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Public Statements

Letter To Senator John Kerry, Senator Lindsey Graham, And Senator Joseph Lieberman

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Carper Praises Transportation Provisions in American Power Act; Urges Colleagues to Add More Necessary Funding

Today Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), joined by Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), sent a letter to Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), praising the inclusion of key transportation provisions in the American Power Act and urging the senators to include additional transportation funding to ensure a robust clean energy bill.

In the letter, the Senators reinforce the critical role transportation funding plays in reducing carbon emissions and dependence on oil, noting that transportation accounts for nearly 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and consumes 70 percent of the 20 million barrels of oil that Americans use every day. Provisions in the American Power Act include funding and programs that will reduce the transportation sector's share of air pollution and oil consumption.

"A number of strategies - including increased fuel efficiency, decreased carbon content of fuel, and greater transportation options - are necessary to accomplish meaningful reductions. The American Power Act directs states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to set goals for reducing oil use and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and to establish plans to meet those goals," wrote the Senators.

The bill currently provides up to $6.25 billion per year for clean transportation infrastructure, such as high-speed rail, mass transit, smart growth, and intermodal freight. The Senators express concern that while the bill provides strategies for encouraging clean transportation infrastructure, sufficient funding raised from the transportation sector will not be reinvested at a level needed to maintain our crumbling infrastructure.

"As the Senate moves forward on clean energy legislation, we would like to work with you to increase the funding provided in the American Power Act for the transportation sector. While we applaud the bill's focus on clean transportation strategies, we are concerned that significant revenue raised from the transportation sector will not be reinvested into our crumbling infrastructure... We thank you for including strong transportation provisions in the American Power Act and look forward to working with you to make them even better," wrote the Senators.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that an additional investment of $30 billion per year is needed to simply maintain the nation's highways, bridges, and transit systems in their current state of repair. Improving the nation's infrastructure to provide for the maximum economic benefit and job growth will require an additional investment of $75 billion per year.

A copy of the letter follows:

June 10, 2010

The Honorable John F. Kerry The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman

218 Russell Senate Office Building 706 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Kerry and Lieberman:

We write to applaud the inclusion of funding and programs in the American Power Act that will reduce the transportation sector's greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption.

As you know, mobile sources account for nearly 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and consume 70 percent of the 20 million barrels of oil that Americans use every day. A number of strategies - including increased fuel efficiency, decreased carbon content of fuel, and greater transportation options - are necessary to accomplish meaningful reductions. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that a comprehensive set of strategies can reduce transportation emissions by 26 to 40 percent and oil consumption by 4 to 7 million barrels per day in 2030. In addition, these strategies will create hundreds of thousands of new, domestic jobs and provide federal, state, and local governments with billions of dollars of avoided infrastructure savings.

The American Power Act directs states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to set goals for reducing oil use and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and to establish plans to meet those goals. The bill provides up to $6.25 billion per year for clean transportation infrastructure, such as high-speed rail, mass transit, smart growth, and intermodal freight. In addition, the American Power Act provides important incentives for domestic manufacturing of advanced technology vehicles.

Some groups have suggested that the American Power Act's funding for transportation infrastructure should be dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund with no strings attached. Such a strategy is contradictory to American Power Act's goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing our dependence on petroleum. We believe that the American Power Act's distribution of transportation funding is appropriate and necessary.

As the Senate moves forward on clean energy legislation, we would like to work with you to increase the funding provided in the American Power Act for the transportation sector. While we applaud the bill's focus on clean transportation strategies, we are concerned that significant revenue raised from the transportation sector will not be reinvested into our crumbling infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that an additional investment of $30 billion per year is needed to simply maintain our highways, bridges, and transit systems in their current state of repair. Improving our infrastructure to provide for the maximum economic benefit and job growth will require an additional investment of $75 billion per year. For that reason, we believe that additional funding in the American Power Act should be utilized to reduce transportation emissions and oil consumption and to improve our infrastructure.

We thank you for including strong transportation provisions in the American Power Act and look forward to working with you to make them even better.

Sincerely,

Senator Tom Carper

Senator Arlen Specter

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

Senator Jeff Merkley


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