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

The Democratic party supports an increase in federal infrastructure funding and “making significant new investments in roads and bridges, public transit, drinking and wastewater systems, broadband, schools, and more. Democrats also will revitalize communities being dragged down by physical decay by building on programs like the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Hardest Hit Fund.” They support the expansion of Community Development Block Grant funds, federal funds for the New Markets Tax Credit, and the State Small Business Credit Initiative.

Official Republican position

The Republican Party believes the Highway Trust Fund programs should not be the business of the federal government. The Party proposes “to phase out the federal transit program and reform provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act ... We renew our call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon law, which limits employment and drives up construction and maintenance costs for the benefit of unions.” Additionally, the Party reaffirms its “intention to end federal support for boondoggles like California’s high-speed train to nowhere."

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.


Shelley Capito | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2020) in West Virginia (WV) | Crowdpac Edward Whitfield | 1st Congressional District (2014) in Kentucky (KY) | Crowdpac Amy Klobuchar | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2018) in Minnesota (MN) | Crowdpac Candice Miller | 10th Congressional District (2014) in Michigan (MI) | Crowdpac Corrine Brown | 5th Congressional District (2014) in Florida (FL) | Crowdpac Michael Grimm | 11th Congressional District (2014) in New York (NY) | Crowdpac Janice Hahn | 44th Congressional District (2014) in California (CA) | Crowdpac Jeff Flake | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2018) in Arizona (AZ) | Crowdpac Alan Nunnelee | 1st Congressional District (2014) in Mississippi (MS) | 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