Despite the fact that global warming, energy issues, and the economy are top-of-mind for most voters (the last day for online/mail-in registration is tomorrow, by the way), there’s been precious little talk about public transit in this election. Odds are, it won’t come up in either of the remaining debates, and that’s a shame–especially since campaign coverage focuses more on the “horse race” than on the candidates’ records and ideas.
Thankfully, the Brookings Institution has published a comparison of McCain’s and Obama’s transportation philosophies/policies. It covers, among other things, congestion pricing, the gas tax “holiday,” public transit incentives, and smart growth.
If you want more, Obama has a transportation white paper on his website. Some excerpts:
On transit funding:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden will re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country. Obama and Biden will work with state and local governments across the country on efforts to create new, effective public transportation systems and modernize our aging urban public transit infrastructure.
On transit incentives:
The federal tax code rewards driving to work by allowing employers to provide parking benefits of $205 per month tax free to their employees. The tax code provides employers with commuting benefits for transit, carpooling or vanpooling capped at $105 per month. This gives drivers a nearly 2:1 advantage over transit users. Obama and Biden will reform the tax code to make benefits for driving and public transit or ridesharing equal.
On smart growth:
Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars, to walk, bicycle, and have access to other transportation alternatives. As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to endure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.
Obama’s site also has a Public Transit/Mass Transit online group.
There’s no mention of transit (that I can find, anyway) on McCain’s site, and (unlike Obama), I’ve never heard him mention the issue in a speech. I could make assumptions–based on his Amtrak position and his general world view–but I’d rather have facts. Anyone got any?