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Mica’s Transportation Proposal: Responses Flood In

The GOP transportation proposal is now online.

Here are some early reactions.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chair of the Senate Banking subcommittee with jurisdiction over public transportation: “It used to be that Republicans understood that transportation investment was necessary to spur economic growth and create jobs. Now, I guess they think if we give the rich enough tax breaks they will get off the golf course, get in a bulldozer, and start building roads.”

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), chair of the full Senate Banking Committee: “Transit systems are one of the most efficient and reliable forms of transportation… Proposals to cut public transportation funding, as contemplated in the House, won’t just make it harder for Americans to get to a job interview or the grocery store; cuts will also slow job growth at a time when we need it most. Construction workers, mechanics, employees of bus manufacturers and rail car suppliers, and many other hard-working Americans will lose their jobs if these cuts occur.”

Caron Whitaker, campaign director of America Bikes: “The Mica bill is short-sighted; it focuses on cuts rather than return on investment. The bicycling industry supports over a million jobs and brings in over $17 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. That’s a great return for the $700 million federal investment in biking and walking facilities.”

James Corless, director of Transportation for America: “Chairman Mica’s proposal to give states broader latitude needs strong provisions for accountability on national goals, such as economic prosperity, energy independence, equal access to opportunity and environmental stewardship. However, this emphasis on the state level cannot come at the expense of the places that are feeling the brunt of our inadequate investments to this point: local communities in both urban and rural locales. We are particularly concerned at the proposal to eliminate dedicated funding that helps provide more safe options for walking and biking. While Chairman Mica indicated an intent to preserve the historic share of 20 percent for transit, the overall effect is a devastating cut that leaves us well short of the amounted required to meet rising demand for transit service, especially in this time of severe fiscal constraints.”

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MTC Adopts Aggressive 15 Percent Target for Reducing Emissions by 2035

2577326999_327ccb7f59.jpgPhoto: Keenahn
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in a historic vote Wednesday that will help guide the future for more sustainable land use and transportation planning in the Bay Area, recommended a 15 percent per capita target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2035, the most aggressive goal to date among California's metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs).

"Bay Area residents should be really excited about the 15 percent target. That's because it's high enough to trigger the transportation and land use changes we need to make the region more livable and affordable, especially as our population grows significantly by 2035," said Marta Lindsey, the communications and development director at TransForm.

Lindsey sent out an alert last week urging people to write emails to the MTC, fearing the commission would adopt a lower target of 10 percent, which its planning committee recommended at a meeting earlier this month.

"It's a realistic target given MTC's modeling and the kinds of investments and policies we already know really move the needle in terms of how much people drive their cars," said Lindsey.

Under the groundbreaking anti-sprawl bill, SB 375, most of the state's 18 MPOs are required to set a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for passenger vehicles and light trucks by 2020 and 2035. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently adopted a set of draft targets (PDF) for the four largest MPOs (the Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego), which represent 80 percent of the state's population. Each MPO will then be required to development a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) to show how it will meet its target. CARB is expected to adopt final targets in September.