Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 24th, 2009 at 11:38 am
The House Climate Bill that is set for a vote this Friday could help fill a transportation investment pot that states could put toward bike projects.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) would raise money from polluters that go over their allowed emissions levels, an amount estimated to be $70 billion by 2010. Earlier this week, the House agreed that 10% of that money would go directly to states to use for a variety of transportation projects — including “bicycle facilities”.
Here’s the bill language:
Sec. 5319: Bicycle Facilities
A project to provide access for bicycles to public transportation facilities, to provide shelters and parking facilities for bicycles in or around public transportation facilities, or to install equipment for transporting bicycles on public transportation vehicles
In a statement about the agreement released yesterday, Rep. Henry Waxman, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and chief sponsor of the climate bill said:
“Transportation accounts for nearly one-third of our global warming pollution. We will be requiring states and metropolitan areas to plan for reducing their global warming pollution from transportation, and this provision will help them reach their goals.”
And Rep. Jim Oberstar, the man pushing a transportation bill of his own, said:
“I commend Chairman Waxman for working with me to ensure that a portion of allowances are available for projects that will expand options for public transportation, bicycling, walking, and other green transportation alternatives for our citizens.”
Tyler Frisbee, a legislative aide for Rep. Earl Blumenauer says that the 10% for transportation scheme comes right from the CLEAN-TEA bill Blumenauer worked on earlier this year.
In addition to the 10% for state transportation projects, the climate bill also includes the CMAQ grant program (the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement program, administered by the Federal Highway Administration) which has been a reliable source for bike-related projects and programs in the past.
There is no change to the CMAQ program in this new bill, but according to Ms. Frisbee in Blumenauer’s office, it’s safe to assume that with a much more bike-friendly administration, bike projects could garner a larger portion of CMAQ funds than they have in the past.