Thursday, May 21, 2009

Governor Signs Order to Increase Transportation Options

On Monday the Governor Vetoed transit funding options, today she came through and signed a executive order on climate change that directs WSDOT to work with regional planning organizations to reduce VMT per capital by 50% by 2050. Props to Governor Gregoire on this sunny day. Our full press release is below.

Governor Signs Order to Increase Transportation Options

Seattle – In conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing on climate change in Seattle this morning, Governor Gregoire signed an executive order to enact new rules to reduce traffic congestion and climate change emissions by increasing transportation options in Washington’s most populous areas.

The order implements targets, which the legislature established in 2008 by directing the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to work with regional planning organizations in the state’s seven most urban areas to expand transportation choices, such as public transit and commute trip reduction programs.

The order will require WSDOT to work with regional planners to develop transportation plans that are consistent with the state’s benchmarks to reduce per capita vehicle miles travelled by 18 percent by 2020, 30% by 2035 and a 50% reduction by 2050.

“Governor Gregoire has been a consistent leader on climate change. This executive order will set the stage for reductions in emissions from transportation – the largest contributor to global warming pollution in Washington while giving Washingtonians more transportation choices,” said April Putney, Political Director, Futurewise.

The average urban driver spends one work week each year stuck in traffic. That time spent commuting means lost productivity at work, wasted gas money and five days sitting in traffic.

A recent study released by The American Public Transportation Association, which analyzes gas and parking prices monthly, calculates that the national average savings for a family leaving just one of their cars in the garage for a year is $8,670. In Seattle the savings is actually higher at $10,447 a year.

“This new policy will save people time and money by giving them more choices in how they get around if they choose to leave their cars at home,” said Rob Johnson, Executive Director, Transportation Choices Coalition.


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