Basic Briefing

The Transportation Debate

There is wide agreement that America's roads and other infrastructure are in dangerous disrepair. The debate focuses on how to fund and carry out the necessary maintenance and new projects. Furthermore, what is the federal government's role in approving and regulating projects?

Official Democratic position

Congressman Ed Markey represents an average Democratic position

Ed Markey supports increased investment in "transit-oriented development." He supports increasing the Department of Transportation’s role in automobile and train safety. Markey supports the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank to fund transportation projects. He supports the Davis-Bacon law (see below).

Many Democrats support a gas tax increase and some support efforts to streamline the federal permitting process.

Official Republican position

Senator James Lankford represents an average Republican position

Lankford "supports common sense legislation that simplifies permits and regulations, saving our state and nation money." He supports letting States opt-out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and use that money on transportation projects without having to comply with HTF regulations. He supports the repeal of the Davis-Bacon law (see below).

Some Republicans support a gas tax increase or the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank to fund infrastructure projects.

Institutional framework

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) works with the President to determine funding and regulations for transportation projects across the country. The President works with Congress to allocate money for transit and highway projects but requires matching contributions from States and other entities for maintenance and repair.

There are two types of funding for transportation – formula funding allocated by the DOT and given to States based on their population size, gas tax receipts, number of commuters, etc. and discretionary funding – allocated by the DOT via grants and awards.

States rely on money from DOT in order to build transportation projects and attract matching investments from other entities such as the private sector and must comply with federal infrastructure regulations.

Most Vocal on Transportation

These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.


Michael Simpson | Candidate for 2nd Congressional District, primary (2018) in Idaho (ID) | Crowdpac Rick Nolan | Candidate for 8th Congressional District, primary (2018) in Minnesota (MN) | Crowdpac Larry Bucshon | Candidate for 8th Congressional District, primary (2018) in Indiana (IN) | Crowdpac Janice Hahn | 44th Congressional District (2014) in California (CA) | Crowdpac Jeff Flake | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2018) in Arizona (AZ) | Crowdpac Blake Farenthold | Candidate for 27th Congressional District, primary (2018) in Texas (TX) | Crowdpac William Shuster | Candidate for 9th Congressional District, primary (2018) in Pennsylvania (PA) | Crowdpac Alan Nunnelee | 1st Congressional District (2014) in Mississippi (MS) | Crowdpac Frank LoBiondo | Candidate for 2nd Congressional District, primary (2018) in New Jersey (NJ) | Crowdpac Don Young | Candidate for At-Large Congressional District, primary (2018) in Alaska (AK) | Crowdpac

The Spectrum on Transportation

These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.

Relevant Committees

Resources