Issues & AdvocacyFederal
WHERE THEY STAND:
THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES
Transportation and Infrastructure
By Andrew Goldberg, Managing Director, Government Relations & Outreach
The nation’s surface transportation system affects everyone. Not only does it move goods and people across the country; it helps shape the communities it connects. Sadly, the nation’s physical infrastructure is in very poor shape. Crumbling infrastructure and rising congestion have hurt our nation’s competitiveness, reduced safety, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, outdated transportation laws have overbuilt our highways, underfunded public transit, and encouraged sprawl. This system has resulted in less livable communities and forced Americans into longer commutes.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
OBAMA. The Democratic Party’s 2012 platform states that the Party “support[s] long- term investments in our infrastructure. Roads, bridges, rail and public transit systems, airports, ports, and sewers are all critical to economic growth, as they enable businesses to grow.” In addition, it states that President Obama “has proposed …. a significant up-front investment in our infrastructure followed by sustained increases in investment paid for with part of the savings from winding down our overseas wars, together with reforms that will better leverage government dollars and target significant projects.”
The platform states that Democrats will “continue to partner with local communities to support their sustainable developments such as passenger rail, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and other projects to support livable cities.”
ROMNEY. The Republican Party’s 2012 platform states that “America’s infrastructure networks are critical for economic growth, international competitiveness, and national security.” The platform states that, “Infrastructure programs have traditionally been non-partisan; everyone recognized that we all need clean water and safe roads, rail, bridges, ports, and airports. The current Administration has changed that, replacing civil engineering with social engineering as it pursues an exclusively urban vision of dense housing and government transit.”
The platform states that, “Interstate infrastructure has long been a federal responsibility shared with the States, and a renewed federal-State partnership and new public-private partnerships are urgently needed to maintain and modernize our country’s travel lifelines to facilitate economic growth and job creation.” In addition, it supports “reform of the 42-year old National Environmental Policy Act to create regulatory certainty for infrastructure projects, expedite their timetables, and limit litigation against them.”
It states that “Securing sufficient funding for the Highway Trust Fund remains a challenge given the debt and deficits and the need to reduce spending. Republicans will make hard choices and set priorities, and infrastructure will be among them.”
THE AIA’S TAKE
The AIA’s Public Policies and Position Statements state that, “The AIA believes that planning and design that integrates transportation, housing and land-use policies at the neighborhood, community and regional scales are prerequisites to the creation of safe, attractive, walkable and sustainable communities. The AIA supports governmental policies, programs and incentives that promote well-designed communities and maximize public participation in a community planning process.”
In 2008, the AIA and the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies released Moving Communities Forward, a study authorized by Congress that shows how well-designed transportation projects bring multiple enhancements to communities in terms of economic development, health, the environment, visual identity and design, and public safety.
Bipartisan legislation passed by Congress in 2012 to reauthorize federal transportation programs reflects a number of the findings of the AIA-CTS study. It establishes national policy goals and provides incentives for communities to plan mixed-use development around transit. However, although the legislation maintains overall funding levels for transportation programs, it would reduce funding for programs that help communities provide bicycle and pedestrian paths and preserve historic facilities and systems.
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Government & Community Relations Archive:
This content is published by the AIA Government and Community Relations Department, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20006. To contact the AIA’s Government & Community Relations team, send an email to email@example.com.