The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the "Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act," a bill that chief sponsor Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minnesota) called “a downpayment on an increased investment in public transportation.” The House passed the bill on a lopsided vote of 322-98, with many Republicans - including U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson - joining the ayes. Rep. Bill Sali voted no. (Roll call here.) It's also good to see that at least one Idaho legislator is onboard with the need for better transit options. Here's hoping that Larry Craig and Mike Crapo will follow Simpson's lead when the Senate considers the bill later this month.
In other transit-related legislation, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced a bill this week that would reward Americans who choose to drive less, telecommute, or buy homes near mass transit. "In short, he'd like to make the country look more like Portland, where he said people on average drive 20 percent less than in other metropolitan areas and bikes, buses and light rail are prominent parts of the transportation mix," writes The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes. (More here.)