Obama’s National Transportation Plan Includes Bicycling & Walking

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Democratic front runner Barack Obama just released a campaign "Fact Sheet" entitled, "Strengthening America’s Transportation Infrastructure" (download it). While Hillary Clinton has put forward some outstanding and heavily transit-oriented plans of her own, Obama appears to be the first major party presidential candidate to outline a national transportation platform that explicitly seeks to "create policies that incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of sidewalks and roads" (if anyone knows differently, let us know in the comments section). Whatever the case, it’s a significant step up from the 2004 campaign featuring George W. Bush’s mountain bike fitness regimen and John Kerry, spandex-clad on an $8,000 Serotta.

Before you get too excited, it’s worth noting that Obama’s paper looks like it was a bit rushed. Is Amtrak really "the only form of reliable transportation" in "many parts of the country?" What parts of the country would that be? The plan is also missing language from Obama’s energy plan concerning the equalization of subsidies for motorized and non-motorized commuting.

Nitpicking aside, we do get a good view of what a President Obama would aim to do for more Livable Streets. In addition to encouraging biking and walking, he wants to:

  • "Provide states and local governments with the resources they need to address sprawl and create more livable communities."
  • "Double the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program to ensure that additional federal public transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities and that urban planning initiatives take this aspect of transportation policy into account." Presumably this includes better transit for inner-cities.
  • Provide long-term federal support for Amtrak and "increase the availability of rail transportation options for residents of rural communities."
  • Support the development of high-speed freight and passenger rail.

Now that we have transportation plans from both Obama and Clinton; John McCain, where you at?

Photo: alison.jane/Flickr

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