As the GOP works to eliminate the renewable energy production tax credit and the $7500 rebate for electric and plug-in cars, they’re pushing for efficient cars that still run on oil.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) introduced legislation to offer a $1 billion prize to the first U.S. automaker that can sell 60,000 gasoline-powered cars that get 100 miles per gallon.
The Excellence in Energy Efficiency Act (HR 3872) is the Republican alternative to Democrats’ push to develop electric cars.
While paying the $7500 incentive for electric cars could cost the federal government several billion dollars, the billion dollar prize would be much cheaper, they say.
Several weeks ago, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced a bill to eliminate the $7,500 tax credit for people who buy plug-ins or electric cars.
The Obama administration has invested heavily in developing a manufacturing base for advanced batteries in the US, which is based on people adopting electric cars.
Funding Blocked for Mass Transit, High Speed Rail
The House Ways and Means Committee voted 20-17 to pass H.R. 3864, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act of 2012. The legislation, which appropriates funding for the Transportation Bill (American Energy and Infrastructure Act – H.R. 7), eliminates the $2.86 federal gas tax (which has always been used to fund infrastructure like highways) and the Mass Transit trust fund, along with the small amounts usually allocated for walkways and bikeways.
The high-speed rail project that’s moving forward in California won’t get any money either.
Trains running at 220 mph would carry passengers between the San Francisco Bay area, the Central Valley and Southern California.
California was due to receive $260 billion from the American Energy and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 7), but that’s been blocked.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved an amendment from Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) to bar the proposed California rail project from receiving funding.
Denham, who opposes the project, says the highway bill should fund only highways, but it’s actually a Transportation bill that’s historically used 20% of its funds for public transportation projects.
In December, the Dept of Transportation awarded a $928.6 million grant for the first leg of California’s high speed rail project, which is expected to create a million jobs.
“California’s population will grow by 60% over the next 40 years. Investing in a green, job creating high-speed rail network is less expensive and more practical than paying for all of the expansions to already congested highways and airports that would be necessary to accommodate the state’s projected population boom,” said Ray LaHood, Dept of Transportation Secretary, in announcing the grant.
High-speed rail is expected nearly double around the world over the next few years, and will be in 24 countries by 2014, reports Worldwatch Institute. 14 countries have high-speed trains today, led by China, Japan, Spain, France, and Germany, and Turkey is planning 2,400 kilometers of track.
Last June, China celebrated the launch of high speed rail between Beijing and Shanghai – the 820 mile track was completed in 39 months. They system will expand to nearly 28,000 miles by 2015.
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