April 01, 2021

Rep. Seth Moulton On Infrastructure Plan, Working With GOP

President Joe Biden announced a major $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan Wednesday, with ambitions to repair 20,000 miles of road, 10,000 bridges, fix and expand public transit and rail, tackle the climate crisis and racial inequality, and hike corporate taxes all while creating millions of jobs to grow the economy.

We turn to Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, who represents the 6th Congressional district, and serves on the House Transportation Committee, to help make sense of what's in the plan and what it would mean for us here in the Bay State.

Interview Highlights

On President Biden's plan as a whole:

Congressman Seth Moulton: "My initial take is that this is exactly what we need. And, of course, we need to see all the details. Those are still being developed. But there's no question that we have a massive infrastructure debt in this country that we've got to build back better. We have a huge opportunity coming out of the pandemic to put money into the economy, food on people's tables by giving good jobs to Americans all across the country and come out with a much better connected America at the end of the day."

On "next generation" infrastructure:

Congressman Seth Moulton: "Yesterday, President Biden said, quote, 'You and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank or gas and a high speed train.' That's the reality that we should all be experiencing today. And yet we're the only developed country on Earth pretty much that doesn't have high speed rails. So, look, think about it this way. We can put a ton of money into 1950s highways, and maybe we'll get some electric vehicles so you can be traveling around in a brand spanking new electric car with an added lane to Route 93 and you'll still be stuck in traffic. Or you could be zipping across Massachusetts and zipping across the entire region at 250 mph in a high speed train."

"Everywhere else in the world, that's how they're traveling. And so we're really behind in America, and that's what I mean by investing in 'next generation' infrastructure, we should be able to get more quickly to where we want to go with less impact on the environment, a safer, more efficiently. Americans should have more options. And that's what we're really gunning for in this proposal."

On shovel-ready projects Moulton would like to see funded:

Congressman Seth Moulton: "The north-south rail link is unquestionably the most important infrastructure project that we need to do because it enables regional rail where you can live on the north side of Boston and work on the south side, which you can't do today. It's just unrealistic to be able to make that commute by car. And of course, the rail system is totally disconnected, so you can't do it by train. We're talking about getting around Massachusetts more quickly than you can today, not just by the commuter rail, but then you can by car. And we commissioned a study not too long ago that said that doing this project will be essential for Massachusetts' future. Now, you ask, is this shovel ready? Well, all the environmental approvals are not done. It can't start tomorrow. But I think it would be a huge mistake to only focus on projects that have been in the pipeline for so long that they're shovel ready, but they've been in the pipeline for so long that they're also outdated."

On the cost of the plan and the concern from Republicans:

Congressman Seth Moulton: "It's amazing how unconcerned they were with the price tag of the Trump tax cut, [which was] trillions of dollars. And of course, that didn't go to making our country stronger, building infrastructure, preparing us for the next hundred years, building a legacy that our kids can be proud of. No, no, no. That just went to giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and the richest corporations. So their criticism is totally hypocritical."

"But there's bipartisan agreement that we need to put more money into infrastructure. I think the key is going to be whether we invest in next generation infrastructure. As I've often said, this is a generational opportunity to invest in infrastructure. We can't squander it by investing in the last generation's infrastructure. That's why the details matter so much."

By:  Jamie Bologna
Source: WBUR