Thanks for checking out the Transportation and Climate Change Policy section of the blog!  This page will be continually updated as policy develops at the federal level.

Federal Frameworks for “Clean Transportation”

With numerous bills and countless revisions pertaining to the topic of travel efficiency, metropolitan planning, and the link to climate change, it is not surprising most people are confused about the status and evolution of federal legislation that will have impacts on our planet and communities within it for generations to come.  Below is my attempt to simplify the many relevant bills, drawing comparisons across them and explaining a bit about their background.  The important thing to remember when reading about these various bills is that the versions of the federal climate change bill contain a small emphasis on the role of metropolitan/transportation planning, while Oberstar’s proposal is a transportation reauthorization containing a short section on greenhouse gas requirements.

Transportation Reauthorization Bill (Oberstar)

  • Spearheaded by Chairman Oberstar of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, proposed language for the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009 states that it will “transform federal surface transportation to a performance-based framework to reduce fatalities and injuries on our Nation’s highways, address the mobility and access needs of people and goods, improve the condition, performance, and connectivity of the United States intermodal surface transportation system, provide transportation choices for commuters and travelers, promote environmental sustainability, public health, and the livability of communities, support robust investment in surface transportation, and for other purposes.”
  • Click on link above to navigate to full posting on the “Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009″, including status updates and relevant legislative language.

House Climate Change Bill (Waxman-Markey)

  • The House-adopted version of the federal climate/energy bill (Waxman-Markey) and Chairman Oberstar’s proposed language for the Transportation Reauthorization both include a requirement for US EPA and US DOT to establish national transportation-related GHG emissions reduction goals, and to standardized models/methodologies, and methods for data collection to inform such targets.  States and MPOs must also establish surface transportation-related GHG emissions reduction targets and strategies as part of the transportation planning process.  US DOT would be required to establish performance measures to ensure that State and MPO plans progress toward national goals.
  • Click on link above to navigate to full posting on the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009″, including status updates and relevant legislative language.

Senate Climate Change Bill (Kerry-Lieberman)

  • The Senate climate bill would direct a maximum of $6.25 billion a year for states and regions to develop and implement GHG reduction targets, plans, and “clean transportation” projects.  Similar language was included in House-adopted federal climate/energy bill, H.R. 2454 (Waxman-Markey).
  • Click on the link above to navigate to full posting on the “American Power Act”, including status updates and relevant legislative language

CLEAN-TEA (Carper)

  • Click on link above to view the full text of the “Clean, Low-Emission, Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act”.  The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works may choose to incorporate all or part of CLEAN-TEA into the transportation section of the Waxman-Markey bill.  The benefit of this smaller piece of legislation is that is it solely focused on the needs of local and regional planning in order to meet GHG reduction targets.  The legislation addressed the demand-side of the problem, rather than the supply-side (which Oberstar’s bill focuses on).  Carper’s bill is full of strong language regarding funding allocations such as for transportation demand management, congestion pricing, complete streets strategies, updates to zoning and land use regulations for coordinating local and regional plans, supporting infill, improving travel/land use data collection, and updating travel models.
  • Check out Smart Growth America’s CLEAN-TEA fact sheet: CLEAN-TEA Fact Sheet

To view this image in MS Word: CCAP Comparison of Federal Climate Change and Transportation Legislation

CCAP Comparison of Federal Climate Change and Transportation Legislation

CCAP Comparison of Federal Climate Change and Transportation Legislation

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