Two More Senate Dems Back Plan to Devote Climate Money to Transit

This week has brought news of a brewing compromise on the Senate climate change bill, introduced last month amid signals that the upper chamber would give only a bit more to clean transportation than the House’s meager 1 percent set-aside of revenue from cap-and-trade carbon regulations.

Bill_Nelson_speakig.jpgSen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) (Photo: Sun-Sentinel)

The stirrings of a Senate climate deal, first reported by ClimateWire, focus on expanding the bill’s nuclear incentives and offshore drilling provisions to win over conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Brad Plumer at The New Republic offers a good rundown on why such a compromise wouldn’t be as bad as it might sound to some progressives. But even if it still sounds bad, there’s more heartening climate news to relay: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) this week have signed onto legislation that would require transit and other clean transport to get 10 percent of the money raised by regulating carbon.

The measure in question, often referred to as "CLEAN TEA," has already won over half the Democrats on the Senate environment committee. Nelson would be its second sponsor on the Finance Committee, which will play a major role in determining how to distribute the valuable emissions "allocations" that would be created by the climate bill’s cap-and-trade system.

One percent of those "allocations" were set aside for clean transport in the House climate bill. Although few on the Hill currently expect the Senate to reach the 10-percent mark set by "CLEAN TEA," the more sponsors the bill attracts, the better chance its chief sponsors — Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) have of amending the climate bill to give more to transit.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Nobody wants this.

Mayors Seek Transit Funds To Fight Climate Change

|
A coalition of mayors wants Congress to declare a "Marshall Plan" against climate change by spending on mass transit to curb air pollution in their cities. The mayors of Atlanta, Honolulu, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, and Portland, Ore., implored senators at a climate hearing on Capitol Hill last week to invest in renewable-energy programs in order to create jobs and fund bus and rail systems, with the goal of weening people off gas-polluting vehicles.

Transit Industry to Join State DOTs in Blasting Senate Climate Bill

|
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is set to join the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and two construction interests tomorrow in protesting the Senate climate bill’s proposed diversion of new fuel fees away from infrastructure — an argument that puts the transit industry’s leading D.C. lobbying group squarely in the […]

Senate Climate Bill Leaks: The Good News and Bad News for Transport

|
The Senate’s climate change legislation will finally make its debut tomorrow, courtesy of environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and foreign relations committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA). But the Washington Post has already obtained a "close-to-final" version of the bill [PDF], which provides some details but leaves unanswered the key question of how much aid […]

Senate’s Next Climate Hearing to Feature Big Oil-Backed Critics

|
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) may have voted against the Senate environment committee’s climate bill yesterday, but The New Republic picked up on some pretty optimistic (for Washington) rhetoric from him on the issue this morning: (Photo: Baucus ’08) "There’s no doubt that this Congress is going to pass climate change legislation," he […]