Tag Archives: Obama

My kind of president, part II

Yes, please:

President Obama unveiled his administration’s blueprint for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines Thursday, saying such an investment is necessary to reduce traffic congestion, cut dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment.

The president’s plan identifies 10 potential high-speed intercity corridors for federal funding, including California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Southeast, the Gulf Coast, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and New England.


“My high-speed rail proposal will lead to innovations that change the way we travel in America. We must start developing clean, energy-efficient transportation that will define our regions for centuries to come,” Obama said at an event near the White House.

(Source: CNN)

More on the stimulus and transit

Tonight on PBS NOW:

President Obama’s stimulus money is nearly out the door and on its way to the states, but will it be spent in the way it is intended? One alarming example: Mass transit. Cities and states, strapped for money, are cutting back on mass transit even as it becomes more popular with Americans. Meanwhile, President Obama is calling for increased mass transit as a necessary step toward energy independence. Will the government’s investment dramatically revitalize our national travel infrastructure, or will states spend the money according to ‘business as usual’?

The show airs on KCTS at 8:30 PM.

Update: You can watch the show online here.

I’m a bus chick and I vote, part II

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?

Obama talks transit

In my last post, I complained that I had not heard any of the presidential candidates mention public transportation as part of the solution to climate change–or, for that matter, at all. As one reader pointed out, Obama did, indeed, talk about transit (and other alternatives to driving) at his rally in Portland last month.

Here’s the quote:

If we are going to solve our energy problems we have to think long term. It’s time to be serious about investing in alternative energy. It’s time to be serious about raising fuel efficiency standards in our cars. It’s time for our entire country to learn from what’s happening right here in Portland with mass transit and bicycle lanes and funding alternative means of transportation. That’s the kind of solution we need for America…

And here’s the video clip.

Well, how about that! (Hey, I may be late to the party, but I can still have a good time.) Here’s hoping we see more discussion of this issue–outside of alt-transpo havens like Portland–during the general election.