The Democratic party platform released on Monday night suggests President Obama will forcefully defend his infrastructure stimulus spending and call for more transportation investment to help the U.S. stay competitive globally.
Republicans signaled in their own platform last week they would focus on more conventional infrastructure spending and didn’t exclude transportation spending as an area subject to “hard choices.” Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney rejected the platform, but the stance regarding potentially trimming transportation spending parallels the proposed budget of his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul. Ryan, R-Wis.
“A century ago, Teddy Roosevelt called together leaders from business and government to develop a plan for the next century’s infrastructure. It falls to us to do the same. Right now, we are spending less than at any time in recent history and far less than our international competitors on this critical component of our nation’s strength,” the Democrats' platform states.
The platform, released at the party's convention in Charlotte, N.C., calls for the creation of a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank, a financing arm Obama pushed for last year only to be rejected by Congress. The Democrats also want to create a national transportation policy, which includes high-speed and light rail, two policies many Republicans oppose.
Although the platform mentions the world “infrastructure” more than 25 times, many of the mentions are for non-transportation systems, such as those for health care, technology and security. But the emphasis on infrastructure clearly shows how Democrats will defend their past spending and call for renewed investment.
A more in-depth story on Romney and Obama's freight infrastructure policies, and the role of the issue in the presidential campaign will be available in next week's print and online magazine.