Vice President Joe Biden made a short stop at the Gateway Arch grounds on Tuesday, praising the Arch improvements as a prime example of successful partnerships.
Last year, St. Louis voters approved a 3/16th of one-cent sales tax hike to be used alongside federal and state grants as well as private donations to pay for improvements to the Arch grounds. The total cost of the renovation of the Arch grounds is expected to be about $380 million, with about $250 million coming from private sources. The current schedule has it on pace to be completed in 2016.
In a speech cut short by the rain, Biden said the federal government needed to invest in jobs, but added that the federal government couldn’t do it alone.
“Quite frankly, the federal government has never done it all by itself," Biden said. "We’ve never built all of this. What we can do to help is be part of the vision, to provide seed money for these projects.”
Biden briefly toured some of the construction.
The vice president pointed out that the U.S. ranked 18th in overall quality of infrastructure, according to the World Economic Forum.
"Did you ever think you'd live to see the day we were headed down to 20, in terms of what we could do and who were were?" Biden said.
In a statement before his speech, the Missouri Republican Party said the vice president should advocate for approving the Keystone XL pipeline to create jobs.
“There are now those in Congress and other parts of this country who say we can’t afford to make these kinds of investments," Biden said. "We can’t afford to be rebuilding our infrastructure. But I think that the vast majority of the American people agree that every generation of leadership in this country has understood that the infrastructure is the back upon which this great nation has been built.”
In a visit to Granite City in February, Biden stressed how government spending for infrastructure improvements spurs economic development.
Today Biden spoke for roughly five minutes. He concluded his speech by saying, "Let's get the hell out of the rain."
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel