Biden, Foxx show rolls to NC

Biden, Foxx show rolls to NC
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Vice President Biden is visiting a second state with Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE to push the Obama administration’s $478 billion transportation bill proposal on Thursday. 

Biden and Foxx are scheduled to appear together in Charlotte, N.C., a day after the duo visited South Carolina, an early presidential primary state, a sign of the vice president’s interested in entering the 2016 presidential race. 

Biden and Foxx are scheduled to speak Thursday at the Extravaganza Depot, in the DOT chief's hometown, on “the importance of investing in America's infrastructure,” according to White House officials. 

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During his visit to Charleston on Wednesday, Biden said a long-term federal transportation spending bill was long overdue. 

“Lanes designed to carry 10-20 cars per mile now handle up to 40 cars per mile,” Biden said of an interchange between Interstates 20 and 26 in Charleston that is in the middle of a $700 million renovation. 

Foxx, who is touring states from Florida to Virginia, said he picked the Southeast for his bus tour because the region is growing rapidly. 

“People have been asking, why would we be going through the South?” he said. “As we project out over the next 30 years, our nation is going to grow by 70 million people. Many of those people are going to be moving to the South.”

Foxx and Biden are pushing for an Obama administration proposal that calls for spending nearly $80 billion per year on road and transit projects over the next six years. The figure is a large increase over the approximately $50 billion per year that is currently being spent by the federal government on infrastructure. 

Lawmakers have begun considering a new transportation bill with the current measure set to expire in May. They have struggled to come up with a way to pay for the infrastructure spending beyond revenue that is collected from the federal gas tax, however, which is at 18.4 cents per gallon. 

The gas tax has been the traditional source of transportation funding for decades, but it has not been increased since 1993 and has struggled in recent years to keep pace with rising construction costs as cars have become more fuel efficient. 

The gas tax brings in approximately $34 billion at its current rate, resulting in a nearly $16 billion annual shortfall in transportation funding before an increase like the administration’s proposal is even considered. 

Transportation advocates have pushed for an increase in the gas tax to boost infrastructure funding, but the Obama administration has said it would prefer using revenue from taxing overseas corporate profits to pay for new construction projects. 

The current transportation funding measure, which includes about $11 billion in infrastructure funding, is scheduled to expire on May 31. 

Foxx is scheduled to wrap up his infrastructure bus tour with visits to Virginia and Washington, D.C.’s Union Station on Friday after his stops in North Carolina with Biden Wednesday.