Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Michael Malbin


Over the past two decades, there has been a decisive shift in how transportation policy is developed. For years, this policy area was viewed as one of the least combative arena in Washington. That is no longer the case. Theodore Lowi and James Q. Wilson’s views on policy arenas and political types will provide the framework for a discussion of the shift that transportation politics have undergone. Additionally, R. Douglas Arnold’s theory from “The Logic of Congressional Action” that reelection is the main force behind the votes of legislators will be used to gain an understanding of how individual legislators shifted their votes over time. A microcosm of this shift occurred in South Carolina, where there were great shifts in how legislators voted on the various policies that have been passed since 1991. This thesis will examine the legislation, and the way in which South Carolina’s Congressional Delegation voted on them. Ultimately, it will show that transportation politics were distributive politics until after the SAFETEA-LU legislation of 2005, after which they became regulatory politics. Legislators always voted with reelection in mind, but their views on what would get them reelected changed over time.