Transport Tech 

Boy, the GOP’s Platform Really Rails on Public Transit

Donald Trump builds things. It’s what the newly official GOP presidential nominee does, he says, and it will be no different once he’s elected. In May, he promised to “build the greatest infrastructure on the planet earth—the roads and railways and airports of tomorrow.”

And while Trump hasn’t put forward any specific proposals to change how Americans move—by automobile, plane, foot, bike, or public transit—the GOP’s newly released 2016 platform is openly hostile to just about everything but gas-loving cars.

Complaining that the current Administration “subordinates civil engineering to social engineering,” Republicans want to end all federal funding for mass transit, which they call “an inherently local affair that serves only a small portion of the population, concentrated in six big cities.” Never mind that federal dollars serve as a lifeline in states without many urban centers, and that rural transit ridership is growing.

The platform calls for the federal government to get the heck out of “bike-share programs, sidewalks, recreational trails, landscaping, and historical renovations,” arguing that money for these community game-changers should come from “other sources.” It encourages opening the Northeast corridor to private competition for publicly subsidized Amtrak. (That idea might get something of a test drive in Florida, where a luxe, privately-funded train system could start moving passengers between Miami and West Palm Beach next year.)

And while the federal gas tax hasn’t risen since 1993 and the 60-year-old Interstate Highway System is a full-on mess, the GOP makes sure to rail against the idea of a gas tax hike.

“Everyone agrees on the need for clean water and safe roads, rail, bridges, ports, and airports,” the platform says. But voters have heard a lot more about building a certain wall than any of that.


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