When it comes to transportation issues, neither candidate has made it one of their top priorities. Therefore, voting for either presidential contender based solely on how they stand on matters that directly concern trucking is a challenge.
It is possible, however, to piece together information on how the candidates might act on trucking matters based on their speeches, policy papers, past performance and, most importantly, their web sites. Following are details of each candidate's position on issues that affect the trucking industry.
Increased federal spending for transportation
Obama: Has called for a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank with $60 billion over 10 years to “expand, not supplant existing federal transportation investments.” The bank will leverage private investments.
McCain: Supports cutting ‘pork’ from transportation spending (as does Obama) but does not support a larger federal government role in building the nation's transportation infrastructure.
Obama: Thinks that congestion pricing schemes are “thoughtful and innovative ideas” but not a substitute for federal funding.
McCain: Decisions should be in the hands of states and local governments.
Gas tax suspension/gas tax holiday
Obama: Rejected a proposed gas tax holiday as shortsighted and unsound because it would deprive the Highway Trust Fund of revenues.
McCain: In favor of a gas tax holiday because it would give short-term relief to truckers.
Developing alternative energy sources
Obama: Has pledged to commit $150 billion over 10 years to find and develop new energy sources. Funds would come from auctioning off permits for polluters that emit greenhouse gases.
McCain: Restricting carbon dioxide emissions will prompt private industry to develop alternative fuels.
Obama: Would like to renegotiate NAFTA to better favor American interests, especially workers and companies.
McCain: No changes. Let market forces prevail.
Opening/lowering the Strategic Petroleum Reserves
Obama: Would take millions of gallons from SPR onto the market to help increase supply.
McCain: Not in favor.
Fuel efficiency standards
(Neither candidate has addressed trucks specifically)
Obama: Double fuel economy standards within 18 years to 50 mpg.
McCain: Wait to see how automakers progress under current rules before deciding on new ones.
Open currently closed areas to oil exploration and drilling
McCain: Keep Arctic National Wildlife Refuge closed but open some coastal areas.