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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript: The Highway Trust Fund

Interview

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Let me bring in the Secretary of Transportation from the Obama Administration, Mr. Anthony Foxx.

Mr. Foxx, good to have you on the Ed Show for the first time. I appreciate your time tonight.

ANTHONY FOXX, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: It`s great to be with you Ed.

SCHULTZ: Why is this, such a political heavy-lift? This has -- a lot of America`s perplexed, that we -- just all of a sudden have stopped building stuff in America.

FOXX: Well, first of all your observation about the lack of construction is a big point because we`re still just days away from the Highway Trust Fund running short and going into insolvency and slowing or stopping many projects across the country and putting 700,000 jobs at risk.

The reason is, that we`ve got a real challenge around how we pay for the infrastructure we need. There is no free lunch here. And Congress over the last five years has passed 27 short-term measures.

They have looked under just about every mattress, turned over just about every rock to try to get our Highway Trust Funds stabilize, but we`re now at the point where we actually have to make a decision about the future and we`re pushing Grow America because the American needs an inflection point. We need to invest in infrastructure and we need to be doing more of it than we`ve been doing.

SCHULTZ: So, how bad do things have to get with roads and bridges in this country before both parties would come together and decide, you know, "We really need to do this". Where is the breaking point?

FOXX: Well, I think we`re there. We have, you know, more than a hundred thousand bridges across this country that are old enough to collect Medicaid. We have bridges crumbling. The Brooklyn Bridge the other day was crumbling, there are bridges all over America. There are roads all over America that need to be done.

In this past winter, we have record numbers of potholes across the country. And this is just unacceptable. The American people are paying the price already in wear and tear on their vehicles, on buying new tires and news suspension systems.

We need a system that actually cost folks ...

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

FOXX: ... and by investing we can do it.

SCHULTZ: Now, Mr. Secretary, when you go to Capitol Hill what do Republicans tell you? Those who just can`t come to the play -- what are they saying to you about this? Why won`t they do it?

FOXX: Well, you know, it`s interesting. You know, what`s going on in Capitol Hill right now as folks has scouring around trying to get a few more months to consider this issue again, but we`ll be right back here in next spring if it passes.

I think there`s actually bipartisan interest in moving forward on something. But some folks have boxed them in, boxed themselves in by taking this no tax pledges, this no increase in revenue pledges, and it starts to create a (inaudible) ...

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

FOXX: ... when you have something like this that actually requires money to work.

SCHULTZ: So, what happens if there is no short-term? What is the sort- term fix if the funding doesn`t get where it has to be on time?

FOXX: Well, right now tonight the House Representative is considering a measure that would patches (ph) through next May. But we`ll be right here again at the beginning of construction season next time. And many states and local governments around the country will find themselves having to decide next May whether they can go for with construction program and ...

SCHULTZ: Yeah.

FOXX: ... we`ll be probably be having the same conversation.

SCHULTZ: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx with us here on the Ed Show
tonight. Thank you so much, sir. I appreciate your time.

FOXX: Thank you.

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