Electrify Public Transit to Fight Climate Change

Target: Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Goal: Increase spending on electrifying and growing public transportation networks

President Biden set a goal with the new bipartisan infrastructure bill to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. While excellent in theory, his ambitious plan may not be possible unless Americans make major reform on how to navigate cities and towns. This reform can come in a few ways: by electrifying all cars sold by a certain date, by building bike lanes and increasing walkability, by rapidly expanding public transportation (buses and trains) to reduce the number of cars on the road, or a more effective combination of all three.

While electrifying cars is certainly a worthwhile achievement, it is very unlikely a full rollout will happen by 2030 or even 2040 without a complete ban on combustion vehicles, which likely isn’t coming anytime soon. Additionally, a large number of U.S. citizens don’t own a car and rely heavily on the public transit systems already in place to get around.  Currently, the infrastructure bill is allocating three times more money to highway expansion than it is to public transportation. More roads equal more cars, which unfortunately leads to even more carbon emissions in the long term and will ultimately prevent the country from meeting those carbon goals.

The United States used to have a much more robust system of public transport that included local trolleys and trams as well as easier railroad access. Over the past century, lobbying from major motor companies has transformed the country into one almost entirely dependent on cars–which cause a whopping 72 percent of transportation emissions. There needs to be less focus on new highways, and more on repairing those already in place and making transit accessible to as many urban citizens as possible. This will cut down on traffic, emissions, and pollution from exhaust, benefiting people and the planet in a myriad of ways. The infrastructure plan already allows for the electrifying of transit vehicles but replacing what already exists and hoping for the best won’t help. Major change can only happen by rebuilding these public systems in a new, green way.

Sign the petition below to encourage the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to focus less funding on highway expansion and more on electrifying and expanding public transportation access as they work on the critical infrastructure bill.


Dear Peter DeFazio,

The bipartisan infrastructure bill currently residing in the House represents a major turning point for America as it tackles climate change. Ensuring the safety of future generations has never been more crucial, and one key factor in doing this is massively decreasing the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere each year. While President Biden’s goals for cutting carbon in half by 2030 are ambitious, they won’t be possible without serious transportation reform. Electric cars are a worthy cause but expanding public transportation to more citizens will reduce the overall number of vehicles on the roads.

You are in a key position to help this matter. As the head of the Transportation Committee, you can encourage Congress to direct more spending towards electrifying and expanding transit systems. Right now, three times as much money is directed towards creating new highways and road systems, which has been shown time and time again to only lead to more congestion, pollution, and traffic. You can stand up for the climate and for the people by demanding a move away from ingrained and environmentally toxic methods of travel.

You have the power to make a difference, both to American citizens and to the environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Iliff

One Comment

  1. Evan Jane Kriss says:


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