October 27, 2009

Proposed climate bill supports clean transportation

The latest version of the Senate climate-protection bill put forth by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, would provide significant resources and incentives to communities to plan and build cleaner, more convenient travel and living options.

The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733) would set aside an average of 2.4 percent of revenues generated by the bill each year to help states and metropolitan areas reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they grow and change in the years to come.

Half of the funds would support a competitive grants program for transportation projects and smart growth strategies that help reduce emissions and the planning needed to better account for and curb emissions. The other half would support the expansion of public transportation.

"That the Senate mark more than doubles the amount the House bill would dedicate to clean transportation options represents major progress for communities across America," said Geoff Anderson, president of Smart Growth America and co-chair of the Transportation for America coalition. "Senators Boxer and John Kerry (D-Mass) the primary authors, deserve enormous credit for recognizing the role that reduced transportation emissions must play, and for including measures that will help create affordable options as oil supplies tighten and fuel prices rise in the years ahead."

The share of Senate climate allowances reserved for clean transportation would total 3.21 percent in 2012 and 2013, before dipping to 2.35 percent in the two subsequent years and returning to a share that ranges between 1.9 percent and 3.5 percent in future years.

One percent of the total amount going to clean transportation would be reserved in the early stages of the program, which would increase the value of those allowances to those distributed in the future. These early set-aside allowances would also go toward reducing the federal deficit and supplementing other high-priority programs.

The Act substantially incorporates language from a separate bill known as CLEAN-TEA, sponsored by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa) and co-sponsored by senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla). The CLEAN-TEA sponsors' support was critical in securing meaningful transportation provisions in the Senate bill.

A final vote on the bill could come as soon as the winter, but is likely to not be voted upon until spring 2010.

 

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