Sunday, October 30, 2016

New report outlines 50 policies for carbon-free transportation

Frontier Group is out with a new report, "50 Steps toward Carbon-Free Transportation," which provides a series of policy recommendations for federal and state leaders to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

The organization brands America's transportation system as "Climate Enemy #1," as vehicle emissions are now the nation's largest source of carbon pollution, producing more pollution per capita than the transportation system of any other major industrialized nation.

The U.S. transportation system now emits more carbon than any other sector.
Graphic courtesy of the Frontier Group.

Urging the government to take swift action to reduce climate change-causing emissions, the Group outlines a "bold new vision for transportation policy" comprised of 50 policy reforms designed to curb carbon emissions from our transportation system.

The idea behind the report is that the "most effective strategies to fuel the transition to carbon-free transportation are likely to emerge at the local and regional levels," yet America's cities are constrained by state and federal policies that favor highway expansion and single-occupancy vehicles at the expense of shared mobility and dense, walkable neighborhoods. Most of the policies, therefore, are aimed at creating the right regulatory environment at the federal and state level for our cities to innovate in this area. Others are designed to make it easier for cities and their transit systems to access funding streams, while others still would reform the tax code to incentivize the right behaviors (e.g. ending sales tax exemptions for motor fuels, while reducing taxes on car sharing).

You can read all 50 policy recommendations in the report, but they all fall into the following categories:

  • Make addressing global warming a strategic goal;
  • Stop doing harm;
  • Reform the transportation bureaucracy and policy infrastructure;
  • Get the most out of what we have;
  • Reward low-carbon travel decisions;
  • Level the playing field for shared mobility;
  • Harness the power of markets;
  • Speed the introduction of low-carbon vehicles;
  • Speed the introduction of low-carbon fuels;
  • Align transportation and land-use objectives to support climate-friendly communities;
  • Support and guide innovation;
  • Serve everyone;
  • Collect and share data; and
  • Reform outdated institutional structures.
The nexus between transportation and environmental policy will likely continue to be an important one in the months and years ahead, particularly as Congress comes closer to working on a major infrastructure bill. The Frontier Group's new report provides important recommendations for how federal and state governments can curb carbon emissions by spelling out specific policies that will prioritize low-carbon transportation, incentivize the use of low-carbon technologies, and help America's cities innovate.

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