A Green New Deal for City and Suburban Transportation lays out federal policy recommendations for reducing emissions from the transportation sector in cities and suburbs while making communities healthier, more equitable, and prosperous.
Greenhouse gas emissions
When the State of California passed a mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lawmakers quickly realized that better transportation and land use policies were a necessary part of achieving their goals.
The resulting legislation, SB375, focuses on one particular part of greenhouse gas emissions: reducing how far people need to drive each day between work, school, errands and home. Enacted in 2008, SB375 integrates greenhouse gas reduction goals into California’s existing regional transportation planning process, and encourages planners to locate homes near jobs and create more transportation options. The result is a bill that not only fights climate change, but also gives towns across the state the power to make land use and transportation decisions that strengthen local economies, reduce sprawl, preserve farmland and spur business development.
Technology megaplayer Google – known widely for attracting some of the most talented web developers in the world – is using its position as a large employer in a small city to encourage smart growth development.
In a letter to the City of Mountain View, CA, where the company has its headquarters, Google encouraged planners to pursue sustainable development strategies. Mountain View is currently working to update its strategy for development, and asked for public input on the decisions to be made.
In the letter Google VP David Radcliffe voiced the company’s support for “mixed-use development…along with the kind of land use development described in the Final Report by the Mountain View Environmental Sustainability Task Force.” The Task Force’s recommendations – which focus on strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – would improve the quality of life for Google’s 20,000 Mountain View employees, Radcliffe explained, as well as help the city fiscally and for the long-term. From the company’s letter:
We would encourage you to provide opportunities for the North Bayshore area to continue to be the center of sustainable development for Google’s HQ campus…[and] the model Silicon Valley community – leading the way with visionary development opportunities to create the most efficient, sustainable and fiscally supportive plan to the community of Mountain View and the North Bayshore area.
A new report released today by Smart Growth America and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that transportation policies in every state could save money and reduce carbon emissions by making smarter decisions with state funds.
In “Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy,” SGA and NRDC found that current transportation policies in almost all 50 states either fail to curb carbon emission rates or, in some cases, actually increase emissions. This contradiction between state policies and broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions means not only that many states are missing opportunities to protect clean air; it means they are missing economic opportunities as well.
In a press conference this morning, former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening remarked:
Transportation makes up an enormous proportion of our national economy and our environmental impact: it must be front and center as we think about how to get the most out of our public investments. The states that rose to the top in this report, California, Maryland and New Jersey, are there because they are meeting the challenge to innovate.