Democratic presidential candidates call for increased highway funding

Updated Jan 21, 2016

During Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Sunday night, all three candidates vowed that transportation funding would be one of their top priorities if they were elected to the White House.

In the first question of the final Democratic presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses, front-runner Hilary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Mayland Gov. Martin O’Malley were asked what their priorities would be during their first 100 days in office.

“… We have got to create millions of decent- paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure,” Sanders said, adding that his plan would greatly benefit the middle class.

“So, what my first days are about is bringing America together, to end the decline of the middle class, to tell the wealthiest people in this country that yes, they are going to start paying their fair share of taxes, and that we are going to have a government that works for all of us, and not just big campaign contributors,” Sanders said.

Clinton said her first priority would be to call on Congress to pass her plans “for creating more good jobs” in infrastructure building, as well as in the manufacturing and renewable energy sectors.

Clinton’s comments in the Sunday debate follow statements she made on Friday while speaking to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“We need more jobs, and we need good jobs. So why don’t we invest more in infrastructure?” Clinton said, according to The Hill, adding that the recently passed FAST Act doesn’t go far enough.

“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?”

Martin O’Malley, who is a distant third in the race, echoed the sentiments of his fellow Democratic candidates in calling for increased funding.

“We need a new agenda for American cities that will invest in the talents and skills in our people, that will invest in CBVG transportation, infrastructure and transit options, and make our cities the leading edge in this move to a redesigned built clean green energy future that will employ our people,” O’Malley said.