House Climate Bill on Green Transpo: It’s Better Than You Thought!

The climate change bill that squeaked through the House on Friday
night allows U.S. states to use a share of their carbon emissions
allowances to invest in green transportation, thanks to the combined
efforts of a group of senior Democrats. 

The deal was billed last week
as a narrow one, letting transit and other sustainable transportation
receive 10 percent of the states’ allowances (which actually comprise
10 percent of the bill’s total haul — much of which will be given to

But the final text of the climate measure, available at the Library of Congress, tells a different story.

132(c) says that states can use "not less than 15 percent" of their
emissions allowances for any of the following purposes (emphasis mine):

  • revamping building codes to be more energy-efficient
  • an energy-efficient manufactured homes program
  • a building energy performance labeling program
  • setting up a "smart grid" for electricity
  • energy-efficient transportation planning 
  • help for low-income areas seeking efficiency improvements
  • "other cost-effective energy efficiency programs"

states can use up to 74 percent of their emissions allowances on
transportation. At least 20 percent of the credits must be set aside
for tax breaks and other production incentives for renewable energy, at
5 percent for building retro-fits, and 1 percent for aid to low-income


Transportation Allowances in the Climate Bill: A Tale of Two Modes

To understand why the climate change bill is a top priority for urbanists, it’s crucial to understand the emissions allowances that the legislation distributes. The allowances essentially put the "trade" in "cap-and-trade" — whichever industry or state government holds them can benefit from their monetary value or use them to emit pollution under the "cap." […]

Senate Poised to Move on Climate Bill

Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, isn’t yet ready to start debating a long-term transportation bill — but she is reportedly prepared to move on climate change legislation that includes targets for diminishing auto dependence and encouraging transit use. Boxer’s panel will begin debate on its climate bill during […]