The Obama campaign has fired the opening salvo in a new presidential campaign front: transportation.
The campaign released seven radio ads in key swing states, each playing to major concerns of voters in those states. The ad now on the airwaves in Virginia focuses on the differences between the two tickets on infrastructure spending. Here’s how Politico describes the ad:
The 60-second radio bit imitates a local traffic report and targets congested routes oft-cursed by northern Virginians: Interstates 395 and 66. The area is part of the sprawling D.C. region and consistently rated as having some of the nation’s worst traffic.
“Could things get any worse?” the faux anchor asks of another broadcaster, who replies, “Paul Ryan put forward a budget plan that slashes investments in road and infrastructure projects.” The two then agree that the Ryan’s “budget plan devastates infrastructure and roads projects.”
The ad also highlights the House Budget chairman’s opposition to “bridge repair and safety bills,” referring to votes against a bridge repair bill written in the aftermath of the 2007 I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the 2009 stimulus package and a 2011 appropriations bill written by Democrats.
The ad ends by saying that Romney’s pick of Ryan sends a message:
“Mitt Romney doesn’t understand northern Virginia.”
Given that nearly 40 percent of radio listeners are in their cars at any given time, this radio ad is likely to hit people at the time they can most relate to the message. But they should note – and the president’s policies do reflect this – that the cure for morning rush hour on 395 isn’t just a faster-moving road for them to drive on.
After all, parts of Northern Virginia are leaders in congestion mitigation solutions that don’t involve mindless road widening schemes. The region is served by the second-busiest rail transit system in the country, and even suburban areas have built high-density development around transit stations. Arlington, Virginia was a pioneering host of Capital Bikeshare, with Alexandria now deciding they want in on the action.
Support for these types of innovative programs is the real difference between President Obama and the Romney/Ryan ticket.