5 Down, 5 to Go: Plan Linking Transit to Climate Bill Wins Sponsors

Streetsblog Capitol Hill reported this week that the Obama administration -- which often talks about reducing transportation-based emissions -- is staying mum on a bill that would devote a guaranteed share of revenues from carbon regulation to transit, bike paths, and other green modes of transport.

But that doesn't mean the proposal, otherwise known as "CLEAN TEA," is losing momentum.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Arlen Specter (D-PA), picked up three new co-sponsors in the Senate yesterday. Its five supporters all sit on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which will get first crack at climate legislation in September.

So who's still dragging their feet on giving 10 percent of the climate bill's funding to green transportation? (The House-passed climate bill, by comparison, allows only 1 percent of revenue to pay for transport improvements. Meanwhile, transportation generates about 30 percent of U.S. emissions.)

Find out after the jump.

The Senate environment committee has 19 members, five of whom have already signed on to "CLEAN TEA": Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Carper, and Specter.

Given that even Republicans who acknowledge the threat of human-caused climate change are lining up to oppose a cap-and-trade system, it's reasonable to expect that no one on the GOP side is prepared to back "CLEAN TEA."

That leaves seven senators who have not signed on to the bill; if Carper and Specter can sway five of them, that would theoretically give the bill a 10-9 advantage. Here are the seven:

  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), an avowed transit booster
  • Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has long recognized transit's role in fighting climate change
  • Tom Udall (D-NM), another transit fan
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Senate's voice for "sustainable communities" legislation
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who helped the White House tout her home state's transit in March
  • Max Baucus (D-MT)
  • Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA)