Pew Center on Global Climate Change Issues Transportation Papers as Congressional Hearings Rev Up

Press Release                                        
February 15, 2011

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

Pew Center on Global Climate Change Issues Transportation Papers as Congressional Hearings Rev Up
Guides to Reauthorization, Highway Trust Fund, & Policies to Reduce Emissions & Oil Use

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pew Center on Global Climate Change today issued two papers that offer a primer on major federal transportation efforts and policies to advance a cleaner, more secure transportation system. The papers complement a comprehensive Pew Center report released in January that examines cost-effective solutions to reduce U.S. transportation emissions and oil use.  

The new papers offer an accessible overview of key transportation issues Congress is expected to debate in the weeks and months ahead. The papers, Primer on Federal Surface Transportation Authorization and the Highway Trust Fund, and Saving Oil and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through U.S. Federal Transportation Policy, are authored by Cynthia J. Burbank, Vice President of Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Nick Nigro, Solutions Fellow at the Pew Center.

Travel on U.S. roads and rail uses 10 million barrels of oil per day and is the source of more than 23 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Faced with a real threat to national security from climate change and oil dependence, Congress has an opportunity to achieve significant oil savings and GHG reductions from the U.S. transportation sector.

The papers offer a guide to federal transportation reauthorization legislation and identify opportunities in that legislation and through existing legislative authority to save oil and reduce GHG emissions. The strategy focuses on five key elements: vehicles; fuels; vehicle miles traveled (VMT); system efficiency; and construction, maintenance, and other activities of transportation agency operations.

The papers follow up on the Pew Center’s report, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Transportation. That study identifies reasonable actions across three fronts – technology, policy, and consumer behavior – that could deliver up to a 65 percent reduction in transportation emissions from current levels by 2050. 

The new papers can be accessed online at

For more information about global climate change and the activities of the Pew Center, visit


The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.