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Transportation Infrastructure Fueled by Gas Tax Increases

One of the biggest topics of conversation in Massachusetts these days is the proposed additional 19 cent gas tax which would go toward roads, bridges, regional transit authorities and public transit improvements throughout the state. More than half of state and local bridges of 20 feet or longer are structurally deficient, while 82 percent of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's (MBTA) rapid transit rail cars are in poor or marginal condition, according to a report by TRIP. Furthermore, a 2007 report by the Massachusetts Transportation Finance Commission found that “the condition of our roads, bridges and transit systems are all in broad decline”¦we have no money for transit or highway enhancements or expansions without further sacrificing our existing systems and exacerbating our problems.”

Washington House Passes Bill to Create Green Jobs

The Washington State House has voted to establish a comprehensive "green economy jobs growth initiative" that aims to increase the number of green jobs to 25,000 by 2020. "Green jobs" is the term used to describe the good-paying, sustainable jobs that are created through environmentally sensible projects. For example, increased energy efficiency requirements will require work retrofitting buildings all across America with solar panels, insulation and other weatherizing materials. The federal Green Jobs Act of 2007, which authorized $125 million per year to create green jobs worker training programs, was included in the recently enacted Energy Independence and Security Act.

Bold Plan for Carbon Tax Introduced in Portland, OR

Portland, Oregon city officials introduced a bold new plan that would require energy efficiency measures in each new home built. The plan would impose a carbon fee on builders for each new home that is not extremely energy efficient and also require an energy efficiency report be done by home inspectors as part of every existing home sale. The plan would also pay cash rewards to developers who built buildings that save at least 45% more energy than the Oregon building code would require. The City Council will start public hearings on the plan in January.

Florida Gov. Crist Looks to Enact Sweeping Climate Change Action

 

To cap off a two day climate change summit, Florida's Governor Charlie Crist plans to sign several executive orders into effect that could propel Florida into the top echelon of states addressing climate change and make it the first state in the Southeast to take significant action.  The plan includes: