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ARTBA Special Report: The Presidential Candidates on Transportation

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016


As the 2016 presidential campaign season continues, ARTBA is carefully monitoring the candidates’ positions on transportation policy. Nearly all the remaining candidates have made at least one substantive public statement on transportation, or have included it in policy documents posted by their respective campaigns.

As we have done for the last two presidential election cycles, ARTBA has drawn this report principally from debate transcripts, public statements, legislative votes, writings and the candidates’ official websites and social media postings from recent years. ARTBA will continue to supplement this information during the campaign with new information and positions from the candidates. While a wider range of federal policies affect ARTBA members in various ways, this report focuses exclusively on policies directly relating to transportation infrastructure and investment.

Over the course of this year, as in previous election cycles, ARTBA and its leadership will be in contact with the major candidates’ policy staffs and the two parties’ platform committees. We will make sure they are fully briefed on current transportation infrastructure issues and provide them material on ARTBA’s vision for long-term solutions to the nation’s transportation challenges.

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton

  • U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013)
  • U.S. Senate, New York (2001-2009)

2015-16 Presidential Campaign

Nov. 30, 2015—“Hardhats for Hillary” Campaign Event, Boston, Massachusetts: Secretary Clinton proposed a 5-year, $275 billion plan for federal infrastructure investment on top of existing levels, including roads, bridges, transit, airports, high speed rail, energy facilities and internet access. She would allocate $25 billion of that amount to capitalize a national infrastructure bank, and reauthorize the Build America Bonds program. Secretary Clinton would fund these additional investments through “business tax reform.”

Bernie SandersBernie Sanders

  • U.S. Senate, Vermont (2007-Present)
  • U.S. House, Vermont (1991-2007)

2015-16 Presidential Campaign

May 26, 2015—Presidential Campaign Announcement, Burlington, Vermont: “It begins with jobs. If we are truly serious about reversing the decline of the middle class we need a major federal jobs program which puts millions of Americans back to work at decent paying jobs. At a time when our roads, bridges, water systems, rail and airports are decaying, the most effective way to rapidly create meaningful jobs is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation which would invest $1 trillion over 5 years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure. This legislation would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs, while making our country more productive, efficient and safe. And I promise you as president I will lead that legislation into law.”

From, “Creating Jobs Rebuilding America”: “Our nation’s infrastructure is collapsing, and the American people know it. Every day, they drive on roads with unforgiving potholes and over bridges that are in disrepair. They wait in traffic jams and ride in railroads and subways that are overcrowded. They see airports bursting at the seams.

“For too many years, we have dramatically underfunded the physical infrastructure that our economy depends on. That is why I have proposed the Rebuild America Act, to invest $1 trillion over five years to modernize our infrastructure. It would be paid for by closing loopholes that allow profitable corporations to avoid paying taxes by, among other things, shifting their profits to the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens.

“Importantly, the Rebuild America Act will support more than thirteen million goodpaying jobs—jobs that our economy desperately needs.”

Ted CruzTed Cruz

U.S. Senate, Texas (2013-Present)

2015-16 Presidential Campaign

U.S. Senate Career 2015—Sen. Cruz signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, committing himself to: “ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

From, “Jobs and Opportunity”: “A Cruz administration will end the EPA regulations like the Waters of the U.S. rule and the Clean Power Plan that burden small businesses and farmers.” This is a reference to the pending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would essentially deem any wet area as a “water of the United States” and place it under federal control.

John KasichJohn Kasich

  • Governor, Ohio (2011-Present)
  • U.S. House, Ohio (1983-2001)

2015-16 Presidential Campaign

2015—Gov. Kasich signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, committing himself to: “ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

July 31, 2015—“Let the States Fix Our Crumbling Highways—Instead of Washington,” Op-ed in Time written by Gov. Kasich:

“It’s time to get D.C. out of the highway business so America can get moving again. “In a country that grows things and makes things we must be able to move things—quickly, cheaply, and safely—if we want to have the jobs-friendly climate America needs. Unfortunately, our country’s infrastructure, from the northeast rail corridor to our interstates to our local roads, is starting to crumble beneath our wheels and Washington seems powerless to help.

“Only Washington, ever immune to irony, would let its love of gridlock grind even the highway bill to a halt. Unable to reach agreement, Congress just kicked the can down the road for three months in hopes that lightning will strike and people will suddenly start working together. Even if Congress could reach a deal, does it make sense to keep this broken system going?

“Some states are so desperate that they are taking matters into their own hands, but they lack the authority to make real progress. Six states recently increased their gas taxes to try to fund their own needs, but that only puts more pressure on consumers and job creators at a time when the economy is still trying to get going. These tax hikes wouldn’t be necessary if Washington made some common-sense reforms, like take itself out of the picture.

Marco RubioMarco Rubio

  • U.S. Senate, Florida (2011-Present)
  • Speaker, Florida House of Representatives (2006-2008)

2015-16 Presidential Campaign

U.S. Senate Career 2015—Sen. Rubio signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, committing himself to: “ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

From, “A Transportation Policy for the 21st Century: Let the States Pave the Way”: “As President, Marco will:

“Cut Outdated Gas Taxes

  • Reduce the federal gasoline tax rate by 80 percent.
  • Veto any gas-tax increase.

“Empower States to Innovate

  • Turn back control of the highways to the states, stopping special interests in Washington from building “Bridges to Nowhere” and engaging in other wasteful spending.
  • Free states from the strings that come attached to federal funding.
  • Remove barriers to public-private partnerships.

“Find Common-Sense Savings

  • Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act that inflates government costs by billions every year and is a giveaway of taxpayer dollars to labor unions.
  • Phase out the Mass Transit Account, which loots the Highway Trust Fund.
  • Stop diverting highway funds to unnecessary pet projects.”

Donald TrumpDonald Trump

Chairman and President, Trump Organization

2015-16 Presidential Campaign

April 22, 2015—From a video posted on Donald J. Trump’s Facebook page: “I don’t like what I see happening to America…The infrastructure of our country is a laughingstock all over the world…Our airports, our bridges, our roadways—it’s falling apart…It’s a terrible thing to see.”

May 12-13, 2015—Tweets from Donald J. Trump’s Twitter account—Following the Amtrak train accident in Philadelphia, Mr. Trump sent a series of tweets:

  • “Amtrak crash near Philadelphia, trail derails – many hurt, some badly. Our country has horrible infrastructure problems. Pols can’t solve!”
  • “The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me – roads, airports, bridges. I know how to build, pols only know how to talk!”
  • “TRAIN WRECK just the beginning. Our roads, airports, tunnels, bridges, electric grid—all falling apart. I can fix for 20% of pols, & better.”

June 16, 2015—From Mr. Trump’s campaign announcement, New York City: “[As president I’d] rebuild the country’s infrastructure. Nobody can do that like me. Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought. I look at the roads being built all over the country, and I say I can build those things for one-third. What they do is unbelievable, how bad…

“We have to rebuild our infrastructure, our bridges, our roadways, our airports. You come into La Guardia Airport, it’s like we’re in a third world country. You look at the patches and the 40-year-old floor. They throw down asphalt…And I come in from China and I come in from Qatar and I come in from different places, and they have the most incredible airports in the world. You come to back to this country and you have LAX, disaster. You have all of these disastrous airports. We have to rebuild our infrastructure.

Download full version (PDF): The Presidential Candidates on Transportation

About the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
The Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association is: America’s largest and most respected national transportation construction trade group; an aggressive and non-partisan advocate that exclusively and successfully works to build and protect the U.S. transportation construction market; the industry’s primary environmental, legal and regulatory advocate; the pre-eminent information source on transportation investment, policy, safety, economics and other key industry business issues; the leading provider of education and training programs designed to meet the unique professional development needs of transportation design, construction and safety executives; a facilitator of networking and business development opportunities nationally and internationally through events, webinars, live and virtual conferences, and committee and council meetings.

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