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They Totally Went There: GOP Outlines Extremist Transpo Views in Platform

2:45 PM EDT on August 29, 2012

In all issue areas, the Republicans outdid themselves on far-right-wing pandering with their new platform, approved yesterday in Tampa. Transportation is no exception.

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The new platform calls for the end of subsidies for Amtrak and high-speed rail, and for states to have maximum flexibility on transportation spending -- unless of course they want to spend money on anything but highways, which is verboten.

But all the proof you need that this document is pure crazy-talk comes with this jawdropper, right at the beginning:

Infrastructure programs have traditionally been non-partisan; everyone recognized that we all need clean water and safe roads, rail, bridges, ports, and airports. The current Administration has changed that, replacing civil engineering with social engineering as it pursues an exclusively urban vision of dense housing and government transit.

The reality is that the GOP kept partisan tensions high during the protracted bill process by repeatedly coming up with bills that were so extreme that they couldn’t even rally their own party to vote for them. Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bipartisan bill, 74-22, making countless hard compromises. The administration actually had very little to say about the bill process, except that it would veto the bill if the Republicans succeeded in larding it down with hyper-ideological, partisan accessories like automatic approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

But more importantly, the president is engaging in urbanist social engineering? This is the president who rescued the auto industry and whose DOT gives rural communities preferential treatment in everything from TIGER grants to TIFIA loans to transit assistance that requires no local match. And President Obama's infrastructure plans have always been more than generous to highway interests.

Yes, it’s true: Executive branch agencies are working to save local and state governments money by encouraging transportation and land use decisions to be made together. But that’s no prescription for high-rise living and “government transit.”

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