Wiki Wednesday: Funding Green Transportation With CLEAN TEA

vmt_graf.jpgThe decline in driving makes the gas tax less reliable as a transportation funding stream. VMT graph: FHWA.
One of the big challenges that federal policymakers will soon have to address is how to pay for a new generation of transportation investment. The federal gas tax, pegged at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993, just isn't up to the job in its current form. There's a whole range of ideas on the table to fix the problem, and in this week's StreetsWiki entry, John Boyle, advocacy director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, points us to a potential revenue stream for transit, smart growth, and bike-ped projects:

The Clean Low-Emissions Affordable New Transportation Equity Act is a bill that sets aside revenue from a cap-and-trade program in a future climate bill towards green transportation projects that reduce greenhouse gases. CLEAN TEA was introduced in the House of Representatives in the 2009 session as H.R. 1329 and in the Senate as S. 575.

Under CLEAN TEA, ten percent of the revenue would be used to create a more efficient transportation system and lower greenhouse gas emissions through strategies including funding new or expanded transit or passenger rail; supporting development around transit stops; and making neighborhoods safer for bikes and pedestrians.

CLEAN TEA is contingent on some pretty big ifs, like whether a cap-and-trade program will make it through Congress. But the Obama administration projects raising $80 billion a year from auctioning off carbon emissions permits, and CLEAN TEA has sponsors from both parties in the House and the Senate, so this is definitely an idea with some momentum.