VOL. 131 | NO. 35 | Thursday, February 18, 2016
Biden Touts Stimulus In Stop At Rossville Intermodal Facility
By Bill Dries
Vice President Joe Biden came to the Norfolk Southern intermodal yard in Rossville Wednesday, Feb. 17, to tout the seven-year old economic stimulus act and push for continued public investment in roads as well as railways.
The intermodal yard in Fayette County just north of the Mississippi state line in the Gateway Global Logistics Center was the second of three stops Wednesday and Thursday by Biden.
Before Memphis, Biden was at the Port of New Orleans. He is at the Union Depot in St. Paul, Minnesota Thursday.
All of the sites were among projects that got federal funding from the American Recovery and Investment Act or stimulus program as it was also known.
Biden acknowledged the stimulus was and remains controversial – “a dirty word,” he told the group of 250 gathered by two locomotives with green intermodal containers forming walls on two other sides of the area.
Biden noted the $814 billion in federal spending was “larger than the entire New Deal or the entire history of the New Deal” – a reference to the federal programs initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt to combat the Great Depression in the 1930s.
“It had to be spent, if it was going to do its job, well and within 18 months,” he said, noting that the federal funding for such infrastructure development often leveraged much larger amounts of private investment.
The Memphis facility along with a companion Norfolk Southern intermodal yard in Birmingham, got approximately $105 million in federal stimulus funding that leveraged a $2.5 billion investment by Norfolk Southern in its “Crescent Corridor” strategy of linking the northeastern section of the country with the southeast and in particular the ports in the southeast.
Biden argued that the country’s infrastructure is still inadequate and touted its renovation as the way to grow the country’s middle class.
The administration’s immediate purpose in the stimulus, Biden said was to recover from the worst national economic downturn since the Great Depression.
“But in the process we also saw a chance to lay a new foundation for competitiveness and sustainability in the United States of America,” he said.
Accompanying Biden on the visit was U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez.