cars-driving-at-sunset.jpgBipartisan Legislation to Provide Transportation and Housing Options was introduced in the Congress yesterday that would offer Americans relief from high gas prices by providing expanded transportation and housing options.

The bill, “The Transportation and Housing Options for Gas Price Relief Act of 2008” (H.R. 6495), was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and five co-sponsors. It was endorsed by the Environmental Defense Fund as a bill that would “facilitate alternatives to driving where possible and respond to America’s insufficient public transit and costly housing options”.

The Transportation and Housing Options for Gas Price Relief Act of 2008 would allocate funds to:

  • Expand public transportation and to help transit agencies deal with high fuel prices
  • Encourage pay-as-you-drive auto insurance policies that discourage driving by rewarding low mileage drivers with lower insurance premiums
  • Reduce commuting costs by providing incentives to employers and employees to take transit, bicycle, carpool, walk, or telecommute to work
  • Help local governments create walkable, bikeable communities well-served by transit by providing funding to local governments to support programs to manage transportation demand and for transit agencies to make needed investments
  • Help Americans make smart transportation and housing choices by educating them about their options
  • Spur the availability of “Location Efficient Mortgages,” which make owning a home near transit more affordable for all Americans
  • Make sure the Federal Government leads by example by: 1) Upgrading key websites for easier access to services without having to leave home and work; and 2) Encouraging federal agencies and offices to participate in local Transportation Management Agencies, which provide transportation options.

“Public transit use and demand for other transportation options are continuing to rise throughout the country,” said Michael Replogle, transportation director at Environmental Defense Fund and a former consultant for the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the World Bank on sustainable transportation strategies. “This bill would support current transportation options while encouraging the creation of new and necessary transit alternatives. It would ultimately benefit all Americans by saving them gas money, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, alleviating traffic, and reducing pollution.”

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