Reason Online: climate bill must do more for clean transportationSeptember 29, 2009
By Stephen Lee Davis
UPDATED: A Reason representative wrote us to note that Shirley Ybarra “updated her post to better clarify her position that infrastructure projects that improve mobility should be the transportation sector’s top priority.” Of course, T4 America believes that improving mobility and decreasing emissions can go hand in hand, with the right investments.
With the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee expected to release their version of the climate bill tomorrow, we’re all anxiously waiting to see what the bill will do to reduce emissions from transportation. The U.S. transportation sector produces one-third of our carbon emissions, yet the House’s version of the climate bill allocated only an optional one percent of cap-and-trade revenues to cleaner transportation options that can help us cut transportation emissions.
Will the Senate bill be better? We think so, but the Reason Foundation, a free-market think tank, wrote that it should be if we’re going to seriously tackle transportation emissions:
The funding allocations are not expected to be released until closer to the committee markup date. This could well be another contentious issue. For the transportation sector to play a greater role in reducing emissions and fuel consumption, the Senate bill will need to dedicate far more than 1% of its revenues to advance clean transportation projects.
We agree wholeheartedly, and have been urging the Senate to adopt a plan that would raise that number from one percent to 10 percent.
One percent won’t cut it if we’re really going to tackle a sector that generates a full third of our emissions. We’ve been supporting a proposal in the Senate (CLEAN-TEA) that would direct 10% of the funding towards public transportation, passenger rail, affordable neighborhoods around transit stops, and neighborhood improvements that increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
It’s going to be difficult to reach our climate goals if we don’t give states and localities to tools they need to make a dent in the emissions that come from transportation. Having just a tiny share of revenue going to clean transportation is like asking a carpenter to build a house without a hammer. It might be possible, but it’s significantly more difficult.
You can still call your Senator today and tell them that the Senate climate bill needs to invest in a cleaner transportation system. Find their phone numbers and brief talking points right here.