- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

As he pushed a $500 billion federal investment in infrastructure, Vice President Joseph R. Biden said Thursday the American middle class is worse off today than at any point in nearly 100 years.

“The middle class has been slammed. They are in worse shape than they have been at any time since the 20s,” Mr. Biden said in a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina. “What’s the way to grow the middle class? Jobs. What’s the way to get jobs? Generate a virtuous cycle where you generate more opportunity, more employers, more concentration of work in our communities. And that’s what infrastructure does.”

The vice president and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx have traveled across the Southeast this week pushing the administration’s proposed Grow America Act, which would invest nearly $500 billion to repair the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, rail systems and airports. Such investment, Mr. Biden said, is critical to keeping the U.S. at the forefront of economic competitiveness in the 21st century.

While the U.S. is poised for wild growth — a contention frequently made by President Obama — Mr. Biden said the nation must concentrate on two areas to shore up the middle class and grow wages for average workers.

“One is … we better have the single best-trained workforce in the world,” he said. “The second thing we need is infrastructure. Infrastructure.”

The Grow America Act would provide $317 billion into highways, $115 billion in public transportation systems such as rail and make other infrastructure investments.

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