The Obama Administration and the Department of
Transportation believe that making the transition to a clean energy environment
and combating climate change are major priorities, and the time to act is now.
One part of that transition is the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (#cejapa for those of you following on Twitter).
At DOT, we understand that transportation contributes to--and is affected by--climate change, and therefore our transportation policies must be part of the solution. So transportation must play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing our reliance on oil, creating more livable, sustainable communities, and generating green jobs.
If you've been reading this blog, then you know some of the many ways we are already working hard on these solutions:
- Our interagency partnership with HUD and EPA on Livable & Sustainable Communities
- High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail
- Recovery Act transit grants and Tiger discretionary grants
- Partnership with EPA on automobile fuel-economy and emissions standards
- NextGen air traffic control system to reduce aviation emissions
These are all programs we have been able to undertake, but with the right legislation, this Department can do so much more.
For example, as Senator Cardin noted, the transit component of this bill "will make a huge difference on the infrastructure we need to conserve energy."
We know that rail and transit buses are cleaner-burning, and we know that when people are on a train or riding transit, they're out of their automobiles. Senator Cardin is correct: in terms of getting CO2 out of the air, the benefits of this bill will be enormous .
Now, passing this historic legislation will be a challenge, and we're going to need forward thinking people to join the effort. As President Obama said:
"They're going to argue that we should do nothing, stand pat, do less or delay action yet again. It's a debate between looking backward and looking forward, between those who are ready to seize the future and those who are afraid of the future."
I, for one, am ready.