Senate Bill Misses Chance To Craft A 21st Century Transportation Bill

On May 17th, The U.S. Senate passed a $295 billion six-year transportation bill that takes small steps to open the door to sensible market incentives while cutting accountability for the impacts of roads on public health, the environment and communities.

"The Senate transportation bill is a throwback to 1960s-style pork-barrel sprawl-promoting road building," said Michael Replogle transportation director of Environmental Defense. "The bill makes barely a nod to the reality of what's happening in the broader transportation finance world: a shift to market incentives."

Around the world and across America, a growing number of cities are using market incentives to reduce congestion and better meet their transportation challenges.

"If London can cut congestion by 30% using pricing, San Diego can finance transit with new toll lanes, and New York City can cut traffic on its major entrances using congestion pricing, why can't Congress recognize that market-mechanisms should be an integral part of our national transportation policy?" said Replogle.

The Senate bill takes only baby steps in this direction and misses the opportunity to shift the country forward toward an accountable market-based system for clean air and transportation finance.

"In addition the Senate transportation bill significantly weakens long-standing protections for clean air, public health, and protection of the environment, parks and local involvement in transportation decisions," said Replogle. "There are a few bright spots in the Senate bill, such as new opportunities for toll-managed lanes, funding for storm-water cleanup and safe routes to schools for walking and biking. But the House bill's approach to clean air, planning, project reviews, and protections for parks would do less harm to our environment and public health."

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