Posts about Mitt Romney
Listen to the national candidates talk, and you'd think American cities don't exist; there is no form of transportation other than driving. A number of bloggers have pointed out how last night's debate, like its predecessor, conspicuously didn't talk about cities.
At Next American City, Matt Bevilacqua writes:
Neither candidate uttered the word "city." At all. Go ahead, check this debate transcript from ABC News. ...
Urban advocates have raised this complaint many times before: During national campaigns, when pundits and politicos are bickering over everything from reproductive health to drilling for oil to the debt ceiling, issues specifically related to cities get the short shrift.
Republicans hardly ever talk about urban America anymore. ... Though this year's Democratic National Convention had a roster full of big-city mayors, their time in the spotlight largely yielded only sentimental personal narrativesStreetsblog's Ben Fried wishes cities or transportation policy came up in the answer to a question about energy:
— not much about what they do to make cities function daily, and not much about the needs of the people they serve.
It's not like there weren't moments last night when either candidate could have, at least in passing, addressed the concerns of the country's urban-dwellers. ... [D]uring the discussion on economic growth, Obama could have turned to the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to defend his record. Established during his first term, the partnership has done wonders for economic development in urban neighborhoods.
QUESTION: Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it's not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?Fried says, "Let's imagine the contours of the straightforward, leveling-with-America response that never came:"
OBAMA: Yes, I do agree with Secretary Chu that it is not the job of the Energy Department to lower gas prices, any more than it's the job of the Commerce Department to lower the price of tin or cotton.Instead, the President talked about (and then starting arguing with Romney about) how much they've increased oil production. Which is not just about furthering our addiction to a dwindling resource, but also economically silly for anyone who realizes that oil is a world market.
But there's a lot we can do to become more resilient in the face of oil price shocks. We can give people real transportation choices
— invest more in transit, and in making our streets safer — so you aren't forced to burn a gallon of gas every time you need to pick up some groceries.
My administration has started us down a smarter path with the Sustainable Communities Initiative and the Department of Transportation's TIGER program. These programs are laying the groundwork for a 21st Century transportation system that makes our communities more productive and efficient while reducing our addiction to oil. If we make these investments, not only will we free ourselves from constantly worrying about prices at the pump, we'll also stave off the disaster of climate change and prevent the kind of droughts and other extreme weather events that are battering America.
Matt Yglesias posted a great chart showing that gas prices in the US, Canada, and Japan move in almost precise lockstep; the only difference is the size of the country's gas tax. Ours, of course, is extremely low compared to other industrialized nations.
Streetsblog's LA correspondent Damien Newton researched the Presidential candidates' positions on transportation. For the Democrats, both Obama's and Clinton's platforms hold a great deal of promise. Obama is the most pro-cycling candidate, extols the virtues of walking, and supported Chicago's transit system while in the Illinois legislature, but Clinton is the one to officially propose $1.5 billion per year for public transit and feels that "sprawl is not only a threat to the environment but to our communities as well."
On the Republican side, none support a vision of an America less dependent on cars, but John McCain, now looking more and more the sure nominee, seems to be the lesser of evils. McCain supports higher fuel economy standards but has been a longtime critic of Amtrak and of investment in high-speed rail infrastructure. Romney, meanwhile, courted the gas-guzzling vote and had his lieutenant governor veto a bill to better train police on bicycle laws to increase safety. As for Huckabee, his biggest idea for the East Coast is to build more roads.
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