Environment Oregon Inc.

06/10/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/10/2021 07:58

House panel advances fix-it-first, carbon-conscious approach to transportation

Act pairs record levels of funding with a focus on maintenance and reducing emissions

WASHINGTON -- In a bipartisan vote, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced the 'Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act ' early Thursday morning. As part of that 'new vision,' in a departure from past transportation bills, it emphasizes fixing existing infrastructure before building new highways.

The Act provides a record-level investment of $547 billion, including $109 billion for public transit, unprecedented investment in walking and biking, and $400 million for wildlife crossings.

Transportation is America's number one source of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. To tackle climate change, the INVEST in America Act provides $4 billion for electric vehicle charging infrastructure; another $4.085 billion for zero-emission buses; and $8.3 billion to reduce carbon pollution. The bill also preserves National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements to assess the environmental impacts of transportation projects, and requires transportation planners to incorporate climate impacts and safety for people walking and biking.

The bill will now head to the House floor for a vote.

In response, Lisa Frank, Environment America's Washington Legislative Office executive director, released the following statement:

'Carbon dioxide levels just hit a record high worldwide, the American West is facing severe drought, and communities throughout the Southeast are preparing for another above-average hurricane season. We need swift action to mitigate global warming and some of the best ways to do it are to zero out pollution from our cars, trucks and buses, and to make it easy to walk, bike or take transit instead of driving. The INVEST In America Act recognizes the urgency of climate change and addresses it head-on. We commend Chairs DeFazio, Norton and Payne, and all members of Congress who supported this bill.'

Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG environment campaigns director, issued the following statement:

'The transportation status quo in the U.S. is inefficient and unsustainable. We spend too much time in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Aging public transportation systems often run buses and trains too infrequently and to not enough places. Crashes that result in deaths and injuries, especially those striking pedestrians and bicyclists, are too common. On top of all that, transportation causes too much air pollution that endangers public health and the climate. The INVEST in America Act breaks the mold and takes a new fix-it-first and more carbon-conscious approach to support a safer, cleaner and greener transportation network. If signed into law, this bill will drastically improve our options for getting around while making Americans healthier and tackling the climate crisis.'