APTA | Passenger Transport
May 25, 2009

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Include Public Transit in House Climate Bill; Contact House Members Immediately

The draft “American Clean Energy Security Act” (ACESA), H.R. 2454, released May 15 by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, provides for no investment in public transportation. The legislation retains language that would establish emission reductions goals for the transportation sector—in Section 222, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Through Transportation Efficiency—but no funding is made available from the bill’s proposed cap-and-trade system to finance transportation investments that reduce emissions.

The Committee began markup of the bill on May 18, and as Passenger Transport went to press, expected to complete consideration before adjourning for the Memorial Day recess during the week beginning May 25.

“One of the most powerful tools individuals may have to reduce their daily carbon dioxide emissions—the use of public transportation—is not part of the new climate change legislation,” stated APTA President William Millar. “Despite the facts that show providing greater access to public transportation may be the most effective weapon for combating climate change, there are no allowances from the cap-and-trade program for public transportation in the current climate legislation.”

A cap-and-trade program with investment in public transportation will produce more emissions savings and greater domestic job creation. Every $1 billion invested in federally aided public transportation capital projects supports approximately 30,000 jobs.

“APTA hopes that future versions of ACESA will include substantial new investment in public transportation,” Millar continued. “On behalf of the public transportation industry and the millions of additional people who could take public transportation, I call on congressional leaders to ensure that public transportation is a vital part of this important climate change legislation. It is the right thing to do.”

APTA continues to work with members of the committee to seek an amendment that would provide investment in public transportation under the ACESA cap-and-trade program. However, obtaining investment is problematic because of agreements made by committee Waxman with key committee Democrats regarding the amount of emissions allowances and allowance revenue provided to electric utilities and energy intensive, trade-exposed industries (e.g., the steel and automotive industries). These agreements are intended to bring Waxman enough votes to pass the bill out of committee, but very little allowance revenue is left for other investments, such as public transportation.  In fact, one percent of emission allowance revenue could be worth up to $1 billion annually.

Action Alert
APTA strongly urges its members to contact their U.S. Representative, particularly members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, immediately. When talking to the members, please:

* Urge your representative or his or her staff to contact Waxman and the Energy and Commerce Committee to express support for transit investment;

* Explain that transit investment will bring climate revenues back to their local communities;

* Express strong concern that while ACESA contains new transportation planning requirements, it fails to invest in public transportation; and

* Explain that ACESA provides investment and transition assistance to numerous private industries, but overlooks the energy savings and emissions reductions from public transportation.

For additional information, contact Homer Carlisle.

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