In This Edition by alicejenny

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 5

									Volume 3 Edition 1                                October 1st, 2009
Produced by: Jason Pavluchuk,                     Government Relations Inc.



    Public Policy Communications Just Got Better
Starting this month, GRI will be producing a monthly legislative update for ACT
members which will be issued the 1st of the month. This update will be a
summary of what’s going on in the federal policy arena. These updates will
                                                                                      In This Edition:
include everything from legislative activities, to meetings, to grant opportunities
for members and everything in between; but that’s not all. Every two weeks,
                                                                                      Public Policy
Jason Pavluchuk and ACT will produce a video blog, or a VLOG, which will              Communications Just Got
provide a brief 5 minute update on what’s going on in our nation’s capitol. You       Better………………………1
want more you say……well ok. If you go to the ACT Public Policy page of
www.actweb.org you will notice that it has been updated. ACT staff, working with      Senate Climate Change
Jason Pavluchuk, will be constantly updating the public policy page with timely       Legislation Introduced……1
information about everything you need to know. All this plus the public policy
council calls and ACT E-lerts you’ve come to know and love.                           Climate Change Bill
                                                                                      Summary of Transportation
                                                                                      Sections…………………..2
Senate Climate Change Legislation Introduced
                                                                                      Goodbye SAFETEA-LU,
On September 30th, 2009, Senator Barbara Boxer (D‐CA), Chair of the                   Hello Extensions………..3
Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, along with Senator John 
Kerry (D‐MA), introduced the ‘Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act’               Federal Government
This legislation is the Senate’s version of climate change legislation.               Reports on Teleworking…3

During September, we continued to work with the Senate Environment &                  EPA Announces Mandatory
Public Works Committee on this legislation. While the legislation did not             Reporting of Greenhouse
include allocations of allowances or revenue, we believe, based on                    Gases……………………..5
intelligence we have picked up, that baseline funding for transportation 
will be only 1%‐1½%, an inconsequential allowance. Details of the 
transportation sections can be found on page 2. Additionally, the climate             ACT LEGISLATIVE
change legislation includes a to‐be determined set‐aside for the Energy &             ALERTS
Environment Block Grant program which ACT helped create. 
                                                                                      Green Routes to Work……4
In addition to the increase of the percentage of allowances which will be             COMMUTE LESS……….5
dedicated to transportation. We are working towards including a provision 
which will provide a credit/offset for employers who subsidize their 
employees commute. We are working with Senator Carper (D‐DE) on this 
provision. There are many victories in this legislation for ACT and we will 
continue to work on it as it makes its way through the Senate.  
  Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions through                                   Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emission
     Transportation Efficiency (Section 112)                                    Reduction Program Grants (Section 113)

National Transportation GHG Reduction Goal                              This section creates a planning grant for all MPOs and a
                                                                        competitive grant program to provide funding for states and
Directs the EPA to consult the DOT Secretary to establish a             MPOs to implement transportation-related greenhouse gas
national goal for transportation-related greenhouse gas                 reduction plans. This program is funded with 10% of revenue
emissions reductions commensurate with the goal in the                  dedicated to the “State and Local Investment in Energy
overall bill. EPA and DOT assess progress toward reducing               Efficiency and Renewable Energy” funded in Section 202.
transportation-related GHGs every 6 years.
                                                                        Planning & Competitive Grant Program (in the State and
Models and Methodologies                                                Local Investment in Energy Efficiency and Renewable
EPA in consultation with DOT develops models,                           Energy”
methodologies and best practices for states and regions to use
when developing transportation sector greenhouse gas                        •     Maximum of 5% of funds in this section for MPOs to
emissions reduction targets and plans.                                            develop the greenhouse gas reduction plans,
                                                                                  distributed by formula based on population.
Transportation Planning Process to Include Oil &
                                                                            •     DOT in consultation with EPA would develop a
Sustainability Considerations
                                                                                  criteria for distributing the remaining funds as grants
Amends the state and MPO transportation planning process to                       to states and MPOs for projects and programs within
add additional factors to consider, as well as additional                         transportation greenhouse gas reduction plans. The
agencies to coordinate with when doing developing their long                      federal share is 80%. The formula takes into account:
range transportation plans                                                             o Quantity of GHG reductions estimated from
                                                                                            plan
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets and Strategies in State
                                                                                       o Cost-effectiveness of GHG reductions over
and MPO Planning
                                                                                            the life of the plan
Amends the state and metropolitan planning process to
                                                                                       o Progress toward achieving reductions
include transportation-related greenhouse gas reduction
                                                                                       o Reductions previously achieved
targets and strategies and increased coordination between
                                                                                       o Plans that address mobility needs of people
agencies. Sets minimum requirements for these targets and
                                                                                            without cars, with low incomes, minorities,
strategies that they should:
                                                                                            the elderly, disabled, etc
   • Demonstrate progress in stabilizing and reducing
                                                                                       o Other factors such as innovative approaches,
       emissions;
                                                                                            economic development, and other benefits.
   • Inventory surface transportation related GHG emissions;
   • Apply to modes of surface transportation addressed within
       the existing planning process
                                                                         Transit Funding (in the State Climate Change
   • Use the models and methodologies developed by EPA and
       DOT;                                                                  Response and Transportation Fund)
   • Be integrated into state and MPO transportation plans and
       TIPS;                                                            Allocates 45% of this fund to public
   • Use scenario analysis to evaluate the emission reduction           transportation agencies, which can be used for
       effects of a variety of strategies including: public             capital needs and preventative maintenance (as
       transportation, walking and biking infrastructure, zoning
                                                                        well as potentially operating assistance in areas
       and land use changes, travel demand management
       (including pricing, telecommuting, carpooling), better           under 200,000), which is distributed as follows:
       system management, intercity passenger rail, bus and                • 80% to urbanized areas through section
       freight, hybrid vehicle facilities, and other efforts that are           5307 of title 49
       shown to reduce GHGs from transportation.                           • 10% to areas other than urbanized ones
                                                                                through section 5311 of title 49
DOT and EPA will review and approve the greenhouse gas
emission reduction plans based on whether the plan is likely to            • 10% to states via the growing and high
achieve the greenhouse gas emission target and complies with                    density states formula through section
the minimum requirements. There is no penalty for non-                          5340 of title 49
compliance, except that the state or MPO is not eligible for
funding in section 113.
                              Goodbye SAFETEA-LU, Hello Extensions
 The end of the fiscal year came and went as it usually does, with Congress completing work on a continuing
 resolution which will keep the government up and running for the next month. However, this fiscal year was
 special for transportation advocates. It marked the end of SAFETEA-LU. And to nobody’s surprise, the expiration
 came and went without a new long term authorization being signed into law. However, what was surprising (at
 least mildly surprising) is that Congress adjourned September 30th without passing an extension of SAFETEA-LU.
 The sticking point over an extension was the length of the extension and the repeal of an $8.7 billion contract
 rescission. The House has passed a 3-month extension of the transportation bill which did not include a rescission,
 while the Senate has taken no action, but has been working towards a White House backed 18-month extension.
 As the clock wound down to zero hour, Senate leaders agreed to the House’s wishes on length, but insisted on
 including language which repealed the $8.7 billion rescission that was a part of SAFETEA-LU. The House
 informally agreed to accepting the repeal if they were able to make it budget neutral. As time wore down, the
 Senate ran out of parliamentary tricks and simply ran out of time to get an extension passed.

 Despite the doomsday scenario, precautions were taken by Congress to continue funding the Highway Trust Fund.
 Included in the Continuing Resolution signed by the President is a provision that extends SAFETEA-LU one
 month.

 It should be noted that the rescission mentioned is a rescission of contract authority, or ‘funny money’; indications
 are that real impacts on transportation are minimal. Additionally, Congressional leaders have indicated that they
 plan on including language in the next extension that will make whole States while were effected.



                                                           Federal Government Reports on Teleworking

                                                     As a part of language ACT worked to secure in different
                                                     pieces of legislation, the Office of Personnel Management
                                                     (OPM) must submit an annual report to Congress on the
  Important Dates                                    number of teleworkers in the Federal workforce. On
                                                     September 16, 2009, OPM submitted its annual "Report to
                                                     the Congress" on the "Status of Telework in the Federal
                                                     Government".
Next Public Policy Council Call:
Wednesday, October 14th 2009                       The Report represents data collected from 78 Federal
at 2 pm EST                                        agencies about telework participation in 2008. These
                                                   agencies reported that 102,900 employees or 8.64% of their
                                                   telework-eligible populations were teleworking. The report
                                                   also indicated that of that group, 64% were teleworking
                                                   with relative frequently (either 1-2 days a week, or 3 or
                                          more days per week). The numbers from the national capital region
                                          are dramatically higher thanks in large part to the efforts of ACT
                                          members in the region.

                                          The full report can be found below:
                                          http://www.telework.gov/Reports_and_Studies/Annual_Reports/2009
                                          teleworkreport.pdf
   ACT Calls on Its Members to Support Green Routes to Work (HR 3271) &
                        Commute Less (HR 3517)

As Congress returns from its summer recess, ACT is calling on its members for support of two
pieces of legislation that ACT helped draft. Below is a brief summary on each piece of legislation.
ACT is asking its members to take a few moments and send a letter of support to its member of
Congress for each of these pieces of legislation. Boilerplate letters can be found on the ACT
public policy page at www.actweb.org

Once you have completed the letters, please place them on electronic letterhead, and send
them to Jason Pavluchuk via email at Jasonp325@aol.com. If you have any questions, do
not hesitate to contact Jason via email, or by phone at 202-285-6414.

   GREEN ROUTES TO WORK (HR 3271)
Green Routes to Work is bi-partisan legislation introduced by Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR),
Congressman Kirk (R-IL) and Congressman McGovern (D-MA). This legislation is the compilation
of a 10 tax provisions which are aimed at getting employers more involved with their employee’s
commutes. Specifically, the legislation would:

   1. make permanent the $230 the tax exclusion for both vanpool & transit; also knows as the
       transit benefit and parking fringe benefits;
   2. make the increased transportation fringe benefit available to all federal employees;
   3. make self-employed individuals eligible for transit pass fringe benefits;
   4. include employer-established parking cash-out programs as a qualified transportation fringe
       benefit;
   5. establish a 10% vanpool investment tax credit
   6. establish a tax credit for subsidizing tax-free transit
       passes to employees;
   7. allow a general business tax credit for expenditures
       to improve access for bicycle commuters;
   8. allow employees to receive transit passes and
       reimbursements of bicycle commuting expenses as
       tax-exempt employer-provided fringe benefits in
       the same month;
   9. allow an employer's election to expense the cost
       of removing architectural and transportation
       barriers to bicycle commuter access to employer facilities; and
   10. allow a tax credit for teleworking expenses, up to $400 per year.
   COMMUTE Less (HR 3517)
Much like GRTW, COMMUTE Less is aimed at getting employers more involved with their
employees commutes. However, while GRTW is a tax bill, COMMUTE Less focuses on getting
employers more involved using grant funding and the planning provisions. COMMUTE Less was
introduced by Congressman Sires (D-NJ) and it includes 4 basic provisions:

    1. Amends the Federal highway and transit laws by requiring MPOs to establish employer
       advisory councils and by amending planning procedures to include employers in the plan
       development and project selection process.
    2. Sets aside $300 million/year from CMAQ for employer based commute benefit programs
    3. Requires ‘New Start’ project sponsors to include a plan on increasing transit ridership by
       including and establishing employer based transit benefit programs
    4. Requires project sponsors of any highway project which is larger then $100 million or will
       close lanes for more then 120 days to cerate and execute a commute trip reduction program
       along the effected corridor. This plan shall be developed in consultation with employers in
       the region.

These are two very important pieces of legislation and ACT is hopeful that its membership will
actively support them. Again, if you have any questions, please contact Jason Pavluchuk at 202-285-
6414.

             EPA Announces Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases

On September 23rd, the EPA issued their Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule. This
new program will cover approximately 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions and apply to roughly
10,000 facilities.

According to EPA, this new reporting system will provide a better understanding of where GHGs are
coming from and will guide development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce
emissions. The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar
facilities, and provide assistance in identifying cost effective ways to reduce emissions in the future.
This comprehensive, nationwide emissions data will help in the fight against climate change.

The rule requires reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources and suppliers in
the United States, and is intended to collect accurate and timely emissions data to inform future policy
decisions. Under the rule, suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of
vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions are
required to submit annual reports to EPA. The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide
(CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC),
sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and
hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

The rule does not cover VMT.

								
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