Washington Governor and Legislators Introduce Climate Action Plan; $419M for Transportation Projects
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire and legislative leaders have introduced a Green Jobs and Climate Action legislative package that proposes investments totaling $455 million in the next biennium for energy-reducing transportation projects, energy efficiency projects, green buildings and clean-energy technology.
Of the $455 million:
$419 million goes to transportation projects and programs such as: investments in HOV lanes; bike and pedestrian safe projects; park and ride lots; more vanpool vehicles; expanded commute reduction programs; biodiesel fuel for ferries; ramp metering; express lane system automation.
$20 million is in additional capital funding for the expansion of allowable Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) activities to include clean technology.
$10 million goes to energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in public facilities and publicly funded housing.
$6 million is allocated for the Energy Freedom Program to support biomass energy projects such as anaerobic digesters and biofuels processing equipment.
Also included in the plan is:
Legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions and create market incentives that will drive reductions in climate-changing greenhouse gas pollution through a cap-and-trade system designed last year by the seven states (including Washington) and four Canadian provinces in the Western Climate Initiative.
Legislation providing a new state sales tax exemption to encourage Washington residents to purchase new plug-in hybrid electric passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles. The tax exemption starts on July 1, 2009 and extends to January 1, 2014.
A proposed partnership with the state’s clean technology industries to identify actions needed to ensure that Washington remains at the cutting edge of the green energy future.
Asking the State Building Code Council to improve building energy efficiency by 30 percent beyond the 2006 standards.
The governor and legislators said that the new legislation and investments are necessary for Washington to reach the greenhouse gas reductions called for in state law, which are: shrinking greenhouse gas pollution to 1990 levels by 2020; and cutting greenhouse gases to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035 and 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Without the new legislation, Washington’s climate action policies will achieve only 45% of the reductions the state needs to meet by 2020.