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The Future of Federal Transport Policy

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

Road to the White House

The House, the Senate, and the White House have all released dueling transportation spending bills – and we’re not likely to see any of them passed this election year. Each version represents competing visions for federal leadership in US infrastructure and finance in an era where trillion-dollar deficits and unemployment still weigh heavily on budgetary politics. With Obama’s high speed rail the centerpiece of his ambitious infrastructure vision, the White House plan dedicates the federal government to on-going commitments to urban transit out of the general fund. The House Bill represents the deep-seated, anti-federalist values from many of its more conservative members. If US cities and regions need transit, they argue, they can build those systems from their own tax coffers and stay out of the federal taxpayer’s pockets. The Senate Bill, sponsored by California’s own Barbara Boxer, attempts to straddle the divide between the White Houses’ urban-focused infrastructure policy and the House’s growing anti-federalism. The Republican candidates have thrown their own wildcards into the equation by trash-talking on earmarks. In this session, we’ll sort through what the various proposals – from infrastructure banks to REITS to privatization – mean for the future of US infrastructure and the Race for the White House.

Moderated by Bedrosian Center director, Dan Mazmanian


  • Lisa Schweitzer, Associate Professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy
  • Mohja Rhoads – PhD candidate Price School
  • Theodore Minch – Master’s of Public Policy candidate Price School

View the video

Bedrosian Center