Biden: 'We Can Take Millions of Vehicles Off the Road if...'

Susan Jones | September 5, 2019 | 5:42am EDT
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Traffic backs up along a busy section of the Cross Bronx Expresswayin Brooklyn, New York. in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

( - Former Vice President Joe Biden told a CNN town hall on climate change Wednesday night that he endorses high-speed rail as a way to "take millions of vehicles off the road."

"Everything is incremental," Biden said.

For example, you talked earlier about transportation. I've been pushing really hard for mass transit and for rail. We can take millions of vehicles off the road if we had high-speed rail. I've been a champion of that for the last 25 years.

We know the corridors where we could do that. It would literally take millions of vehicles off the road. But you have to have a rail system that makes people say, if I get on that rail, I will get there as fast as I would have gotten had I driven, and I can afford to do it relative to the cost of my driving. There's a direct correlation.

This is something I spent the bulk of my career on, trying to save Amtrak and a few other little things like transportation. But my point is that there are things that we can do now, -- now -- that can begin to change the arc in a significant way. And as we, in fact, invest in the science and the technology and the changes that are available and will come to fruition, in fact, we can make it significantly better.

Host Anderson Cooper asked Biden, "Will there be a point, or would you like there to be a point -- and if so, when -- that everybody drives an electric car or has to drive an electric car?"

Biden responded, "Well, I think, look -- that's going to be based upon whether or not we can make it economically feasible. And it is economically feasible, because guess what? Everybody knows where the world is going.

"You're not -- just like, you know -- we set out the rules for what kind of plant, you know, coal-burning plants. No one is going to build another coal-burning -- we've got to shut down the ones down we have, but no one is going to build a new one. Guess what? They're not efficient relative to what else is available to be done.

"That's why people are going to move, and that's why it's going to create so many new jobs for us. We have to take the -- take combustion engine vehicles off the road as rapidly as we can. But that also can create a significant number of jobs and opportunities for people."

Earlier in the town hall, Biden proposed building "500,000 charging stations" for electric cars "in the new green economy."

"We should own -- we should own the electric vehicle market," he said.


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