision, they insist...here’s the phrase: `We can’t afford to make these investments’. How can we afford not to make these investments?”

Most Republicans say they support replenishment of the trust fund, but there is no consensus on how to do that.

Biden appeared alongside Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and other local officials but made no mention of Ed FitzGerald, the Democratic candidate vying to unseat Republican Governor John Kasich.

Fitzgerald was campaigning in southern Ohio, an area where he still lacks name recognition.

He is likely to be on hand when former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual state dinner in June.