Energy & Environment

Ocasio-Cortez, Warren introduce bill to put $500 billion toward electric public transit

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A measure introduced by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Andy Levin (D-Mich.) in the House and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate would put $500 billion toward electric public transportation infrastructure.

The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development and Generating Renewable Energy to Electrify the Nation’s (Build Green) Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes $500 billion in grants over the next decade to electrify public transportation, including rail systems, buses and fleet vehicles. Local governments, port authorities, states and tribes would all be eligible to apply for grant funding.

Of the funds, at least $150 billion would be allocated for electric rails and vehicles and vehicle charging equipment.

The Transportation Department would select recipients according to “the extent to which an eligible project contributes to climate resilience and mitigation, and reduces air pollution, air toxics, and greenhouse gas emissions” and how much energy it saves compared to other applicants.

At least 40 percent of funding will prioritize front-line or vulnerable communities or those that have seen disparate effects on public health as a result of pollution, according to Levin’s office.

“Electrifying our cars, buses and trains is a central pillar of the Green New Deal,” Levin said in a statement. “The answer to both the climate crisis and the crisis of wealth inequality is to empower working people with the sustainable investments necessary to rebuild the communities devastated by decades of pollution and corporate trade policy.”

The bill “will make the big federal investments necessary to transform our country’s transportation system, confront the racial and economic inequality embedded in our fossil fuel economy, and achieve the ambitious targets for 100% clean energy in America,” Warren added.

The measure has been endorsed by numerous progressive and environmental groups, including Sunrise Movement, the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Data for Progress, another group that has endorsed the legislation, has projected the provisions of the bill would create up to 1 million jobs and save up to $1 billion per year in reduced health care costs.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Andy Levin Ed Markey Elizabeth Warren
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