Democratic Platform: Strong on Sustainability, Short on Transportation Specifics

With the Democratic convention underway in Charlotte, Streetsblog's Tanya Snyder looks for the transportation element in their platform, but finds it lacking. Sustainability refers to the economy, not to financing the infrastructure investments.
September 6, 2012, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Delegates (voted Sept. 4) on the Democratic platform. The platform doesn't say much new about transportation", writes Snyder. In fact, transportation appears limited to mostly vehicle technology and cleaner fuels.

"Moving America Forward" boasts of:

  • "accelerating permitting for transportation projects
  • promotion of advanced vehicles, fuel economy standards, and the greater use of natural gas in transportation.
  • support more infrastructure investment to speed the transition to cleaner fuels in the transportation sector"

In terms of infrastructure, it does call for greater investment in "new roads, bridges, airports, rail and public transit systems, ports, and sewers and Internet access." Snyder appropriately questions the 'new' roads investment.

Bikes, Sustainable Communities

Unlike the Republican platform, noted by The Hill's Keith Laing that calls for "using more money that is earmarked for transportation for road and highway projects, rather than other forms of transportation such as public transit or bicycling and pedestrian programs", the platform states:

"We 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."

In addition, it notes that "the administration is implementing the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to combat poverty in American cities and the Sustainable Communities Initiative, supports the proposed Growth Zone Initiatives, and has invested in green jobs training programs, community development, public and affordable housing, and homelessness prevention to cut red tape and help revitalize American cities."

In fact, there are numerous references to "sustainable growth" and "sustainable development", terms that don't appear in the Republican platform.

Snyder points to one serious omission in the 40-page platform, transportation funding.

"As far as I can tell, the Democrats have done exactly nothing to sustain the Highway Trust Fund. They've fought for more investments to come out of it, but nothing new to go into it – an inherently unsustainable situation."

Thanks to Streetsblog Daily

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Published on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 in Streetsblog Capitol Hill
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