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Potential Presidential Election Outcomes for U.S. Transportation Policy
"The fate of some US transit agencies may be on the line in the upcoming presidential election," writes Matt McFarland. One expert cited in the article calls the election "do or die" for the public transit as transit agencies continue to deal with the fiscal consequences of plunging ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inherent to the entire discussion is the obvious politicization of transportation funding in the political climate of the United States.
"For most of my lifetime, red administrations have favored highways and blue have favored mass transit, but the contrast has never been as stark as it is today," Jeff Speck, a city planner and author of the book "Walkable City" told CNN Business. "[Agencies] just have to hope that a blue victory flips federal policy back to caring about poor people who can't afford cars."
The politicization of transit funding, in particular, was made all the more obvious by the recent news that a round of federal grant funding would exclude cities declared "anarchist" by the Trump administration, namely new York City, Seattle, Portland, and Washington, D.C.
McFarland also shares sources who call attention to the failure of the Trump administration to live up to its promises on infrastructure spending—a separate, detailed article by Jeff Stein published over the weekend identifies that failure as a potential boost to the Biden campaign.
According to other sources cited in the article, the 2020 presidential election carries far greater consequences than a few funding opportunities can convey—the two candidates' approach to masks during the pandemic offers another example of the differences between the two.
For more on the differences between the two, see also Planetizen's recent coverage of President Trump's and former Vice President Joe Biden's recent actions and words on transportation and transit.
- Trump Administration Puts Covid Funding at Risk for Transit in 'Anarchist Jurisdictions' (October 15, 2020)
- Biden Would Finally Get the Gateway Project Moving, Advocates Say (October 14, 2020)
- $1 Billion in Transportation Grants Announced by U.S. DOT (October 12, 2020)
- As U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Holds Back Economic Recovery, It's Time for Change (October 7, 2020)
There will also be a lot of transportation and transit planning issues on local and statewide ballots in November. Planetizen has been building up an archive of election issues to watch this November 3.