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Updates From Capitol Hill
The League has been busy following several issues on Capitol Hill ranging from livable communities to the many complexities of the Transportation Bill and transportation funding. Below is a summary of what is on our radar and their recent developments. Please visit the League of American Bicyclists Advocacy Center to view all the federal legislation we are tracking. Although we currently do not have an immediate action item, we hope you will take the opportunity to call your Members of Congress to urge them to sign all of these important issues.
Representative Blumenauer Announces Creation of Livable Communities Task Force
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) announced today, October 20 the creation of the Livable Communities Task Force, a collection of Congressmen united in improving and expediting legislation that builds more livable communities. The task force, made up of 20 Representatives, is charged with working to improve our communities through federal legislation that helps reduce our nation’s dependence on oil, protect the environment, improve public health and invest in housing and transportation projects that create jobs and can give people more commuting choices.
Rep. Blumenauer, Chairman of the task force, announced its formation on Streetsblog and explains further on the task force’s website.
Climate Bill Moving Forward on Transportation Funding
The Senate Climate Bill, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, is moving along. The next step will be to set funding allocations including funding for green transportation.
The Climate Bill, introduced on September 30th by Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), is a comprehensive bill posed to fight global warming by putting a cap and trade on CO2 emissions.
The funding levels for the bill, which are still being negotiated, have been expected to give only a small percentage of increase to green transportation, such as bicycling and walking, despite the fact that 30 percent of our nation’s emissions are from the transportation sector. The League of American Bicyclists, along with the Transportation for America (T4) Coalition, participated in a Senate lobby day on October 7 and met with 23 offices to advocate for robust funding for green transportation in the Climate Bill going with hopes to combat emissions from the transportation sector.
The Committee on Environment and Public Works has also announced a “Legislative Hearing on S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act” on October 27th. The speakers include Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Senate Majority Leadership Recognizes Need for Shorter Extension
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Assistant Majority Leader, recently stated that he would like to see a transportation bill passed by early 2010, much sooner than expected. This announcement, made at a summit of regional business leaders in Iowa, comes as a break from the 18-month extension proposed by the Obama administration and Senator Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee (the body posed to write the bill).
Elena Schor at Streetsblog analyzes the possible repercussions of the Senator’s statement. Read the original story from the Quincy Herald Whig.