More People Using Mass Transit would also Reduce Greenhouse Gases
Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) joined as a co-sponsor of H.R. 6052, the "Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008." This bill would provide more Americans an opportunity to choose affordable public transportation while also reducing our nation's dependence on foreign oil.
"At a time when we are all concerned about rising gas prices, this bill could provide some relief to commuters who have the choice of using public transportation," Dingell said. "The average household now using public transportation saves more than $6,000 every year. If more commuters make this choice, not only could we see a reduction in the demand for gasoline, but as we continue to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we would see a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. We all have to do our part in this effort to protect our environment, and keeping the car in the garage for a few trips a week is one way Americans can help this cause."
Specifically, the bill would authorize an additional $1.7 billion for public transit agencies so that they can reduce fares and expand services, as well as increase the federal share for clean fuel, alternative fuel transit and bus facilities. If enacted, Michigan could receive more than $35 million in fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009 in urban formula grants.
Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN08), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is the author of the bill and according to the Committee, public transportation:
* is up 32 percent since 1995, a figure that is more than double the growth rate of the population and up substantially over the growth rate for vehicle miles traveled on our nation's highways for that same period;
* is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 37 million metric tons annually if it were used more frequently;
* would give a commuter who makes the switch from driving to work alone to public transportation the opportunity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 pounds per day, or more than 4,800 pounds in a year.
"There are some things you can only do with your own automobile and owning your own car is a wonderful thing" Dingell said. "However, a vehicle is not needed for every trip. The goal here is to give car owners other choices for simple commutes, providing their pocketbook with some much needed relief."