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Climate Change

Deeds Wants More Money for Transportation — But Not From a Climate Bill?

11:29 AM EDT on October 23, 2009

Earlier this week, Ryan noted Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds' (D) willingness to endorse tax increases to pay for more efficient transportation -- without fully explaining what the benefits of that extra transport spending would be. Ryan wrote:

I don't doubt that Deeds would love to promise better Metro service-- or even better, additional transit expansion in the Washington areaand around Hampton Roads. He'd probably love to promise faster and morefrequent rail service.

But these are promises he just can'thonestly make without knowing how much money will be available fromWashington and what rules will apply to that money.

One major source of potential federal money for better transportation is congressional climate change legislation, which is slated to set aside at least 1 percent of the revenue generated by emissions limits for transit, mixed-use development, and other strategies to cut carbon from vehicles.

That 1 percent doesn't seem like a lot, given that clean-transport advocates are pressing for a 10-percent set aside, but it's equivalent to at least $750 million per year, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis that used a conservative estimate of the price of carbon.

But while Deeds may be open to raising taxes to pay for transportation, he has no interest in passing climate legislation that would benefit local infrastructure. Per Ben Smith, the struggling Democratic candidate is now running a commercial (check it out above) in which a worker from Virginia coal country states: "I know Creigh Deeds, and he opposes that cap-and-trade bill. and he would not do anything to hurt the people in this area."

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