Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Barbara Boxer

Senate Climate Bill Invests Big in Transit, Reaps Big Deficit Reduction

As the Copenhagen climate talks reach a turning point, congressional negotiations over emissions cuts are taking a back seat to global debate. But some undeniably good news on the domestic front came late yesterday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Sen_John_Kerry_Discusses_Partnership_China_NaObORtZBHul.jpgJohn Kerry described the Copenhagen talks this week as a motivator for Senate climate action. Photo: Getty

The CBO found that the Senate environment committee's climate bill, which would nearly triple the House's investment in clean transportation, would decrease the federal deficit by "about $21 billion" during its first 10 years and result in net spending decreases even after that point.

Environment panel chairman Barbara Boxer was elated by the CBO's report [PDF], which also attached a $16 billion estimate to the bill's 10-year funding for transit, land use, bike-ped infrastructure and other green transport.

Boxer said in a statement:

The CBO score shows that there is a way to design a cleanenergy and climate bill that is fiscally responsible and gets the job done– while protecting the health of our families and the planet.

But unfortunately, the money-saving news may not be enough to save the environment committee's framework, which sparked a GOP boycott and fears that moderate Democrats from coal-dominant states would ultimately withhold their votes.

Boxer's co-sponsor on the climate bill, Sen. John Kerry, is separately working with Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman on a compromise climate proposal aimed at winning 60 votes in the upper chamber of Congress.

That bill is expected to include new subsidies for nuclear power as well as an emissions cap lower than the environment panel's version. Whether it maintains a respectable level of support for clean transportation remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Boxer's GOP counterpart on the committee, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, stopped in Copenhagen for just two hours today to crow that a U.S. climate bill has "zero" chance of winning congressional passage.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Thanking the Academy Edition

We would be remiss if we didn't offer some photos and copy about Friday's George Polk Awards ceremony, plus other news.

April 15, 2024

Civic Panel Pushes For (Some) Atlantic Ave. Safety Upgrades

Brooklyn Community Board 2 stopped short of calling for a more aggressive redesign of a street where drivers have killed six pedestrians in the last decade.

April 15, 2024

Vandals Commit Mass Arborcide Near the Greenway in Kissena Park

Hundreds of young trees were ripped from the ground — some stolen, some just left for dead — near the greenway in Kissena Park in Queens.

April 14, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

This afternoon, our reporter Jesse Coburn will journey to Midtown to accept Streetsblog's first George Polk Award, one of journalism's highest honors. But before that, here's the news.

April 12, 2024
See all posts