The Alliance to Save Energy on Tuesday joined members of its 50x50 Transportation Commission to release a policy platform for modernizing transportation infrastructure to achieve more efficient, sustainable, and accessible mobility, including by modernizing several longstanding transportation programs to adapt to the changes sweeping the sector.
The detailed proposal outlines a blueprint for action by Congress supported by a diverse coalition of leading companies and organization working in transportation, building on the vision and general recommendations announced by the full “50x50 Commission” last year to reduce transportation energy consumption by 50 percent by 2050. The recommendations could be implemented through surface transportation reauthorization legislation or a broader infrastructure bill.
“The transportation sector is changing fast, and we can’t keep doing things the same way or we will end up with an even more inefficient, congested, and dirty system that hurts American productivity and slows economic growth,” said Alliance President Jason Hartke. “This report is a blueprint for the future, ensuring we seize this opportunity and move quickly on sound, forward-thinking solutions. Making these investments now will leave our children and grandchildren with a system that is sustainable and that works. The costs of inaction are far higher.”
The report calls for expanding and modernizing traditional transportation programs to ensure they are sufficiently funded and well-designed to support energy efficiency. The recommendations would stimulate the use of more efficient vehicles and encourage greater system-wide optimization of energy use and program flexibility to adapt to rapid innovation in the future. The programs addressed include BUILD, CMAQ, DERA, the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program; federal transit programs; and financing tools such as Build America Bonds, Private Activity Bonds, tax-exempt municipal bonds, and TIFIA.
The proposal also calls for funding for port and airport efficiency improvements including electrification, and strengthened investments in electric vehicle infrastructure and programs to increase ride sharing and biking and walking.
Supporters of the proposal include leading auto manufacturers, transportation companies, environmental advocates and others.
“Now is the moment to take America’s infrastructure priorities beyond asphalt patches and into the digital age. The proposals outlined by the 50x50 Commission provide an effective roadmap to move in that direction for the future.” - Brad Stertz, director of government affairs, Audi
Dean Seavers, president, National Grid US, and chair of the 50x50 Commission, believes "it is critical that energy delivery system investments address the transportation sector" if communities are to meet their economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions targets. “We’re proud to have helped develop the 50x50 Commission’s infrastructure recommendations to electrify transportation on behalf of the more than 20 million people we serve," he continues. "These strategies will collectively cut harmful pollutants and drive economic growth.”
"With transportation now the largest source of carbon pollution, there's an urgent need for new investments in transit, freight, ports and electric vehicle infrastructure to cut our energy use, reduce air pollution and address climate change," says Roland Hwang, managing director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The broad array of groups supporting the goal of greater efficiency underscores its importance."
Paul Skoutelas, president & CEO of the American Public Transportation Association, adds, “The unprecedented innovation and transformational change in the transportation sector brings a need for new policies to assure energy-efficient outcomes. Investing in public transportation and other energy-efficient means of travel will be the ticket to our future.”
The Alliance’s 50x50 Commission on U.S. Transportation Sector Efficiency (“50x50 Commission”) is a diverse coalition of leading vehicle manufacturers, utilities, environmental and consumer groups, unions, technology companies, and public officials.