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Reed says user fees could help fuel nation's infrastructure, Trump is not a racist

Congressman Tom Reed

Congressman Tom Reed says there is bipartisan agreement in Congress on improving the nation's infrastructure.

Reed is co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 48 members of Congress with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.

The caucus has released new policy recommendations to improve and maintain the country's roads and bridges. But Reed said they want to broaden the definition of infrastructure to include water and sewer systems, airports and transit systems, the power grid, and broadband access.

The Southern Tier Republican said these systems can be reconstructed and maintained through public private partnerships and user fees that reflect the imminent shift from gas-fueled vehicles to vehicles that don’t rely on gas.

"We have to recognize a shift in that population of vehicles and come up with creative ways to make sure everyone pays their fair share of infrastructure improvement and infrastructure maintenance."

Reed said infrastructure improvements will allow the U.S. to be more competitive in the 21st century economy.

President Trump’s language

Congressman Tom Reed does not believe President Trump is a racist.

The Corning Republican, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday, was asked about Trump's reported vulgar description of African countries during a White House meeting on immigration. 

Reed was not president at that meeting, but said he does not view Trump as a racist.

"In my interactions with the President, in my firsthand accounts with him, I see no evidence of that. How that conversation went down, how that was interpreted, I'm going to defer to other people."

When pushed by reporters to say whether he finds vulgar language objectionable, Reed said he hopes that Trump and all elected leaders use discretion when they speak.

Trump has denied making the controversial comment and the White House says he does not intend to apologize.

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