Senate Votes 84-16 to Protect Funding for Projects that Benefit Communities, Environment

WASHINGTON (May 17) -- The U.S. Senate today rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Pete Sessions (R-Ala.) that would have cut $11 billion in funding for clean air, transit and trails projects. The measure was voted down 84-16 during debate on comprehensive transportation legislation (S. 732).

Statement by Deron Lovaas, deputy director of NRDC's smart growth and transportation program:

"While the bill retains environmentally damaging policy changes, defeat of the Sessions amendment is a huge victory for investments in cities and communities that will clean the air, provide more transportation choices and give Americans the chance to enjoy the great outdoors.

"The amendment would have slashed $4 billion from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which helps states and local governments reduce air pollution as mandated by the Clean Air Act. In addition, it would have cut $5 billion worth of funding from transit projects, giving Americans more transportation choices and reducing our dependence on oil. It also would have cut $100 million from the Transportation and Community and Systems Preservation Program, which provides funding for smart growth community planning.

"The House of Representatives and the White House should follow the Senate's lead and safeguard these crucial funds for the sake of clean air, transit and trails in communities across America."