Author’s Note

This section is an updated version of the latest Boxer-Kerry version of the Senate’s “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act” that was released Friday, October 25.  Below is a more detailed outline of what the bill contains that what I have previously posted – the two major changes since last week include an increase in funds available for MPOs to create GHG targets and strategies in their regional plans, and the cap-and-trade allocation amounts for the transportation sector.

Catching Up

Since the House passed H.R. 2454 (see: Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill) in June of this year, focus has shifted among those in the field of transportation and metropolitan planning to what the Senate will include in their version of the bill.  California Senator Barbara Boxer chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), which is responsible for taking the Senate’s first stab at marking up the Climate Bill.  Senators Boxer and Kerry released a Senate version of the bill on September 30 and October 25.  This Senate version is known as the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act


What was previously Section 222 in Waxman-Markey, has now been more or less broken into several sections in the Senate version: Section 112, 113, 215.  The latest version of the bill now includes Section 215 in Part F which adds competitive grants and transit funding to the 1% allocation amount given to transportation. The other notable change is the inclusion of actual cap-and-trade allocation amounts.  These new sections appear to be a compromise between Carper’s CLEAN-TEA and the original language in Section 222 — combining some of the original Matsui language that focused on scenario analysis and modeling, and the CLEAN-TEA language that focused on specific strategies for GHG reduction and established the Fund for transportation planning and projects.  I have a few specific concerns regarding the language of the bill.  As a result, I have developed recommended language for the current bill in conjunction with the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center at the University of California at Davis – please contact me if interested.

Section 112: “Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions through Transportation Efficiency” (Part B: Mobile Sources — page 31, line 20 to page 71, line 16)

Targets and Strategies

  • Requires EPA and DOT to establish and update GHG reduction targets specifically for surface transportation for national, State, and regional levels
  • Shall be based on emission and travel demand modeling
  • Include inventory of GHG emissions for all surface modes of transport
  • Apply to all modes of transport addressed in RTP
  • For Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), targets and strategies shall be integrated and consistent with Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) and Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs)
  • For States, targets and strategies shall be integrated and consistent with Statewide Transportation Plans (STP) and Statewide TIPs
  • Targets and strategies must be selected through scenario analysis, including transportation investment and management strategies that reduce GHG emissions over the life of the plan (bill includes TDM strategies, transit infrastructure, pricing programs, bike/ped, changes to land use regulations to support infill and mixed use

MPOs and States

  • Within two years of enactment, MPOs must include GHG reduction targets, and strategies to meet those targets in consultation with State air agencies (note: states must collaborate with State and local housing, economic development, land use agencies, MPOs, transportation and air quality agencies)
  • MPOs shall demonstrate progress in reducing GHG emissions to help achieve State targets
  • States shall demonstrate progress in reducing GHG emissions to help achieve National targets

Models / Methods

  • Requires EPA and DOT to regulate the standardizing of emission models and methodologies, and update methods for data collection, that assess GHG reduction strategies to achieve targets
  • Requires DOT to regulate the improvement of travel demand models, and transportation planning requirements used to develop and assess progress toward State and regional GHG reduction targets
  • Allows EPA and DOT to regulate the use of existing models and methodologies that are considered to reflect the best practicable approach for assessing actual and projected GHG emissions from transportation plans and projects
  • Requires EPA and DOT to publish regulations within one year of enactment

Scenario Planning

  • Targets and strategies within RTP and STP must be developed through scenario planning, which combines various transport and land use strategies to estimate how each scenario performs in meeting GHG reduction based on growth factors.
  • Scenario planning may include the creation of scenarios to generate involvement of the general public, and the discussion of values and trade-offs pertaining to growth.

Monitoring and Accountability

  • Every six years EPA and DOT must check progress toward achieving target attributable to vehicle efficiency, fuels, VMT, changes in consumer demand/use, and management of transportation systems
  • Only MPOs and States that meet the requirements under Section 112(b)(1)“(6)“(C) and 112(c)(1)“(9)“(B) will be eligible for performance grants pursuant to Section 113(c)
  • Failure to comply with the integration and assessment of GHG reduction targets and strategies within RTPs will not impact certification of RTPs (note: incentive-based approach to MPO and state sustainable transportation and planning)

Section 113: “Transportation GHG Emission Reduction Program Grants” (Part C: Transportation Emissions — page 71, line 17 to page 78, line 6)

  • Only MPOs and States that meet the following requirements [Section 112(b)(1)“(6)“(C) and 112(c)(1)“(9)“(B)] will be eligible for performance grants:
    1. Targets and strategies incorporated into regional and state transportation plans within 2 years of enactment of legislation
    2. RTP must demonstrate progress toward State GHG targets, and STP must demonstrate progress toward National GHG targets
    3. Targets shall:
      1. Be based on emission and travel demand models
      2. GHG inventory for surface transport
      3. Apply to all modes addressed in RTP or STP
      4. Be integrated and consistent with RTP/STP and TIP/STIP
      5. Be selected through scenario analysis, and include GHG reduction strategies from the transport sector over the life of the plan
  • USDOT will administer grants to States and MPOs for developing and updating transportation GHG reduction strategies and targets.
  • Planning Grants — 10% (5% in previous bill) of program grants can be distributed to MPOs (note: none for states) for updating targets and strategies to reduce transportation GHG emissions (formula based on MPOs population compared to others).
  • Performance Grants – After planning grants have been allocated, remaining 90% of program funds will be available for States and MPOs.  USDOT is to establish criteria, including:  reduction in total and per capita GHG emissions, cost-effectiveness, comparison to historical emissions, increased mobility for disadvantaged population, other innovative approaches including health and consumer fuel savings.

Section 215: “Investment in Greenhouse Gas Reductions from the Transportation Sector” (Part F – page 921, line 22 to page 924, line 19)

  • DOT distributes 50% of allowances for the Transportation Greenhouse Gas Reduction program, and 50% for public transportation grants

Transportation Allowances – page 636

  • “For the transportation greenhouse gas reduction program under sections 831 and 832 of  this Act, and section 215 of division B of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, the Administrator shall reserve for each of calendar years 2012 through 2050, 1.0 percent of the emission allowances.”