President Barack Obama has proposed increasing the U.S. investment in clean transportation technology by 50% funded by a $10 tax on every barrel of oil. The tax would be phased in over five years and would add nearly $20 billion of additional funding per year into studying and expanding public transit options, making high-speed rail a viable alternative to flying, and clean connected vehicle research.
A lion’s share of the money, about $10 billion, would go into studying and improving regional transportation systems, as well as reforming current public infrastructure formulas to ensure local and state governments are maximizing their investments. The president also called for a Climate Smart Fund that provides additional funding to states that can cut greenhouse gas-emissions from transportation. The plan also includes the following three new grant programs:
A 21stCentury Regions program to enact regional-scale transportation and land-use strategies;
A Clean Communities program to support more livable cities and towns with expanded transportation options; and
A Resilient Transportation program to spur investments that improve resilience to climate impacts.
In addition to community and public transit investments, Obama called for a nearly $2 billion-a-year investment into clean and connected vehicle research and development. This includes expanding the Diesel Emissions Regulation Act Grant Program and the creation of regional alternative fuel infrastructure.