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President Obama proposes 50% increase in spending on clean transportation, funded by $10/barrel tax on oil

President Obama has laid out a plan for building a “21st Century Clean Transportation System”, the investment for which would be funded by a new $10 per barrel fee on oil paid by oil companies, which would be gradually phased in over five years. The President’s plan would increase US investments in clean transportation infrastructure by roughly 50%.

The President’s plan invests nearly $20 billion per year above current spending to reduce traffic and provide new ways for families to get to work and to school. The plan would expand transit systems in cities, suburbs and rural areas; make high-speed rail a viable alternative to flying in major regional corridors and invest in new rail technologies like maglev; modernize the freight system; and expand the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program begun in the Recovery Act to support high-impact, innovative local projects.

The plan invests roughly $10 billion per year to transform regional transportation systems by shifting how local and state governments plan, design and implement new projects. Obama is proposing to reform the existing transportation formula programs to ensure that local, regional, and state governments are maximizing returns on public investments and delivering better outcomes.

As part of reforming formula programs, the plan would create a new Climate Smart Fund that provides bonus funding to states that use existing formula funding to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector—for example by encouraging better land use planning, investing in clean vehicle fueling infrastructure or increasing use of public transportation. The plan would also launch three new competitive grant programs:

  • a 21st Century Regions program to implement regional-scale transportation and land-use strategies;
  • a Clean Communities program to support more livable cities and towns with expanded transportation choices; and
  • a Resilient Transportation program to spur investments that bolster resilience to climate impacts.

The President’s plan invests just over $2 billion per year to launch a new generation of smart, clean vehicles and aircraft by expanding clean transportation R&D and launching pilot deployments of safe and climate smart autonomous vehicles. It also accelerates the transition to cleaner vehicle fleets in communities around the country, including expanding Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Grant Program funding, and supports the creation of regional fueling infrastructure for low-carbon vehicles. The budget also proposes to invest $400 million a year to ensure that new and changing technologies are integrated safely into our transportation system.

The Obama Administration says the the $10/barrel tax raises the funding necessary to make these new investments, while also providing for the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.

In addition, the plan:

  • Utilizes one-time revenues from business tax reform: The plan would continue the President’s call to use the one-time revenues from pro-growth business tax reform to fund a temporary near-term surge in investment, while the oil fee will play for the long-term investments needed to put us on the right path for the years ahead.

  • Provides assistance to relieve energy cost burdens for families: Consistent with other Congressional proposals to increase energy fees, the plan would provide assistance to families to relieve energy cost burdens, including a focus on supporting households in the Northeast as they transition from fuel oil for heating to cleaner forms of energy.



Republicans are saying dead on arrival right now. Knowing they are in control and some democrats will vote with them. So I doubt this will go anywhere.

Just the same, we get what we pay for. We don't buy it, we don't get an improved transportation system. We need an organized charging system along highways to build out electric transportation. Just as we see signs for gas stations, we should also be seeing signs for charging stations for battery electric transportation.


Transit systems are taken over by the criminal element almost as soon as they're opened.  Worse, they provide that criminal element access to territory it couldn't reach before, spreading urban blight.  Any expansion of transit is destructive to society; the only beneficiaries are the banks and real-estate agents who profit from the movement of people and business to areas beyond the criminal-access zone.


Congress has not had a real highway bill in 10 years. The last one was patched telling corporations to underfund pensions so they pay more income tax...insanity.


Right, American transits systems WERE taken over by a criminal element - but that happened in the 1940s & 50s and the criminal element was GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil, Federal Engineering, Phillips Petroleum, and Mack Trucks;


The same light rail line which shipped the BLM mob to the Mall of America allows hundreds of petty criminals access to un-defended victims at the mall, both business and personal.

Most could be kept out by ID checks and parental supervision requirements, but that would immediately be denounced as discriminatory.


Jessie James rode a horse, Bonnie & Clyde had a car, today's savvy hoods use cell phones and computers. The answer to crime has never been blaming the mode but rather investing in appropriate policing.

Henry Gibson

There should be a tax on imported oil to support the highway system at least. But there should be no tax on oil from US producers because the nation does not need to penalize the industry which has provided great amounts of energy production without direct subsidies as the ethanol program and solar and wind turbines have been given. Any tax on US petroleum should be a tax at the pump and clearly marked. The US could have produced gasoline from coal for less than a dollar a gallon, but the government wishes to appease environmentalists instead of earning money from gasoline purchases. Nothing the US can do will reduce CO2 release as cheaply and as fast as co-generation. The minimum requirement for a building, including houses, should be co-generation. The only water heater or heating unit permitted is a fuel burning engine or turbine or more than one wherever natural gas is available. No simple flame heaters any more. There can be hot water storage tanks and even ice cube storage tanks. Cold can be produced from heat in direct and indirect ways. Not one new air-conditioning system should be installed in a commercial building that does not use natural gas where it is available.

The most easily and cheaply implemented "clean" transportation structure is hydraulic hybrid automobile engines and transmissions for more than twice the miles per gallon efficiency. It is now possible to use clean burning turbines in such applications for a possible slight loss of efficiency. ..HG..


"The nation does not need to penalize the industry which has provided great amounts of energy production." It should however penalize the industry which has provided the atmosphere with great amounts of GHGs, acid rain & lead poisoning.


You are paying for the highways AND the real costs using fossil fuels.


An added progressive tax (at the pump) for ALL bio and fossil fuels (including heating oil & NG) would be more acceptable.

Something like a progressive $0.05/gal/month for the next 24 to 48 months could do it. NG tax could be at half liquid fuel equivalent rate. Added coal tax could be at the same rate as liquid fuel tax equivalent.

The extra revenues could be used to fix existing highways and bridges ($500+B), build ultra high speed e-charging facilities and H2 stations ($500+B) and pay off a small part of the huge national debt.

If applied, these taxes would quickly accelerate sales of electrified vehicles (all types) and the installation of more REs with storage, reduce the production of GHGs and pollution, create jobs and increase government revenues etc. .


A Tax is the fastest way to increase energy efficiency in transportation.

Does anybody believe than in Europe we don't like cars with huge motors, a lot of cilinders and a good performance?

Of course we like.

But we have taxes in fuel... so our cars are more efficient than american ones.

With gas at 1€/liter (about 4,2$/galon), in Europe, we choose efficient cars.


@ energetico

Don't you mean "we choose efficient cars" that can still zip along the autobahn at +200 kph?


I'm sorry to tell you this, but the entire automotive industry has been a criminal enterprise.

So how could we have achieved 30% or so less usage of fuel petroleum by 1973, if not for those criminals?

--Maintain and rebuild what mass transit existed prior to WWII, with natural route extensions into the growing suburbs. Only State and Municipal bonds would have been necessary.

--All funds for the National Highway System, which destroyed many railroads and towns dependent on them, would be diverted to local traffic and highway improvements, including growth planning and rights of way for trolleys, buses, and trains.

--Deregulate railroads with planning for intermodal terminals and high speed rail instead of (federally subsidized) aircports for NY, DC, Chic and Boston.

--CAFE standards enacted immediately upon the Cold War, to conserve petroleum (actually a concern, however badly implemented, by Eisenhower, thanks to a ban on petroleum imports until 1960). Streamlining and lighter materials were already implemented on many models by 1949.

PLUS some virtual fuel efficiency, including:

--Better wellhead conservation and management of petroleum rigs, greater diesel use for cars, cogenerative coal energy at refineries,tougher emissions standards at refineries mitigated by more efficient refinery operation.

How stupid and criminal has this country been?


There wasn't a ban on petroleum imports to the USA until 1960, because US imports exceeded exports starting before 1950.


@ai vin

Only in Germany you can go at 200kph. (Decission influenced by the automakers lobbies, I suppose).

In the rest of the UE countries, we have limited the max speed at 120 - 130 km/h mostly.

And actually, in Europe we have sport cars too... 6 cylinders, turbo, cars with 400 or most HP, with 0-60mph in less tan 5 seconds...
but most people get efficient (diesel) cars, of about 100-140 HP.

(this is the bad thing of it, Diesel, with its pollution problems9.


The progressive increase in criminality and diseases in USA (and many industrialized nations) is not due to public mass transportation systems perse but to the lack of preventative measures-regulations and laws and the quest for quick profits at all cost.

One of 1001 examples is the current (open pit) highly polluting petroleum extraction from tar sands, to feed polling ICEVs, instead of in situ improved cleaner methods.

We all know that tobacco smoking, pollution from CPPs, NGPPs, wood stoves, oil furnaces, ICEVs, diesel locomotives, ships, buses, trucks, heavy machinery and the use of 4000+ harmful industrial products make us sick with many incurable diseases such as cancers and kill over 6,000,000 humans per year.

More prevention and testing could reverse the current trend but we prefer to put more efforts and resources on money making curative measures.

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