Transit and the Climate Bill

Photo by Extra Medium, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmueller/2109197876/">via Flickr</a>.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


If a gas tax is included in a climate and energy bill, will it actually achieve the desired goals of reducing emissions and oil use? From what the three senators devising the plan have said, probably not. Now eight senators are calling for the revenues from a tax to be invested in programs that do much more to cut planet-warming emissions.

Lead author Tom Carper (D-Del.) in a letter sent to Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Monday caling for the revenue to be “reinvested into infrastructure strategies that will reduce transportation emissions and oil consumption,” they write. The bill should send the money to transportation projects, both for roads and public transit, and require the states and city planning organizations who receive funds to set goals for both greenhouse gas emissions and oil reduction. And in doling out the funds, the government should evaluate whether projects demonstrate savings in both areas.

The senators cite a recent study from the University of Massachusetts that found that every $1 billion of investment in transportation can create 23,000 jobs — a job-creation rate 36 percent higher than investments in things like incentive programs for renewable energy production. It could also save consumers significant amounts of money, the senators write. The Department of Transportation currently needs another $30 billion just to maintain current systems; a real improvement in our infrastructure would require another $75 billion in investment, they write.

Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Michael Bennet (D-Col.) also signed the letter.

The Obama administration’s plan to reduce automobile emissions, issued last week, is a good start. But unless the climate bill triggers other meaningful reductions in transportation-related pollution, it will miss a huge opportunity to address the linked problem of emissions and oil dependence.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate