Congressional task force releases “Freedom from Oil” blueprint

Earl Blumenauer-2
Give people choices and they’ll
use less oil says Blumenauer.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In a press conference in Washington D.C. this morning, the Congressional Livable Communities Task Force released a set of policy proposals they say will lead to “Freedom from Oil.”

The task force, which is made up of House Democrats and chaired by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland), outlined steps on how everyone — from individuals on up to the federal government — can use less gas. The new report, Freedom From Oil: Policy Solutions From the Livable Communities Task Force, comes amid concerns about gas prices and the cost of transportation.

“In some cases these short trips can easily be replaced with bicycling, which would result in significant gasoline savings.”
— from the report

Thankfully, unlike proposals from President Obama and others, Blumenauer and his colleagues don’t shy away from the simple fact that more bicycle use and the infrastructure that makes bicycling possible should be a basic starting block to wean America of its oil addiction.

Here’s a snip from the Executive Summary:

“Providing a range of transportation choices can help break auto dependence, giving us freedom from the increasing costs and uncertainty associated with oil… As gas prices have risen, transportation costs have become unsustainable… As severely congested roadways consume our financial resources, our time, and our quality of life, Americans are demanding more and better choices in where to live and how to get around… giving residents the option to walk, bike, or take public transportation if they prefer not to drive.

… Actions as simple as combining short car trips or replacing them with walking or biking can result in significant oil savings for the nation.”

The report offers a list of 12 specific federal policies. Among them are Pay-As-You-Drive car insurance, better incentives for businesses to promote bike use, lower mortgage rates for transit-accessible homes, increased funding for Safe Routes to School and support for complete streets policies.

The 24-page report is a concise summary of many of Blumenauer’s favorite transportation policies and it makes a compelling case for how America can address — and then move away from — our over-dependence on oil.

You can download a PDF of the report from Blumenauer’s website and read more coverage of it via Streetsblog DC.

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