Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Transportation


ItemTransportation
Air ServiceGrade
TR-1
The Promise: "Will support the continuation of the Small Community Air Service Development Program that helps small and mid-sized communities attract new air service."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: https://evansparks.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/aviation08-the-obama-aviation-plan/
Status:President Obama's FY10 Budget proposal of 02/26/09 did not specifically include money for the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP), but did increase Essential Air Service funding for air service in small communities.

Compared to previous years, funding for the SCASDP generally remained level in the first two years of the Obama Administration ($6.4M in FY2009; $6.0M in FY2010) with a $1M plus-up from other DOT organizations.

For FY2011, Senate Report 111-230 recommended $6.0M for the SCASDP, "equal to the fiscal year 2010 enacted level."

Obama Administration support for SCASDP started to increase in FY2012 with 33 communities in the United States plus Puerto Rico receiving $13.9M from the Department of Transportation's SCASDP grant program, this based on a 08/15/12 announcement by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
InfrastructureGrade
TR-2
The Promise: "...will enter into a new partnership with state and local civic, political, and business leaders to enact a truly national infrastructure policy that recognizes that we must upgrade our infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing population, a changing economy, and our short and long-term energy challenges."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document deleted by Obama White House.
Status:On 12/04/15, President Obama signed the "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. That Act, a $305B infrastructure improvement initiative, established many features of the promised partnership between federal, state and local entities.

The Secretary of Transportation was directed under FAST to reinforce those partnerships by encouraging state and local agencies to take full advantage of engineering industry capabilities to strengthen project performance, improve domestic competitiveness, and create jobs.

FAST also included a plan for partnering with the private sector or public agencies, including multimodal and multijurisdictional entities, research institutions, organizations representing transportation and technology leaders, and other transportation stakeholders.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
TR-3
The Promise: "...will ensure that more Metropolitan Planning Organizations create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document deleted by Obama White House.
Status:On 03/11/10, the Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a "Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations." The main thrust of this policy statement was to "incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects."

Further, the policy statement directs transportation agencies to "plan, fund, and implement improvements to their walking and bicycling networks, including linkages to transit."

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
TR-4
The Promise: "...will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document deleted by Obama White House.
Status:The Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed a partnership to provide American communities more transportation options and lower transportation costs.

This partnership was embodied in the "Partnership for Sustainable Communities" announced by President Obama on 10/21/10, and included the integration of "smart growth" initiatives into the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program that was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of CY2009.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.0
Mass TransportationGrade
TR-5
The Promise: "Will re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document deleted by Obama White House.
Status:The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law 02/17/09, provided $8.4 billion for improvements to the nation's public transportation systems, to include "buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, monorail, passenger ferry boats, inclined railways and people movers."

In addition, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants valued at about $500M annually were made available to economically depressed communities striving to develop multi-mode transportation projects.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Public/Commuter TransportationGrade
TR-6
The Promise: "...will reform the tax code to make benefits for driving and public transit or ridesharing equal."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document deleted by Obama White House.
Status:Section 1151 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 is entitled "Increased exclusion amount for commuter transit benefits and transit passes."

For CY2009 the maximum monthly pre-tax contribution for mass transit was $120.00, and $230.00 for parking. However the $120.00 transit expense was increased to $230.00 by the Treasury Department under the ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on 02/17/09. This brought parity between those who drove their own vehicles to a public parking lot and then commuted to work, and those who relied totally on public transit assets. However, this incentive was temporary and expired at the end of CY2011.

Starting in CY2012, employers were authorized to provide employees up to $125 per month in tax-free transit and vanpool benefits and qualified parking benefits went up to $240 per month. These rates went up to $130 and $250 per month respectively in CY2014.

As a result of a tax deal concluded in Congress on 12/16/15, the playing field leveled out to $255 per month for both drivers and transit riders. The tax break for those who use their bicycles to work is $20 per month.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
TR-7
The Promise: "...will double the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program to ensure that additional federal public transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document deleted by Obama White House.
Status:The FY2009 apportionment for the JARC program by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) was $183.1M. The FTA's apportionment in FY2010 for the JARC program was $68M. The promised doubling of funds for this grant program did not occur in President Obama's first years in office.

President Obama's FY2011 budget proposal included $166.6M for the JARC program, still a long way from doubling the baseline FY2009 apportionment of $183.1M. Of this requested amount, Congress apportioned only $69.7M for JARC in FY2011.

For FY2012, the JARC program was apportioned $95M of the Federal Transit Administration's budget.

On 10/1/13, the JARC Program was repealed by Congress under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
TR-8
The Promise: "...will help the New Orleans area develop regional transit partnerships so that public transit can be integrated across parish lines, providing seamless transportation options, including a possible light rail line to connect New Orleans and Baton Rouge through the petrochemical corridor in between."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Rebuilding the Gulf Coast and Preventing Future Catastrophes", dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2270775-katrinafactsheetfinal.html
Status:Louisiana House Bill 1410, passed by the House on 05/18/10 and the Senate on 06/17/10 allows two or more Louisiana cities or parishes to establish rail compacts as a way to help launch intrastate railway or rapid transit systems. This bill was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal on 06/30/10 with no known assistance from the Obama Administration.

Previously, Governor Jindal declined to apply for $300M in stimulus money to start a New Orleans-Baton Rouge light rail project, because annual operating costs of $18M could not be supported by the state.

For a few years after Hurricane Katrina in CY2004, "LA Swift," funded to the tune of $2.3M annually by the Department of Transportation, operated as a commuter bus service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In CY2013, the federal government asked Louisiana to provide $750K annually as its share of the costs for operating LA Swift. Louisiana's Governor Jindal declined and the commuter bus service ended.

At a cost of $60M, $45M of which were federal funds, New Orleans started operating the less-than-a-mile-long Loyola Avenue streetcar which did little to improve inner-city transit. Some called it the streetcar "from nowhere to nowhere."

The New Orleans inner transit system and its ability to interconnect with other parishes was worse by end-CY2016 than it was before Hurricane Katrina

While a passenger rail system linking New Orleans to Baton Rouge and other points is still being planned by Governor Jindal's successor since 01/16, Governor John Bel Edwards, no specific/formal transit partnership between the Government of the State of Louisiana and the federal government is known to have been formed during the Obama Administration other than grants provided under the "Partnership for Sustainable Communities" and similar programs.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Rail ServiceGrade
TR-9
The Promise: "Will "support development of high-speed rail networks across the country"."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document deleted by Obama White House.
Status:The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) defines "high speed" as the ability for a train to travel 90 mph or faster.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law 02/17/09, provided an initial $8 billion, to be spent over two years, and an addition $1 billion per year over the next five years toward the accomplishment of this campaign promise.

The FY2010 transporation budget appropriation passed on 07/17/09 saw a surprising increase for high-speed rail from the planned $1B to $4B, despite Senate attempts to peel back $3B and transfer that amount to the Highway Trust Fund.

For FY2012, President Obama's budget proposal included $53B over six years for "high-speed rail and other passenger rail programs as part of an integrated national strategy."

President Obama showcased high-speed rail in Tampa on 01/28/10, launching the building of a high-speed rail link between Tampa and Orlando. However, the Governor of Florida (as well as those of Ohio and Wisconsin) adopted the position that Florida would not accept federal funding for any high-speed rail projects.

The California high speed rail project between Anaheim and San Francisco via Los Angeles and San Jose appears to be on track. Construction is under way on sections traversing the Central Valley. Phase I will be completed in 2029, and Phase II will likely be completed before 2040.

The Texas Central Railway, being built from Houston to Dallas with speeds up to 205 mph, it hopes to become fully operational in 2024.

The above are just examples. There are also plans for higher-speed rail and high-speed rail in the Midwest, New England, Pennsylvania, the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, New Mexico and the Southwestern United States and other locations.

The promise to "support development of high-speed rail networks across the country" was fulfilled.
1.00
TR-10
The Promise: "...will continue to fight for Amtrak funding and reform so that individuals, families and businesses throughout the country have safe and reliable transportation options."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening America's Transportation Infrastructure" dated 10/09/08.
Source: Source document was deleted by the Obama White House.
Status:The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) of 2008 authorized Amtrak through FY2013. This Act authorized the appropriation of about $3B in operating funds and $5.3B in capital funding not including debt service.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provided an additional $1.3B to supplement Amtrak's capital program through 02/11 as part of a $9.5B investment in passenger trains.

Under the PRIIA funding plan, Amtrak's total funding was to go up incrementally from $1.8B in FY2010 to $1.9B in FY2011, $2.1B in FY2012 and $2.2B in FY2013. In reality, the following represents actual federal outlays for AMTRAK's operating and operating and capital expenses for the period FY2010 to FY2016:
FY2010 - $1.565B
FY2011 - $1.483B
FY2012 - $1.418B
FY2013 - $1.334B
FY2014 - $1.390B
FY2015 - $1.390B
FY2016 - $1.385B

As can be seen from the foregoing, federal funds for AMTRAK steadily declined from President Obama's first budget submission for FY2010.

The PRIIA also required Amtrak to address "reform iniatives" in each of its five-year plans, to be submitted by the first day of the fiscal year or 60 days after the enactment of an appropriations Act, whichever is later.

Clearly, Amtrak funding under the Obama Administration did not keep pace with requirements and was considerably less than the funding levels authorized under the PRIIA.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
Transportation GPA0.7