Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Public Transit, Coordination & the Energy Bill

One might imagine that a comprehensive energy policy bill would have some things to say about public transportation, even if it does not directly address human services or their coordination with public transportation.

As reported out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month, the "American Clean Energy and Securirty Act," H.R. 2454, did not have much in it that directly related to public or human services transportation.

  • There is language that would require states and MPOs to address greenhouse gas reduction as part of the development of their TIPs and STIPs. The bill would require these plans to be developed in coordination with air quality, environmental health, and transportation agencies, and would require these plans to be developed in consulation with housing, public health, economic development, land use, environment, and public transportation agencies. This section of the bill outlines a number of measures to be explored in the planning process, many of which are facets of coordination between transportation and human or social service functions within the state or locality.
  • There would be an authorization, albeit without specific funding, for an EPA-administered program to support a "SmartWay" transportation efficiency program, aimed primarily at the freight transportation sector.
  • The House bill includes a "Climate Change Worker Adjustment Assistance" program to aid workers placed out of jobs as a result of changes in current energy-intensive industries. This program is modeled after the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, and includes transportation assistance to dislocated workers, and inclusion of transportation and various social services such as job training and child care as parts of the family of services eligible to be provided to these dislocated workers.

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