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32 F I NA NC I NG S U R FA C E TR A NSPOR TA TION IN T HE U NIT ED ST A T ES Funding Transportation Improvements Question: How can bus transit be made more attractive for Climate Change: Shared Support or for livable communities? Zero-Sum Game Answer: One way to do that is integrating service into a complete bus system. Astrid Glynn of TPRG discussed the conundrum that the transportation and climate change legislative agen- Question: How did New York State dedicate regional das tend to be at odds with one another. The federal greenhouse gas initiative cap-and-trade revenue to the transportation authorization bill is overdue and intended transportation sector? to reinvent highway, transit, and rail programs and to Answer: Allocations were made following recommen- fix the Highway Trust Fund, which is running on empty. dations by the New York State Energy Office concerning The climate change bill lays plans for new fuel infrastruc- elements that have some connection to the electric sys- ture for transportation, allocates some funds to transpor- tem, such as subways and traffic light LEDs. tation, and establishes goals for transportation emission reductions. But there is tension between the policy and pragmatic goals of traditional transportation funding, Financing a Sustainable Future: Aligning and climate change and the transportation system will Transportation Finance Methods with not change without massive amounts of new money. Climate Change Policy She stated that there are strategic choices as reautho- rization approaches with regard to a proposed climate Kendra Breiland of Fehr and Peers discussed how trans- change bill that can build and maintain a transporta- portation financing methods can be aligned with climate tion system to support the shared goal of sustainable change policy. Many states have passed greenhouse gas mobility. Cross-modal choices can help inhibit the reduction targets. Washington State law now requires effects of traditional modal silos. The traditional fund- greenhouse gas emissions to be equivalent to 1990 levels ing approach has inhibited our ability to pick the "best" by 2020, 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and 50 option to fulfill a mobility need. Forty percent of metro- percent below 1990 levels by 2050. politan trips that are made by car do not need to be, and At 47 percent, the transportation sector is the larg- this figure should be reduced. More freight and people est source of greenhouse gases in Washington State. It is should move on rail for trips exceeding 500 miles, and followed by power generation and buildings of all types, broader costbenefit analysis should be incorporated both of which generate 20 percent of the state's green- into our funding decisions. house gas emissions. Farming, industrial processing, and At the same time, Ms. Glynn added, communities waste generate between 3 and 6 percent of the state's should be reshaped to reduce sprawl and dependency on emissions. Managing transportation emissions is a four- automobiles. We also need to use new revenue options legged stool involving VMT reduction, transportation that promote environmentally friendly and sustainable system operations, vehicle efficiency and fuel technol- outcomes such as parking taxes and fees and dedicated ogy, and the carbon content of fuel. Washington State is local "green" taxes, and we need to seize opportuni- concentrating on reducing average daily VMT from 27 ties to match and leverage federal livable communities miles in 2020 to 13.5 miles in 2050, but this will have grants. Rights-of-way should be used to generate green a negative impact on transportation funding, which is energy through wind farms and solar panels, regenera- largely derived from gasoline taxes. Ms. Breiland believes tive braking systems with storage capacity, living snow that the United States will need revenue enhancements, fences, recycled bridges, and LED lighting and traffic including increased taxes on fuels and tolling, with the signals. ultimate vision of migrating to a VMT tax. Land use Ms. Glynn suggested that to create a transportation based utility fees with properties in lower-density areas system that will be both financially and environmentally paying a higher rate can also be tried. Revenue alterna- sustainable, the United States needs to begin the tran- tives should be implemented in an integrated approach. sition away from today's fuel and funding system and to bring energy policy and transportation funding into accord. Furthermore, the nation needs to invest new Fee to Fund Transportation Improvements funds in cross-modal choices that align with policy goals and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and address mobility needs, and it needs to acknowledge that traditional funding will not suffice for the system to Sarah McMillan Ross of the South Coast British Colum- provide nonautomobile alternatives. Ms. Glynn believes bia Transportation Authority and Peter Mills of Perrin, that these actions will help harmonize transportation Thorau & Associates discussed the possible use of a fee and energy policy and will generate both revenue and to fund transportation and reduce carbon dioxide emis- positive environmental and climate impacts. sions in Vancouver, British Columbia. TransLink, the

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ALI GNI NG W I T H C L I M A T E C H A NGE ST R A T EGIES A ND SU ST A INA BLE PLA NNI N G 33 local transportation authority, has the power to levy the added costs and recognizes the virtue of including the taxes. The Vancouver region updates its long-range (30- costs of carbon dioxide emissions. year) plan every 5 years. The current goal is to reduce nonhighway trips by 50 percent, but this is without the Question: How will the province generate electricity in benefit of a motor vehicle fee. The region also updates its the future? 10-year fully funded plan on an annual basis and needs Answer: The electricity sector has to be decarbonized. $150 million per year to maintain its current infrastruc- It is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. ture system without significant expansion. To upgrade the current system, the region needs to invest $275 mil- Question: Does a vehicle fee make a car more likely to be lion per year, and to expand it, $450 million per year used since cost is already incurred? would be required. Answer: A flat fee just raises annual costs, but link- Currently, the region's $2.00 per gallon motor fuel ing it to efficiency will make a difference when vehicles tax is its primary source of transportation funding. The are replaced. Not many people will give up driving alto- region is examining a variety of revenue options for gether. their ability both to generate new funding and to sup- port greenhouse gas reductions. The goal of the Brit- Question: Has Washington State considered needs reduc- ish Columbia Climate Change Action Plan is to reduce tion through asset management? greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent by 2020; cap- Answer: Not yet, but Washington should look at how and-trade will be the primary tool in achieving this to reduce needs as well. reduction. The province is also exploring the feasibility of a new vehicle registration fee. It believes that it can Question: Will linking and indexing the gasoline tax make this option palatable to the public by showing tan- affect greenhouse gas emissions? gible benefits that the option would facilitate. Answer: Yes. Elected officials have a range of more or less palat- able options in front of them. The province believes that Comment: Many of the strategies discussed today do not vehicle registration is an efficient and moderately equi- address rural areas. table source of revenue. At the same time there is little tolerance for added burdens outside transportation such Comment: Value capture is not necessarily the same as property taxes. British Columbia is not wedded to as tax increment financing where the beneficiary pays pay-as-you-drive but does want the ability to adapt to rather than the user.

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