Clinton: Increase road spending to boost jobs

Clinton: Increase road spending to boost jobs
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Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonObama and Trump haven’t talked since inauguration Perez, Ellison start multistate ‘turnaround tour’ for Dems Watergate reporter on Russia: 'I’ve been saying for a while there’s a coverup going on' MORE said Friday that the U.S. should spend more on transportation projects to boost wages for middle-class workers. 

"We need more jobs and we need good jobs.  So, why don't we invest more in infrastructure?" Clinton said during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

Congress passed a $305 billion highway bill last last year, but the former secretary of State and New York senator said the measure does not go far enough to address a backlog of infrastructure projects. 

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"You know, the debate that held up the highway bill forever, just seems so misplaced," Clinton said. "They're jobs that can't be exported. They're jobs that have to be done by Americans, and while we're at it, why don't we do what people say we should, and have tax credits and incentives for companies that want to re-shore jobs, bring them back, build the facilities here?" 

Lawmakers debated for the better part of a year before they reached an agreement on the five-year highway bill that was passed in December. 

The measure was held up while lawmakers looking for solutions to an approximately $16 billion annual shortfall in transportation funding and debated the future of the federal gas tax, which is traditionally used to pay for most of the nation’s transportation projects.  

The gas tax has been set at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993, but it has struggled to keep pace with mounting construction costs as cars have become more fuel efficient. 

The federal government typically spends approximately $50 billion per year on transportation projects, but the gas tax only brings in about $34 billion per year. Lawmakers used about $70 billion from other areas of the federal budget to close the annual shortfall for five years.