At the end of March, representatives Henry Waxman and Ed Markey introduced an ambitious federal climate bill. This is the real deal — the legislative centerpiece of President Obama’s effort to combat global warming.
Transportation contributes about a third of all greenhouse gas
emissions in the U.S., so any climate bill will have to green the way
we get around to be effective. On that score, however, the draft
legislation has some glaring omissions.
It includes tougher national emissions standards for vehicles
and incentives to develop plug-in hybrid infrastructure, but no funding
for transit or more walkable development. There’s already a proposal
circulating in Congress to link a cap-and-trade system with investment
in transit and smart growth — the CLEAN TEA bill.
Parts of CLEAN TEA have been incorporated into the Waxman/Markey bill,
but not the core provision to dedicate 10 percent of the revenue from
carbon auctions to green transportation projects.
That could change. Transportation
for America is gathering signatures urging Congress to beef up the
provisions for sustainable transportation in the climate bill.
Adding the CLEAN TEA funding mechanism would translate to about $8
billion per year, based on the Obama administration’s projection for
annual revenue from carbon auctions. Waxman’s committee will begin
making changes to the bill on Monday, so now is time to sign on and
speak up for stronger legislation.