The combustion of fossil fuels to move people and goods consumed 35 percent of the nation's energy in 1990 and produced over 32 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions. The expected increase in demand for transportation services over the next decade will hamper efforts to abate urban air pollution and to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. Transportation will be the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions through the year 2000. The Action Plan contains a package of initiatives to curb growth in transportation sector emissions by slowing the growing demand for vehicle travel and enhancing the market for more efficient technology and cleaner fuels. (A comprehensive review of transportation options is also part of the long-term strategy described in a later section.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON IS DIRECTING:
- The Administration to prepare legislation providing workers the option of receiving the cash value of employer-paid parking as a financial incentive to reduce solo commuting where alternatives exist.
- Workers who get free parking from their employers will have the opportunity to take the benefit in the form of taxable income (they can "cash-out"), increasing commuter freedom of choice. Employees who continue to utilize free parking are not affected by the program.
- The incentive will not increase the cost of doing business -- employer provided parking will still be deductible from corporate taxes if chosen by the employee. EPA may consider reducing the reporting burden of the Employee Trip Reduction programs mandated under the Clean Air Act if the "cash-out" achieves similar results.
- Increased tax receipts from employees choosing to "cash out" their parking benefit provide revenues that help reduce the Federal deficit.
- Because the program will focus on parking that is purchased or leased by firms for their employees, rural areas will not be affected by the program. Firms with fewer than 25 employees will be exempt. The Administration will consider options to expand the program where emission reduction benefits are highest.
- EPA, in consultation with DOT, to draft guidance documents that identify the air quality benefits of innovative transportation strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT). These will be used by states and cities in their clean air program development.
- Some states and cities have experimented with innovative programs, such as congestion pricing tolls and mass transit finance, which may have significant CO2 as well as urban air pollution benefits.
- EPA can help states and cities evaluate how well such strategies can work in attaining clean air quality standards, thereby encouraging the adoption of innovative programs.
- The Department of Transportation to institute a tire labeling program to help consumers identify tires that have low rolling resistance. Consumers often purchase replacement tires that have 20% more rolling resistance than original equipment tires, reducing their fuel economy by up to 4%. With the labeling program, consumers will readily have the information they need to make better decisions on how to save gas, save money, and protect the environment.