As our elected officials on Capitol Hill continue to kick the can down the road on a highway bill, one presidential hopeful was caught on tape saying as much as he hates borrowing, transportation infrastructure might be one place it makes sense. Transportation Nation
has an audio file and transcript of an exchange between Republican Mitt Romney and a voter at a town hall meeting in Hudson, N.H., last week.
At the meeting, Romney said he doesn't like borrowing, but is willing to do it if there's a specific revenue stream to pay it back, such as tolls.
"You have to prioritize those things which are most important to you and infrastructure and having good roads and bridges and rail lines and air traffic lines and so forth are essential for a strong economy. I'm willing to invest in those things and even borrow in circumstances where there's going to be a revenue stream that pays it back."
Romney said when he was the governor of Massachusetts, he doubled spending in the state for bridge repair from $100 million a year to $200 million a year.
And of course, there's a video on YouTube of the exchange:
Another Transportation Nation article
noted that while governor, Romney "signed a reform bill to streamline and consolidate the operations of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the state Highway Department. The move was philosophically similar to recent proposals, by both parties in Washington, to simplify project selection and funding mechanisms in federal transportation."
Polls show Romney is currently tied for first place among the Republican contenders with Newt Gingrich.