Transportation Policy and the 2012 Presidential Election

U.S. transportation policy is something that very few voters have in mind when casting their ballots for the next President of the United States. The transportation infrastructure in the U.S. is aging and sooner rather than later, our President and their administration must make key decisions on how to upgrade, repair, and build the infrastructure of this country’s future. Those who have watched the debates and kept up on the race over the past few months may have noticed that neither candidate has talked much about their plans for transportation. The answer as to why is simple: nobody has a good answer for the people. Transportation infrastructure, whether it is upkeep or building new roads, bridges, etc., costs a great deal of money. As both candidates look to be elected in this time of large amounts of government debt, neither wants to talk about how they will go about paying for such projects. Current estimates from one congressional committee states that “all levels of government are spending $138 billion a year less than is needed to maintain the current system and make modest improvements.”

Although polls close tonight, it is interesting to see the differences in each candidate’s views on U.S. transportation infrastructure policy. Here is a brief summary of each candidate’s general plans, even if neither has an official plan laid out.

U.S. Presidential Candidates Mitt Romney (left, Republican) and President Barack Obama (right, Democrat).



  • Passed a bill to spend an extra $48 billion in highway and transit beyond normal federal spending
  • Attempted six-year, $476 billion transportation program using funds saved from ending wars in Middle East
  • Support of passenger railroad network Amtrak


  • Supports government and private partnerships to handle infrastructure
  • Favors more toll roads
  • Has called for ending subsidies for Amtrak

Whether or not this becomes a pressing issue for the upcoming President, some decisions will have to be made in the next term, and certainly beyond the upcoming term.



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