Trump Picks Road Industry Lobbyist to Lead Transportation Transition

So much for “draining the swamp.” Under Donald Trump, it looks like the White House and Congress will be more infested with lobbyists than ever.

Martin Whitmer, a roads lobbyist, will head Trump's transportation transition team. Photo: Whitmer and Worrall
Martin Whitmer, an asphalt industry lobbyist, will head Trump’s transportation transition team. Photo: Whitmer and Worrall

In a story about the lobbying bonanza that will accompany unified GOP control of Washington, the New York Times reports that Trump has picked Martin Whitmer to head his “transportation and infrastructure” transition team.

Whitmer is chairman of the lobbying firm Whitmer and Worrall, which represents the National Asphalt Paving Association and the Association of American Railroads. According to Whitmer’s bio, he was deputy chief of staff at U.S. DOT under President George W. Bush. While there, he advised the Secretary of Transportation on “highway, transit, trucking, safety, energy and trade issues.”

Prior to that he worked as a lobbyist for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the country’s largest industry group for highway construction firms.

This is someone whose job is to funnel money toward companies that enrich themselves through construction contracts. He’s not thinking about how to change things up so America has an efficient, affordable transportation system. Trump has indicated he wants a highway spending bonanza, and this hire is right in line with that.

  • Vooch

    “National Asphalt Paving Association”

    ironic or Ernest ?

  • Katherine Howe

    I think that there are some human centered transit ideas out there that do involve roadways. Take a look at what is happening in the netherlands, for example on the A10.

    http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/project/2016/27248/unstudio/a10-redevelopment-in-amsterdam.html

  • Elizabeth F

    “Association of American Railroads.” Could be something for everybody here. And maybe, just maybe, a Republication administration will give states wide latitude in how they spend their transportation stimulus money.

  • States already have wide latitude to spend their share of federal transportation dollars. They like to spend it on highways.

  • JKR

    Freight rail has been trying to get rid of passenger rail for decades from jamming up the railways with those pesky commuters trains and Amtrak.

    P.S. The South Shore (Chicago, South Bend) – America’s last interurban will be most likely discontinued within 3 years.

  • That is one reason why cities, counties, and regions have been trying to get transportation policies that would funnel more money directly to the local level rather than to state highway departments.

  • ad astra

    Believe it or not, this sounds like one of the more sane and experienced people working on the transition. Standard-issue Republican instead of Tea Party crazy.

  • GnomeCoach

    Flim-flam Trump plays tricks on his supporters in order to reward the top operators.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “This is someone whose job is to funnel money toward companies that enrich themselves through construction contracts.”

    As opposed to those who enrich themselves through defense contracts and government health care spending, and get pension increases when government education or police spending goes up.

    It sort of makes the libertarian case. Streetsblog goes nuts when the government spends on some things, others object to other things. The alternative to winner take all is federalism.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/the-disappearing-federal-government-bad-news-and-good-news/

    Most of those on this site wanted more federal spending. Be careful what you wish for. This may be nothing but an income transfer scheme away from cities, younger generations, less well off people. Or not. We don’t know.

    All I know is, much as I dislike those who run the state of New York and NYC, I’d rather than those decisions made at City Hall or in Albany than in Washington.

  • Eleven

    At least the titles are honest. You know exactly what you’re going to get. I rather have this scenario than a “chief advocate” from say the “Transportation Together” grey group. We have this in Massachusetts: a transportation secretary with zero transportation experience masked under the title “advocate”: Sec. Stephanie Pollack: and whenever you point out a glaring error in her work, you’re labeled a sexist or worst. The state literally had to hire an outside transportation contractor from Chicago at $350,000 a year because she can’t handle her tasks. It’s ludicrous

  • CeeTee55

    “Federalism” will never work for promoting public transportation, since rural states have an outsized voice in government thanks to the Senate, and thus can end up having their cake and eating it too.

  • They never think about others they just think that the money they are collecting and hiding from the country people they could take that to the HELL, I guess they must have made lockers in their graves and secondly I think LIMO transport should be every where as its long enough so that more people could enjoy the ride at the same time, LIMO has a class that everyone could enjoy with their loved ones

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