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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) is proposing to take money being spent in Iraq and redirect it to improving transportation across the country.

“It’s time to stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq and start investing that money in Phoenix, Nashville, Seattle and metro areas across this country,” he said in Miami last month. “Let’s invest that money in a world-class transit system.”

As gas prices climb, Obama says the investment would pay off in many areas. “Public transit not only reduces the amount of time individuals spend commuting but also has significant benefits to air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” his Web site states.

Under current law, employers may provide $205 worth of parking benefits tax-free but only $105 tax-free for mass transit and carpooling. The candidate plans to amend the tax code so that the benefits of driving, car pooling and using mass transit are the same.

Obama also has plans in the works to bolster the country’s rails system. “We’ll also invest in our ports, roads and high-speed rails — because I don’t want to see the fastest train in the world built halfway around the world in Shanghai, I want to see it built right here in the United States of America,” he said.

The presidential hopeful also supports developing high-speed rail systems across the nation to help economic growth. A supporter of federal funding for Amtrak, Obama was a co-sponsor of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2007, which authorized appropriations for the railway to pay off debts and improve operations.

Citing record airline delays, Obama says he will work with Congress to modernize the air traffic control system. According to Obama’s Web site, there are 1,000 fewer air traffic controllers working in the U.S. than there were three years ago. If elected, Obama said he will direct the Federal Aviation Administration to cooperate and work with the frontline air traffic controllers to improve working conditions.

Obama wants to increase airline safety by restoring “competence, independence and credibility” to the FAA.

According to the candidate’s Web site, “Obama will appoint a qualified FAA Administrator who will not play politics with the safety of American travelers and he will work with Congress to strengthen the FAA’s mandate.”

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