Sanders holds "Vermont Listening Sessions"

08/06/07 11:14AM By Ross Sneyd

(Host) Last week's collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis has a lot of people wondering about what kind of shape the nation's highways are in.

Senator Bernie Sanders says he's particularly interested in the condition of Vermont's roads and bridges. But he also wants to know how good water and sewer systems are, as well as other public infrastructure.

So he's going on what he's calling a weeklong series of "Vermont Listening Sessions."

(Sanders) "I wanted to get a sense, especially from some of our more economically depressed towns and cities around the state what their needs are. Because the truth is we can't create good-paying jobs unless we have the infrastructure to do that."

(Host) Sanders believes he's in a good position to help Vermont cities and towns get federal help in rebuilding old facilities and in creating access to emerging technology, such as high-speed broadband computer service.

That's because he serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

That's the panel that makes decisions about where to spend federal money for highways, water plants and the like.

Sanders says he knows how difficult it is for cities and towns to find the money to keep up services, let alone develop new ones.

(Sanders) "It's penny wise and dollar foolish and I say this having been the mayor of Burlington for many years. If you let your roads and bridges deteriorate, it costs you a heck of a lot more to rebuild them than it would be to maintain them."

(Host) Senator Sanders begins his listening tour tomorrow afternoon in Lyndon. He'll continue the week with meetings in Rutland, Bennington, Springfield, and St. Albans.

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