Posts Tagged ‘Clean-TEA’

Cap and Trade. Biking and Detroit

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

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

National Bike Summit “Asks”

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

img_2187Liz from Continental Bikes asked the question “What legislation did you discuss with the representatives?”

In looking over the previous entries, it seems we never really answered that question. So here’s the list.

Complete Streets

Actually this is one topic we did cover fairly well.

Active Transportation 2010

In the current federal transportation bill, four U.S. cities received $25 million each to get more people chosing biking and walking over driving.?

The hope is to expand that pilot program to 50 cities in the next transportation bill due later this year. Three Michigan cities have applied for this program: Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. We encouraged our legislators to include these Michigan cities in the future transportation bill.

Detroit’s Active Transportation proposal was briefly discussed earlier.

Transportation Enhancements

The current transportation bill (and recent stimulus package) funds Transportation Enhancements which is largely responsible for funding biking facilities and trails. We want to see this program continued and increased the next transportation budget.

This was an easy program to talk about since there many great examples of how this funding has been used within each congressional district.

Recreational Trail Program

This program captures a portion of the fuel tax used by off-road vehicles (e.g. snowmobiles) and directs to state trails, including non-motorized trails. We advocated for increased funding for this program.

Multi-Modal Commuter Credit

This legislation fixes the hastily passed bike commuter bill, which is another topic we previously discussed briefly.

Clean TEA

This legislation would take some of the funds generated through a cap-and-trade greenhouse gas program to pay for alternative transportation infrastructure, including biking and walking. Whether or not the greenhouse gas legislation makes it to the President’s desk remains to be seen, but if it does, we want to make sure it helps promote more non-polluting transportation choices.

There’s additional information on Clean TEA?at StreetsBlog.

National Bike Summit: Day Two

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

img_2159Secretary Ray LaHood

LaHood is the Secretary of Transportation, and although there was some hesitation in the cycling blogosphere when Obama nominated him. After today’s presentation, that hesitation should be gone.

He told the crowd at the opening session that we’ll build on our successes in pedestrian and bicycle promotion. He noted we’re on the verge of making more progress in doing the things America really wants to do. Creating livable communities is becoming the priority.

And finally, he assured us that we have a full partner at the Department of Transportation.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Blumenauer started with the rhetorical question: “How many people right now are stuck in traffic on their way to a health club to ride a stationary bike?”

He added:

  • Families biking are an indicator species for livable communities
  • With Congressman Oberstar chairing the transportation committee, the “table is set for us” when it comes to writing the next transportation bill.
  • We need to be relentlessly bike-partisan. There are no blue or red bikes.
  • There are currently 213 legislators in the bike-partisan caucus. 218 would be a majority — and that’s a Summit goal.
  • The Commuter Choice act will be taken up in this legislative session. The gist is it adds flexibility to the commuter tax benefits and allows the mixing of modes, e.g. biking and transit.
  • New Clean-TEA legislation would set aside 10% of a carbon tax to help communities reduce the carbon-footprint of their transportation, making it more sustainable in the long term. The justification? One-third of greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation. ?Cycling and walking can offset that. Clean-TEA would be an amendment to a climate change bill.

Also, Congressman Blumenauer biked to the Summit from the Capitol and was sporting a pant strap.

Congressman Dan Lipinski

Congressman Lipinski touted the fact that he’s not only a cyclist, but a card carrying of the League of American Bicyclists.

Lipinski did warn us that we must remain vigilant as there is still a mindset out there that bikes are not transportation.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui

Congresswoman Matsui spoke about the Complete Streets legislation that is on the verge of being introduced in the House and Senate.