Transportation issues barely a blip on candidates’ radar

| 2/15/2008

Perhaps the transportation network – often referred to by truckers as the lifeblood of the nation’s economy – hasn’t gotten top billing from presidential candidates so far, but a few direct and indirect transportation issues are becoming part of the discussion.

A quick surf of the candidates’ official campaign Web sites lets someone know where the candidates stand, or don’t stand, on transportation issues, oil dependency, the environment and immigration.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, stated Wednesday, Feb. 13, at a campaign rally at a General Motors plant in Janesville, WI, that he would spend $150 billion to redevelop transportation and education infrastructure, if elected.

In the Republican primary race, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has published four “guiding principles for strengthening America’s infrastructure” on his campaign Web site, calling for stimulus, safety, security and sustainability.

Sen. John McCain, R-AR, the front-running Republican candidate in the primary race, has campaigned for immigration reform, secure borders and a reduction in the reliance on foreign oil, but not for a specific transportation platform.

McCain has posted comments on his campaign Web site concerning fellow Arizonan Mary Peters, the current secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He said Peters is well known in Arizona and at her former job as Federal Highway Administration administrator for being a strong fiscal conservative.

The candidates have all answered questions about environmental issues, including the reduction of U.S. reliance on foreign oil, during debates and in their campaign remarks.

New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton has spoken about environmental concerns and dependence on foreign oil in addition to immigration reform, but is not specifically campaigning on direct transportation issues.

Huckabee stated during one of the Republican debates that he would work to end a federal pilot program that allows a limited number of trucking companies from Mexico to operate in the lower 48 states.

– By David Tanner, staff writer