According to APTA President William Millar, public transportation saves 37 million metric tons of carbon annually, as well as 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), spoke about how climate change is a "direct threat" on national security with a measurable rise in sea level and harsh weather conditions. He warned that energy dependence affects the economy, security, and the environment.
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), spoke about the Clean Low-Emissions Affordable New Transportation Equity Act (CLEAN TEA). Introduced as H.R. 1329 on March 5, 2009, the purpose of CLEAN TEA, generally, is to amend title 49, United States Code, to support efforts by States and eligible local and regional entities to develop and implement plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The CRS summary of the bill provides as follows:
Clean, Low-Emission, Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act - Establishes the Low Greenhouse Gas Transportation Fund.The panel discussion included:
Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for each of calendar 2012-2050, to auction 10% of emission allowances established under any EPA program providing for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the auctioning of emission allowances.
Requires deposit of auction proceeds into the Fund to implement state and eligible regional or local entity greenhouse gas emission reduction plans, and provide funding to transit projects that help reduce such emissions.
Requires states and eligible regional or local entities representing populations of more than 200,000 people to: (1) establish goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector for the next 10 years; and (2) develop transportation greenhouse gas emission reduction plans, including supporting lists of prioritized transit projects, that are integrated into state and eligible regional or local entity long-range transportation and transportation improvement plans.
Directs the Secretary of Transportation and the EPA Administrator to contract with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences to study and report recommendations for improving research tools and federal data sources necessary to assess the effect of state and local transportation, land use, and environmental plans on motor vehicle use rates and transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions.
- Kevin Desmond, King County Metro Transit Division/Department of Transportation, Seattle
- Deron Lovaas, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Caitlin Rayman, Maryland Department of Transportation
- Daniel J. Weiss, Center for American Progress