Friday, July 10 2009 @ 08:15 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
As Senate lawmakers launch new efforts to curb the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, some key members have joined local transportation officials and environmentalists to ask a seemingly relevant question: Where’s the commitment to public transit?
“Transportation accounts for nearly one-third of our emissions, and yet it does not appear to be on Congress’s radar screen as one third of the solution,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee’s subpanel on transportation, said during a hearing on the topic Tuesday. A failure to provide more funding for clean transit, Menendez added, would represent a failure to tackle climate change adequately.
Michael Replogle, founder of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, told lawmakers Tuesday that, even as cars have become more efficient and fuels cleaner in recent decades, greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation have grown steadily over the same span.
“Our current policy framework guiding the development of surface transportation infrastructure in the U.S. is not designed to take into account [greenhouse gas] emissions,” Replogle said.
Ignoring mass transit solutions, according to many experts, is an oversight that could vastly limit the emission-reducing capabilities of whatever proposal eventually comes out of Boxer’s committee.