Cap and Trade. Biking and Detroit

In an effort to manage carbon emissions, Congress has been working on cap and trade legislation.

Since about a third of U.S. carbon emissions are due to transportation, bike and walk advocates want a portion of carbon credits sales to fund clean transportation. That effort resulted in CLEAN-TEA legislation.

The bill is predicated upon passage of a comprehensive climate change bill, such as the one considered by the Senate earlier this year, which would generate revenue for the Federal government. Under CLEAN TEA, ten percent of the revenue would be used to create a more efficient transportation system and lower greenhouse gas emissions through strategies including funding new or expanded transit or passenger rail; supporting development around transit stops; and making neighborhoods safer for bikes and pedestrians.

Certainly we could use more funding for transit and non-motorized transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately the House is only looking at 1%, while the Senate is looking at 2.4%. Both are less than the 10% called for in CLEAN-TEA.

But there’s another potential funding source for the city of Detroit thanks to legislation introduced by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

According to the Detroit News:

Farmers, landowners and even cities could sell pollution credits to ease the costs of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under a bill introduced in Congress.

The Clean Energy Partnership Act could be a boon for cities like Detroit, with an estimated 40 square miles of vacant land, or Flint, where a quarter of all the homes are vacant. The cities could reforest lots and sell the credits to business to shore up drained budgets.

And while Detroit’s vacant land issue has not been the highest priority of the Bing administration, that should change next year.

The mayor plans to address the issue of vacant land by the first quarter of next year, said spokesman Edward Cardenas. “We’re looking at a whole array of different options,” he said, adding the city is interested in Stabenow’s proposal.

“Planting trees could be one of those options. We need to look at everything that is out there.”

He said the city is looking at uses of the land for farming, green space and reforestation.

And green space is a great place for greenways. This could be a big win-win for Detroit trails.

In recent years Detroit has sold parkland. Fortunately some, like the Rouge Park sell off, have been stopped. Others potential park sales continue to hang around, especially as the city does not have enough funds to maintain them.

Stabenow’s Clean Energy Partnership Act would help.

Link: Contact Senator Stabenow

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