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Dear Chairman Waxman:
On behalf of the nearly 1,500 member organizations of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), I write to express strong support for the proposed change to H.R. 2454, the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” (ACES) to allow states to use a portion of their State Energy and Environment Development (SEED) accounts to invest in transit capital projects and other surface transportation activities that benefit the environment. This change will encourage greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum consumption, and APTA applauds your attention to the connection between the transportation sector and climate change. Transportation produces one-third of carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States, and the transportation sector is responsible for approximately 70 percent of U.S. oil consumption.
APTA urges Congress to strengthen ACES further by providing dedicated allowances for investment in public transportation and other surface transportation activities. The sale of emission allowances from fuel consumed for road and highway use will generate approximately $20 to $30 billion annually by 2015 according to preliminary EPA modeling data, but the proposed SEED program structure would, at best, provide less than $1 billion annually for new investment in transit systems, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and other activities that reduce transportation-related emissions. Because transportation investment would be considered only an eligible activity, it is even possible that zero funding would be available in some states and regions.
Public transportation use last year prevented the emission of more than 37 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of electricity consumption by 4.9 million households. Dedicated transportation investment can yield significantly more emission reductions at a net cost savings for consumers, and it will spur domestic job creation. Every $1 billion invested in federally aided public transportation capital projects supports approximately 30,000 jobs. We hope to work with you to ensure that further improvements to our transportation sector to reduce emissions can be made under ACES.